Monday, April 27, 2009

...And another one grows in its place.

Last year the FOX Network was toying around with the idea of starting up a reality show that would have operated under the premise of getting "deadbeat dads" to pay the child support that they owe. (Some articles on it can be found here and here.) The show's proposed name? "Bad Dads" Thankfully men's and father's advocates successfully protested the show and it was never aired. It would seem that Fox's attempt was only one head of a hydra and Lifetime is the head that grew back in its place.

Glenn Sacks of Fathers and Families, an organization that aided in the protest efforts against Fox's failed attempt to air their version of the show, has a post up with detailed information on who to contact to voice your opinion on Lifetime's version of this show.

I'm sure the people behind this show are claiming that they are only trying to get men who intentionally avoid paying child support to come clean. I'm sure they say they are only going to embarrass the deliberately delinquent ones. I'm sure the people behind this will proclaim to not go after those who are behind through no fault of their own. But considering the unfair stigma that is painted on men behind on their child support I highly doubt those assurances.

Many men that are behind on their payments work jobs that barely keep them at poverty level and many of them are simply below the poverty line. Don't be fooled by the image of the "deadbeat dad" that is shown in the media most of the time. The hardcore "gangsta" that drives a $100k car and is covered in jewelry that refuses to pay. The corporate CEO that makes 6 figures and goes on 3 out of country vacations a year but will not pay support. Guys like that are the minority but more than likely this show is going to operate on the premise that they are the majority. Contrary to this popular image most dads that owe support are sparely employed, employed but make very little, or are unemployed for reasons ranging from to economic misfortune to disability.

Not only is the damage that would be inflicted on those innocent dads be massive but such a show could lead to the children of those non custodial dads to feel unwanted and unloved.

If Lifetime is so concerned about children not getting the support they need then maybe they should bring up that $28 million that the state of Florida is chilling on. Interesting that the state can track a man down and garnish his wages for about two decades against his will but they can't find the moms that are supposed to receive it.
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