WASHINGTON — In an effort to “shame” Seagram CEO Edgar Bronfman for polluting the nation’s culture with the “Jerry Springer Show” and Marilyn Manson, two beltway culture warriors awarded the media titan its first Silver Sewer Award.
Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) and his fellow culture warrior Bill Bennett said they wanted to hold Bronfman personally re-sponsible for contributing to “the anything-goes mentality that is permeating our culture and eviscerating our morality,” according to Lieberman. While “the Bronfman family that controls Seagram has been known for its philanthropy and civic-mindedness,” said Lieberman, “they don’t need to go to the sewer to provide more money.”
Bennett accused Seagram of being the “leading purveyor of cultural rot,” adding, “Mr. Bronfman, is it worth it?”
Seagram’s ownership of the “Jerry Springer Show” flows through its stake in USA Networks and its connection to shock-rocker Marilyn Manson stems from its 50% interest in Interscope Records. Seagram officials refused comment on the attack on Bronfman.
“We are fully complying with the voluntary (rating) system and give the ‘Jerry Springer Show’ a TV-14,” said a Springer spokesman, adding, “Now it is up to parents and individual viewers, including Messrs. Lieberman and Bennett, to decide whether the show is right for them and their families.”
Lieberman also called on USA Networks topper Barry Diller to use his influence to alter the course of “the worst cultural polluters of the moment.”
During the press conference, Lieberman was asked if a show like Springer’s really makes a difference in an era when the local news is filled with detailed discussion’s of an alleged affair between President Clinton and a young White House intern. Lieberman agreed that there has been a growing “Springerization” of mainstream news, which he hinted may be the subject of the next Silver Sewer award. Lieberman and Bennett said they plan to give the award several times a year.