LOS ANGELES (March 20, 2013) – Today, the Parents Television Council released data on media violence collected from all primetime broadcast programs that aired between January 11, 2013 and February 11, 2013, following Vice President Joe Biden’s meeting with the industry in January. During the one-month study period, of the 392 shows examined, 193, nearly half, contained violence; 121, almost a third, contained violence and guns.
“On January 10th of this year, Vice President Joe Biden met with entertainment industry lobbyists to discuss the issue of media violence and the role it plays in tragic, real-life violence such as the unspeakable horror of Newtown, Connecticut. The industry representatives did what they routinely do when called to task by our public servants: they told the Vice President how responsible they are, and they pointed fingers at parents as the problem, hiding behind the purported ‘tools’ they foist on parents as the only protection for harmful program content,” said PTC President Tim Winter.
“We decided to put the industry’s claims to an empirical test. The Parents Television Council recorded and analyzed every program on primetime broadcast television for a one-month period following the meeting with the Vice President, from January 11th through February 11th, in order to monitor just how ‘responsibly’ the industry was behaving, and to assess how effective a parent’s ‘tools’ really are.
“The results of our research demonstrate that Hollywood continues to be deaf to the cries for ending a media culture awash in blood. Within hours of walking out of the White House meeting, the broadcast television networks had turned on a fire hose of graphic violence, saturating living rooms across the nation with guns and gore.
“Out of 392 total programs that aired during the study period, 193 of them – almost half – contained violence; 121 of them – nearly a third – contained gun violence.
“Every network aired programs that contained violence and gun violence, but CBS, CW and Fox had the highest percentage of programs with gun violence at 54%, 48% and 29%, respectively. Those three networks also aired the highest number of scenes containing violence and gun violence.
“Every single program that contained violence or gun violence during the study period was deemed to be appropriate for children aged fourteen or younger. ABC and NBC failed uniformly to provide a ‘V’ descriptor for violence.
“The entire broadcast industry is built on a business model of advertising. Corporate sponsors spend billions of dollars every year to advertise their goods and services on the broadcast networks, and their sole purpose is to influence the behavior of the viewer. The ability to influence the behavior of the viewer doesn’t end when the commercial break is over and the program starts. And sadly today’s primetime programming is awash in violence – especially gun violence.
“With hundreds – if not thousands – of scientific research reports linking a child’s media consumption with their behavior, the findings of this research are sobering. And remarkably, the data provided here reflects Hollywood acting on its ‘best behavior’ following a high-profile meeting with the Vice President.
“The notion that the entertainment industry is somehow being ‘responsible’ with the volume and degree of violence it is producing and distributing is laughable. The industry must come out from behind its armies of lobbyists and do the right thing by exercising real responsibility for the content it produces and distributes – especially when using the publicly-owned airwaves.
“We call on leadership in the Senate and in the House to hold hearings on the issue of media violence and on the issue of the content ratings system, and its accuracy, consistency, transparency and accountability to the public,” Winter concluded.
Trained Entertainment Analysts examined all primetime broadcast programming that aired between January 11, 2013 and February 11, 2013. Original programming and reruns were included. Specifically, analysts counted:
- Total # of shows
- Total # of shows containing violence
- Total # of shows with violence and no V-descriptor.
- Total # of shows with violence and guns
- Total # of violent scenes
- Total # of violent scenes with guns
During the one-month study period, there were a total of 392 shows that aired on the broadcast networks in primetime. Of those 392 shows, nearly half (n=193) contained violence (49%); and almost a third (n=121) contained violence and guns. (Note: Data excludes all forms of ‘mild’ violence, such as medical violence, verbal threats, and the appearance of weapons without an act of violence.)
Within the 193 shows that included violence and that aired during the study period on the broadcast networks in primetime, there were 934 individual scenes of violence. Of those 934 individual scenes with violence, there were 305 individual scenes that included guns. Therefore, 33% of all violent scenes included guns.
Every program was rated TV-PG or TV-14, meaning that the television networks determined every single program to be appropriate for a child aged 14 or younger. The “V” content descriptor was present on 84% of the shows that contained violence.