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January 1994


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Alison McKee <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 11 Jan 1994 16:24:00 PST
text/plain (37 lines)
Jacob Levich writes:
> BTW, many of these TV films, esp. "Do You Know the Muffin Man?" are
> part of the nationwide hysteria following upon the McMartin Preschool
> trial--a time during which the lives of countless, perfectly
> innocent adults were ruined by false accusations of child abuse.
>         Does anyone know of any films that take the side of
> the unjustly accused?  (Maybe Woody Allen should make one. :-)
Additional evidence supporting the claims of the McMartin Preschool children
has come out since the case was decided several years ago, but it tends to
be buried on p. 30 of newspapers like *The L.A. Times.*  Yes, there are false
claims of child abuse, and yes, TV has occasionally fostered an attitude of
hysteria, which is unfortunate, in part because it allows some to dismiss
the far larger number of truthful claims *as* hysteria.  The media's
intervention into the issue of child abuse is a complex one that merits
ongoing analysis and discussion.  I must say, though, that I am far less
concerned about the "nationwide hysteria" over child abuse than I am
about "the lives of countless, perfectly innocent" *children* which continue
to be affected by abuse on a continuing, sometimes daily, basis.
Having done some work on this topic, I can say that American television
has dealt with the topic of child molesters and child abuse generally
far more often than American film.  A partial list of the more well-known
made-for-TV movies:
Something About Amelia (1984)
Do You Know the Muffin Man? (1989)
Unspeakable Acts (1990)
A Child of Rage (1992)
Not in My Family (1993)
Liar, Liar (1993) -- I think this is Canadian, actually.  It's very well-done.
Alison McKee
Department of Film and Television