Channel One News Promotes Gambling

November 9, 2003

Jim Ritts is the beleaguered
president of Channel One News. His company is both up for sale and
looking for additional investors if no purchaser can be found. Ritts
knows it is "gut-check" time for Channel One and he is
doing some bold (read: "stupid") things to bring money
into his company.

Ritts has approved two commercials that blatantly promote gambling.
These shocking ads would never be approved by previous Channel
One News executives, but Ritts is easily the most aggressive marketer
in the sorry history of Channel One News. He has no reservation
introducing images of gambling to sixth-grade students.

The first ad is one we reported on earlier – the Lay’s Stax commercial
set in a casino at a blackjack or poker table. The ad features
comedian Dana Carvey in two roles. "Casinos and gambling are
fun" is the message of this ad. Ritts must have laughed so
hard at this reprehensible commercial that he might have split
his wallet.

All of Channel One’s audience, both
high school and middle school students, have repeatedly
seen this commercial showing comedian Dana Carvey having
fun at a table in a casino.

There is nothing funny about this to many parents.
How much longer will public schools put up with the recklessness
of Channel One News?

(This picture is directly from Channel One News.
We aren’t making this up.)


Obligation’s Jim Metrock said, "Of all the people I have
seen work for Channel One News, Jim Ritts is the most perplexing.
I think parents can’t begin to understand what makes this man tick.
Why would he bring ‘fun’ images of gambling and casinos into America’s
middle schools? There should be something in this man that says,
‘Whoa, just a moment. Is this harmful for children?’ But Jim Ritts
appears to not have that capacity. He should have never run this
ad for two reasons: 1. It’s a junk food ad and kids don’t need
that. and 2. It is set in a casino and no adult should be approving
that content for classrooms. It is shameful what this man is doing
to other people’s children."

The other ad that Ritts approved is the even more recent ad for
the Warner Brothers’s Looney Tunes movie. This ad that has played
on Channel One News is also set in casinos (Las Vegas). Channel
One even uses the phrase "Hit me!" (meaning give me another
card in blackjack) in the promotion of a Channel One contest tied
to the movie.

Metrock said, "Does Channel One assume that all children
know blackjack terms? Why is Channel One News again promoting the
‘fun of gambling’? Surely Channel One News and its president, Jim
Ritts, are gambling that the public won’t mind them pushing the
gambling envelope with children. I bet Ritts is wrong. I bet that
Jim Ritts and his cronies will find themselves out on the streets
looking for work real soon."

[Obligation does not have a copy of the Warner Brothers movie
ad yet. Once we get it we will post pictures of what the children
were forced to see on Channel One News. The ad can be seen at
It ran during the week of November 3. The classroom ad contain
several scenes of casinos, gambling and Las Vegas.]