• More Broken Promises: How Networks “Protect” Children

    by  • February 25, 2014 • Misrated, Ratings Reform, Studies, Violence • 35 Comments

    Vissue_P4(4th in a Series about Media Violence)

    After the Newtown and Aurora shootings, entertainment industry executives talked about their “longstanding commitment” to helping parents protect children from media violence.

    And how did one such network — NBC — fulfill that promise?

    They gave America a TV series in which a psychotic serial killer is the HERO!

    Based on the character Hannibal “the Cannibal” Lecter from the movie The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal slavishly adheres to the pattern established by the ultra-graphic and bloody TV series Dexter — a quirky, charming, and highly intelligent individual with whom they are supposed to sympathize, and who just happens to be a psychopathic murderer. Like Dexter, Hannibal commits his murders (nearly always, of young, attractive women) in “creatively” unusual ways – but unlike Dexter, Hannibal then EATS HIS VICTIM’S FLESH!

    More Misrated Violent Programming on Broadcast TV

    There are other differences. Dexter appears on Showtime, a premium cable network – meaning that those who want to watch the disturbing and graphic show not only have to subscribe to cable or satellite TV, but have to pay an extra, additional fee to be able to see it.

    By contrast, Hannibal is shown on the broadcast airwaves – airwaves owned by the American people, which come into every TV set in America free of charge. And unlike Dexter, Hannibal is rated as being appropriate for a 14-year-old-child!

    Why on earth did NBC think that American families wanted to see a TV series with a cannibalistic serial murderer as the hero? Sure, a tiny number of niche viewers might subscribe to a cable channel with a show like that…but what rational network head would conclude that such programming is appropriate for THE WHOLE FAMILY – ON THE PUBLIC AIRWAVES?

    More Broken Promises as Networks Continue Glamorizing Violence

    Some people like to say, “murder has always been a subject in fiction.” That is true; but until very recently, the murderer was considered to be the villain, and murder itself was a bad thing. Today, however, the entertainment industry takes tremendous pride in making even the most blatant and disturbing evil appear charming and delightful.

    Here are a few examples of the kind of content shown on a previous episode of Hannibal:

    - A corpse is seen, its shirt soaked with huge bloodstains. The corpse’s dead eyes stare sightlessly upward.

    - Will kneels on the mutilated corpse. It’s arm reaches out and grabs Will, still alive. Its jawless, fleshy mouth moves as it tries to speak.

    - Will breaks opens a car trunk. Inside is the corpse of a woman, buried in dirt, with a respirator taped in its mouth.

    - A man shoots a police detective in the head. Blood sprays everywhere.

    - Will has a flashback to the previous episode. He sees Hobbs, a criminal he shot in the chest repeatedly. Hobbs’ corpse is shown lying on a kitchen floor. Blood gushes from a knife wound in the neck of Hobbs’ teenage daughter Abigail.

    - Will shows a photo slide to his forensics class. Viewers see the body of a naked woman lying face-upward, her corpse impaled on stag antlers.

    This is the kind of content NBC thinks is totally acceptable for the publicly-owned airwaves, at 9:00 p.m. Central/Mountain…and which the network rates as appropriate for 14-year-olds. The program returns this Thursday, February 28,— more proof that the networks have no interest in upholding their “longstanding commitment” to protect children.

    UP NEXT (in Media Violence E-Series #5)

    Worst of all, Hannibal is not the only such misrated show polluting the broadcast airwaves. Other shows are as bad, or even worse…as our next report will show.

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    35 Responses to More Broken Promises: How Networks “Protect” Children

    1. Trish
      February 28, 2014 at 11:17 am

      Parents can work like dogs to keep what’s bad from our own children, but that doesn’t keep us from becoming victims of the kids that aren’t being shielded. Many parents don’t seem to care if they raise a serial killer.

    2. Stephanie
      February 28, 2014 at 11:46 pm

      Yesterday I had a long talk with a representative of our “bundled” provider (internet/phone/TV). I called because our bill had increased by nearly $30 a month! He asked me what TV shows we watched and I told him very few. That is the truth too. I have one TV show I watch regularly on NBC. The commercials for this TV show as well as Grimm and others I can’t even watch or listen to. Fortunately I record this (as I do all of them) so I can zip through the commercials but I still SEE stuff. Why are the networks and Hollywood promoting this violence to be peddled to our kids? Is this what they want our kids to behave? I just don’t get the motives here. I am appalled as well at the sexualization of our young girls and urging them to be more promiscuous, it seems. STD’s have reached nearly epidemic levels among our youth and network and cable (even worse) don’t even mention them! There are real consequences to this behavior, both violence and sex. We do become desensitized and I cannot even imagine what the young mind feels. Our FCC has completely let us down as have the courts. I complained to the billing guy yesterday several times that we pay for stuff that we would not only ever use but object to! He agreed that it’s wrong but there is little he can do about it. What is the answer here? Just get rid of the TV altogether?

    3. Stephen Goodrick
      March 1, 2014 at 8:07 am

      I realize that I have no stomach for what is broadcast on TV. I rarely watch it. My grandchildren do watch this stuff and it makes me sick to think about it. What kind of perspectives will they harvest as a natural result of the exposure? We warn, we attempt to influence, we try to intervene,…they must choose after all is said and done, they must choose. Our society and generation has saddled them with a most revolting future of hopelessness.

    4. March 1, 2014 at 6:51 pm

      Ewww, it sound like the people who come up with this stuff are under direct orders from Satan. You sure they’re not Satanists or demon possessed? They should be locked away somewhere, not running companies.

    5. Kathy
      March 2, 2014 at 7:09 pm

      While watching Duck Dynasty On A&E I am continually offended by the Bates Motel comericals. Tonight they showed the commercial for the up and coming series to start March 3. I could not believe the violence that was shown .I find them to be so offense and I fear for children that would watch these commercials. I am not even sure where to start to speak out about this. I was so glad to see I could speak tonight right here. Any advise would be appreciated. I hope to hear back from you. Thanks!

    6. Jonathan
      March 4, 2014 at 8:26 am

      Kathy if you don’t like the commercial change the channel, it’s not that hard. Children watching a commercial won’t harm them. Bates Motel is a great show and deserves to have their commercials shown.

    7. Kathy
      March 4, 2014 at 1:43 pm

      Jonathan you’re absolutely correct that the channel can be changed and its not that hard. Our selection to watch a child appropriate (7-13 age group) show shouldn’t include a requirement to constantly police the commercials. The show is safe but the commercials are not. Children watching a commercial won’t harm them? Maybe not, but in the case of Bates Motel it’s a seed planter for violence and twisted evil for a young mind, why promote it to this age group. I believe that just as there is an appropriate time of the evening for the Bates Motel there is also an appropriate time for their commercials and its not in the middle of a prime time family rated show.

    8. Barbara Thims
      April 13, 2017 at 10:00 am

      The video games on ipads and in movies influence gun violence in real life.

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