NORTH AMERICAN SCENE: Station Replaces Falwell's 'Politics'

WTLV-TV in Jacksonville, Florida, replaced two Jerry Falwell programs in August after viewer complaints convinced the station that the shows were too controversial,

"We're not going to run a political show in a religion time slot," WTLV program manager Bonnie Solloway told CT. "We wouldn't run anyone's political show in our Sunday morning bloc."

Instead of "The Old Time Gospel Hour," which traditionally features Falwell preaching from his Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia, the four August shows were dominated by excerpts from the Clinton Chronicles video produced by Citizens for Honest Government. The video implicates the President in misdeeds ranging from adultery to homicide coverups. Falwell also pre-empted sermons in May when he aired clips from Circle of Power, another video containing allegations against Clinton. Falwell spokesperson Mark DeMoss says the 200 stations that carry The Old Time Gospel Hour had the option of telecasting sermon reruns instead of the anti-Clinton programs, and six did so. WTLV ran two of the Clinton theme programs but then replaced the remaining two with reruns because of complaints.

Cathy Corby instigated the complaint with the station after she says her nine-year-old son heard Falwell talking about Clinton allegations. "He asked me, 'Mom, what's oral sex?'" Corby told CT. She led a dozen people in a protest in front of the TV station. "When people tune in seeking spiritual guidance, that's what they should get," she said.

"Jerry Falwell would never have done any of this if he didn't feel the national media had been ignoring these issues," DeMoss says. "That's not his main mission in life."
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