The Parents Television Council takes some heat in a recent New York Times article entitled "TV Watchdog Group Is on the Defensive" (thanks Shoutbox user BearDogg-X). Of course, anyone that follows this site knows that the PTC has many more targets than television - books, music, movies, video games - whatever can drive outrage - and in turn - donations to the group.
There is a lot of interesting information in this article on the decline of the group in recent years, but the juiciest stuff is about the group's membership numbers and an allegation about those direct mail donations and petitions. First the membership stuff - from former employee turned critic :
"Mr. Salazar was also troubled by membership claims. For instance, council leaders put membership at 'more than 1.3 million.' But that number counts people who have signed a petition or donated since the group’s founding, according to the council. In reality, 12,000 people at most respond to annual fund-raising appeals, Mr. Salazar said."
Then there is the matter of the money:
During this period, the council encountered difficulties with its direct-mail fund-raising system. Like many nonprofit groups, the council raises money by mail: sign and return this petition — preferably with a donation — and we will send it to the F.C.C. But internal documents show that, at least for a period of some months, the council was opening tens of thousands of envelopes, looking for money, and skipping the rest of the steps.
In a March 2009 e-mail to Mr. Winter, Patrick W. Salazar, who was the council’s vice president for development but is now one of its critics and has been accused by the group of trying to extort money from it, wrote, “Almost 195,000 pieces of donor/member mail was never sent to the intended recipient.” He added, “Most of these were time-sensitive docs whose value is now shot.” That September, Mr. Salazar sent another concerned note to Mr. Winter about the fulfillment of direct-mail petitions.
"Dude, I told you I was working on fulfillment," Mr. Winter responded. "It is under control."
Mr. Winter said that he had done his best to sort through the backlog, but he conceded that ultimately, the council decided that a stack of petitions was too old to be of any value. The council says it is now caught up.
Read the rest of this fine article at the New York Times.