• Post-Newtown, TV Industry PROMISED Action On Media Violence — But Did NOTHING

    by  • February 11, 2014 • Misrated, Ratings Reform, Studies, Violence • 19 Comments

    (2nd in a Series about Media Violence)Media Violence

    “Anyone who thinks the media has nothing to do with this is an idiot.”
    That’s what Les Moonves, President of CBS, said in the wake of the school shooting…in Columbine…fifteen years ago!

    Since that time, there have been numerous other mass shootings – Virginia Tech, Aurora, and, most horrifically, Newtown. Yet violence in entertainment has far outstripped even the violence in real life.

    And the entertainment industry doesn’t care.

    After Newtown, representatives of the entertainment industry responded with honeyed words of sympathy – but, unlike Les Moonves in 1999, not regret. Fearing a backlash against the huge amounts of violence they pumped into movie theaters, video games, and, through television, every living room in America, industry representatives met with Vice-President Joe Biden, claiming to be concerned about societal violence and vowing to act responsibly in the future.

    Violence VideoIf Hollywood is truly concerned, then they sure have a bizarre and twisted way of showing it: The very same day the broadcast networks met with Vice-President Biden, ABC featured a grotesquely violent scene of torture on its drama Scandal.

    And the other networks have shown content just as bad. In fact, a PTC study of all prime-time broadcast programs aired between January 11, 2013 and February 11, 2013 (the month immediately following the networks’ meeting with the Vice President) found that nearly half of all shows contained violence — and almost a third contained gun violence.

    Since Newtown, the broadcast networks have done NOTHING to lessen the amount of hideously graphic, gory, and downright disturbing violence they have relentlessly shoved into every living room in America – in prime time, often in what used to be called the “Family Hour,” and always rated acceptable for children as young as fourteen years old.

    According to the study Media Violence and the American Public: Scientific Facts Versus Media Misinformation, the link between children’s exposure to violent media and violent behavior in real life is stronger than the relationship between calcium intake and bone mass; stronger than the relationship between condom use and the risk of contracting HIV; and stronger than the exposure to second-hand smoke and the risk of lung cancer.

    Yet despite their promises to act responsibly, broadcast television has completely, utterly REFUSED to do so. In fact, the level of violence on the publicly-owned broadcast airwaves is as bad as the violence on basic cable, yet is rated LESS stringently…as our next report will show.

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    19 Responses to Post-Newtown, TV Industry PROMISED Action On Media Violence — But Did NOTHING

    1. baj1123
      February 11, 2014 at 4:20 pm

      Let’s get with the program, folks. America wants you to step up and clean up violence on TV.

    2. Dan
      February 11, 2014 at 5:11 pm

      “and stronger than the exposure to second-hand smoke and the risk of lung cancer.”

      Tobacco doesnt kill people TV shows do lol !

    3. Curtis J Neeley Jr
      February 11, 2014 at 5:38 pm

      OMGosh,

      I have fought the Federal Communication Commission in United States Courts now for YEARS and regular media have not noticed though formally notified. Justice in the United States is dependent on popular culture period. Susan B Anthony was fined $100.00 for voting while female by United States District Court in 1873. Women were not allowed to vote till 1920. In less than one hundred years women have gone from not being allowed to vote for US President to having actually ran for the office of US President. Black men could vote long before white women. How long will it be before the FCC regulates the common carrier of wire?

      I will not appeal my last dismissal but have sought FRCP Rule 60(b)(1) reconsideration. The PTC or MILLIONS of others could seek to intervene and seek FRCP Rule 60(b)(1) reconsideration of this mistake until Feb 5, 2015 and then appeal this ridiculous mistake to the Eighth Circuit if not corrected.

    4. Joyce
      February 11, 2014 at 7:30 pm

      I’ve signed petitions, sent emails and made calls, as have MANY others. What good does it do? SADLY, NO ONE that has any control does anything to stop the violent movies, games, TV, etc. How on earth could this country have become so greedy that the only thing the people in control think about is the almighty dollar and power?? What do they think is going to be left for their children and grandchildren? If they cared, they would STAND UP AND FIGHT FOR AMERICA!! LET’S PRAY THAT THEY DO, BEFORE IT IS TOTALLY TOO LATE!

    5. Felicia Hepburn
      February 12, 2014 at 5:08 am

      This is good information and I totally agree which is why my family has not had cable for almost 10 years. But now what? Not everyone will get rid of cable to prove a point so what’s next to DO instead of just informing. Thanks!

    6. Lois Smith
      February 12, 2014 at 5:43 am

      We have been so disgusted w/satellite TV (cable not available here, but “what difference does it make”!) we have gone to “on-air”. Even that has some violent shows but there is an OFF button and it is red.

    7. swojcik jaffelaw
      February 12, 2014 at 6:01 am

      As a 50 year old, our childhood TV shows were not filled with all this violence. Allow our kids to have the same and enjoy their innocence. Clean up the violence on TV now. It does matter.

    8. Kathy Wynn
      February 12, 2014 at 6:12 am

      America, please clean up violence and sex on TV. There is nothing on regular TV that is worth watching or recording. It is nothing but junk. The only channels worth watching are Hallmark and UP.

    9. Rob MacGregor
      February 12, 2014 at 7:04 am

      It is unconscionable that the “entertainment” industry continues to push violence to our kids – when there is ample evidence that these depictions feed vulnerable and often troubled minds. The pursuit of advertising money is the only interest that moves them. We should ask advertisers to boycott shows that depict mindless violence.

    10. James healey
      February 12, 2014 at 2:30 pm

      The level of violence on TV is disgusting, and worse, the way that many current TV shows glorify or trivialize violence!! Torture scenes, killing “people” on the “Walking Dead”. “The Following” appears to glorify violence by showing the villain, a serial killer with a cult following, as a genius who otsmarts law enforcement at every turn! “Boardwalk Empire”, “True Detective” and others cable series also glorify violence. STOP THE MDNESS!!

    11. Stephanie Sarich
      February 12, 2014 at 5:59 pm

      I’m also disgusted by movie previews and TV ads that I’m forced to watch during news shows or before movies that aren’t offensive, such as before “Lincoln.”

    12. Rudolf Hebling
      February 13, 2014 at 5:19 pm

      Politicians who believe they can control gun violence by restricting gun ownership without curbing violence in our entertainment industry are not playing with a full deck. What we watch impacts us. Advertisers pay billions each year because of this truth. If we watch more violence, we will become a more violent society. Holywood and our entire “entertainment” industry…. any part of it that creates violent movies, videos, games, or songs are individually responsible for what is happening in our society.

    13. February 13, 2014 at 10:05 pm

      I see all of the comments that mirror my own opinions and emotions. What is wrong, at least in my eyes, is the lack of a moral compass in our world, not just our nation. God has been told to “get lost”, the only morals are the ones that a person chooses that “feel right”. The media puts way too much emphasis on the criminal and his/her poor upbringing (etc.) rather than outrage at what he/she did to the victim! The violence our kids and grandkids see on TV in just one DAY is more than we saw in our lifetimes, right? I believe that due to violent TV shows are forced on us, that we, as adults and our children, react with violence more than we used to. What I don’t understand is that family movies, such as Lego Land (I saw it yesterday with my grandson), Frozen, Ice Age, etc. are wildly popular. Their box office earnings are astounding and yet Hollywood doesn’t get it. They somehow believe, in spite of the evidence to the contrary, that these violent shows are what we, the public, want! I am a born-again Christian and from my viewpoint, we are living in the end times. Fellow Christians, our only hope for our nation is to repent and ask God for forgiveness for our nation’s sins.

    14. Tyler
      February 15, 2014 at 11:12 pm

      Did you know, that YOU are part of the issue? Could you people stop attacking the content and creators/distributors, and attack THE REAL PROBLEM?!

      There’s a reason why THE VAST MAJORITY OF LEGALLY SOLD GAMES in the USA are rated by the ESRB and for why they even exist! Tell parents to STOP buying call of duty/battlefield or grand theft auto for their children. Tell parents to enable parental controls on their game consoles and TV boxes. Tell the parents to take charge AS PARENTS and do their job. Parents have the tools and should use them. My parents might have let me roam the internet essentially unrestricted when I about 12, but there’s no way I’d do the same for my child.

      I completely agree with keeping advertisement relative to the rating of the content, but stop using violent media as a scapegoat.

      Its funny, I’ve been playing violent games for the better part of my 19 years of living, and I DO NOT WHATSOEVER CONDONE violence IN THE REAL WORLD! I can feel no remorse running over random civilians in GTA but would never consciously do that in real life. I’ll kill all the innocent bunnies, frogs, and birds in guild wars 2 but don’t condone animal abuse. And before you write me off as a heretic I DO enjoy non violent games, like mario, animal crossing, and journey for instance, as much as I enjoy the violence of GTA, dead space, and fallout.

      Violent things aren’t necessarily suitable for children, WHICH IS EXACTLY WHY WE HAVE ESRB AND TV/FILM RATINGS!

      • Jonathan
        February 25, 2014 at 11:42 am

        I completely agree with you Tyler. The only thing this group does is attack anything they dont like, they tired to get Seth macfarlane to not be the host of the Academy Awards just because he is the creator of “Family Guy”

        Like you I also play violent video games such as GTA and Dead Space and have never wanted to kill anyone in real life.

        I am hoping to get enough money one day to make a documentary on this group. This group needs to be exposed for it’s scapegoating ways. The Newton shooting didn’t happens because of the TV industry or any industry that is related to entertainment, but the the PTC is too closed-minded to realize that.

        • Mm
          March 19, 2014 at 12:16 pm

          I do not get why people ever play the games anyway. No one needs to.

    15. PTC
      February 25, 2014 at 2:27 pm

      Jonathan, I like your passion for this issue and open-mindedness to the discussion.

      Let’s be clear, nobody at the PTC has blamed the horrific tragedy at Newtown on TV. If you read our e-series posts carefully, all we are doing is exposing the hypocrisy of the entertainment industry concerning media violence. Right after Newtown, network representatives met with Vice President Biden and they said how they were concerned and have a “longstanding commitment to provide parents the tools necessary to make the right viewing decisions for their families.”

      In the last year, all we did was verify that the networks continued after Newtown “business as usual” using the same broken ratings system, pushing out completely misrated shows and giving parents wrong and misleading ratings information. Read the eye-opening study at http://w2.parentstv.org/main/Research/Studies/CableViolence/cableviolence2013.aspx

      If you do come across a good sum of money, I would recommend a much better use of your money would be to make a documentary on the real influencers of TV ratings. Do you, or do most Americans, ever ask who are the people making the TV ratings? They should ask. Have you heard the phrase “the fox guarding the hen house?”

      Keep following our blog, and you will soon learn more the flawed TV ratings system.

      Finally, before you write off the influence of TV, take a look at our blog post on the science of influence.
      http://w2.parentstv.org/blog/index.php/2014/02/04/is-media-violence-harmful-science-says-yes. And while you’re reading the studies, make some calls to the big advertisers and ask why they spend millions on a 30-second Super Bowl ads. There IS a reason.

      • Jonathan
        February 25, 2014 at 3:13 pm

        The rating system isn’t broken, a TV-14 rated show has as much violence as a PG-13 rated movie. Every TV show I have watched that is either TV-14 or TV-MA has a parental advisory before the show starts and when it comes back from commercial. Networks are doing everything they can to make sure parents know what is on. What else are they supposed to do? Take the show off completely?

        When I do get the money I need to make this documentary I will make it, there are plenty of people who don’t like your group and would gladly support me. I have read your studies on influence and have also seen many more studies that prove yours wrong.

    16. PTC-CR
      February 26, 2014 at 3:51 pm

      Parents need correct information to make informed decisions. If the ratings the networks are giving to programs are not accurate or consistent, then the system is broken. Study after study show inaccuracies and inconsistencies with the ratings year after year.

      Note PTC President Tim Winters clarifying comments from the Daily Caller article at http://dailycaller.com/2014/02/05/harvey-weinsteins-change-of-heart-and-why-the-problem-of-movie-violence-isnt-going-away:

      “Keep in mind that each TV network determines the rating for its own shows. The industry is financially rewarded to rate content inaccurately for younger audiences, as most sponsors rightfully won’t buy advertisements on TV-MA programs. And PG-13 movies are routinely more profitable than R-rated films.

      In order for the system to work properly, content ratings must be accurate, consistent, transparent, and publicly accountable. The current system is none of those. It’s time for a comprehensive overhaul of these ratings systems, and those whom the system is intended to serve – parents and families – must be allowed a seat at the table.”

      Many actions the PTC take are because the networks have given lower ratings than appropriate for the program. Parents need to stand together to demand a useful ratings system.

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