• The Elephant in the Room

    by  • March 12, 2014 • Advertiser Accountability, Ratings Reform, Studies, Violence • 19 Comments

    Vissue_P4(6th in a Series about Media Violence)

    Whenever the public expresses concern about the excessive graphic violence on television, the TV industry’s argument is the same: it’s the parent’s job to keep violence and other dangerous content away from their kids. “Use the V-Chip! Look at the ratings!”

    Parental Controls Don’t Work if the Content Ratings are Wrong!

    The problem is this: using parental controls such as the V-Chip is worthless if the ratings are not accurate, and the appropriate viewing age is not listed correctly.

    Our E-Series and studies have clearly shown that the ratings system is flawed and highly inaccurate. The tools the networks promised to parents do not work. This is not by accident or incompetence. Do you know who assigns the age and content ratings to TV programs? The same networks that show them!

    Major Conflict of Interest

    YES, it is true,  the networks rate their own shows. This is the proverbial case of the fox guarding the hen-house. Here’s why.

    - Companies that pay the networks to air their commercials want the maximum number of viewers to see their commercials.

    - The more viewers the network can promise, the more the advertisers pay.

    - The younger the age ratings, the more younger people (the most desirable group of viewers for advertisers) watch the show.

    Fox and hen

    - In fact, most companies will not even buy advertising on Mature Audiences Only (TV-MA) television programming.

    - Therefore, the networks are highly motivated to “under-rate” their programming.

    Results of Networks Ratings their own Program

    The result is networks purposely rate shows “TV-14,” appropriate for 14 year olds even though the  programs contain graphic violence– which includes child molestation, rape, mutilation/disfigurement, dismemberment, graphic killings and/or injuries by gunfire and stabbings, torture, and cannibalism– totally inappropriate for young teens.


    UP NEXT: The First Steps to Improve the Ratings System

    In the 1996 Telecommunications Act, Congress required the TV ratings system and created a TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board to supposedly “oversee” the rating system. Like the ratings themselves, this organization is a total sham. It is obvious that this board has NOT done its job. This board needs to be exposed and the TV ratings system be fixed.

    This will be discussed in our final report.




    19 Responses to The Elephant in the Room

    1. William Kughes
      March 13, 2014 at 8:38 pm

      Commercials need to be rated as well. Advertisers have NO regard as to who’s in front of the screen when their ads are aired. Parents must CRINGE whenever a show their children are watching goes to a commercial break, as there is no indication as is what’s coming next. You can have a Toy Commercial one minute, then comes a commercial for a “ED Pill” or some other “Adult Product. I have seen these kind of ads playing DURING A CHILDREN’S SHOW.

    2. Tom Moncrief
      March 13, 2014 at 10:35 am

      Not only are the ratings not accurate, many are NOT RATED. This is also how they get around it.

    3. C Perkins
      March 12, 2014 at 9:49 pm

      I just read the Costco Connection debate on this same subject (the one between Tim Winter and Joan Graves). Joan Graves claims that “the ratings board, composed entirely of parents, is charged with rating…” Her explanation directly contradicts the PTC’s report that each station rates their own shows. She also implies that the ratings board acts independently, although she doesn’t state it directly. Lastly she says that parents “overwhelming… feel they are getting accurate information.” How can this be?

      • Christopher Gildemeister
        April 22, 2014 at 10:37 am

        Joan Graves heads up the Classification and Ratings Administration (CARA), a division of the Motion Picture Association of America – the body in charge of providing ratings for theatrical movies (G, PG, PG-13, R, NC-17).

        Ms. Graves may claim that the CARA board is “composed entirely of parents”; but this claim was debunked in the 2006 documentary This Film Is Not Yet Rated, which showed that many of the members of CARA’s panel either had “children” who were fully grown, or were not parents. Also debatable is the assertion that parents “feel they are getting accurate information,” given that Ms. Graves herself has admitted that most parents don’t want any f-words in PG-13 movies, but CARA permits them anyway. Finally, the notion that the ratings board “acts independently” is blatantly false: the ratings board is part of the MPAA, the entire purpose of which is to promote and lobby the government in favor of the entertainment industry. It is common knowledge that, when the makers of a film do not like the rating CARA assigns it, they “negotiate” with CARA to lower the rating.

        The ratings process for television programming is different. TV program ratings (TV-PG, TV-14, TV-MA with descriptors like D,S,L,V) are assigned by the originating network. Thus, when the PTC is talking about TV, we’re correct: each TV network rates its own shows.

    4. Justme77006@yahoo.com
      March 12, 2014 at 8:05 am

      It has gotten so bad even commercials expose the poison of the morally corrupt left, The TV is seldom left unsupervised to play out their programing at our house, we take time to program, record and YouTube what we want to see.

    5. Bill
      March 12, 2014 at 6:38 am

      I’m with Jim Milam and Bethany…Both great points. If a child should not view it…then neither should any adult, if you say you Love JESUS ! The rating system is absurd…a fox left to guard the hen house.

      • William Warfield
        March 12, 2014 at 1:37 pm

        Agreed, 125%!

    6. March 12, 2014 at 6:36 am

      Research has proven the direct correlation of children being exposed to violence and violent behavior.
      Hell no, the networks should not be the ones to rate shows.

      We really appreciate the work PTC does and exposing the advertisers who sponsor these shows.Follow the money works every time.

    7. Gramma
      March 12, 2014 at 4:06 am

      It is our fault for allowing the proverbial elephant in the room–the square box has been there for decades, and we are now addicted to being entertained, no matter what, don’t you think?

    8. Beverly Portlock
      March 11, 2014 at 8:32 pm

      None of these programs should be broadcast at all! There is no point where even adults can or should watch pure trash.

      • Tim Willetts
        March 13, 2014 at 2:57 pm

        And who decides what should be broadcast? Or what is trash? We supposedly live in a free country, with a free market system. None of those programs, or for that matter, movies, would be made or shown if there weren’t people willing to see them. As long as there’s a market for those programs, they will continue to be broadcast.

        There’s quite a few programs that I don’t care for, or want my kids watching, but I have no right to decide for my neighbors what they can watch.

        • Glockgemini
          March 19, 2014 at 5:53 am

          Bring on channel choice in cable and satellite and watch the trash start falling away. When people are not forced to subsidize the trash channels, they will whither and die. The channels providing more wholesome content will thrive.

    9. Bethany
      March 11, 2014 at 7:42 pm

      Okay, but WHY are you ONLY talking about violence, and not sexual content….which is an even worse problem?? They label Ice Age 2, a PG movie, with containing sexual content (SC), just like other more mature movies and shows that should never be watched by anyone mature human being, adult or child. They do this so that we cannot block sexual content, because this then blocks out all the innocent kiddie movies and shows, which is absolutely ridiculous and devious.

      • PTC-CR
        March 12, 2014 at 3:51 pm

        Our Media Violence E-Series has focused on the violent content as we have just concluded a study on violence on broadcast TV and cable TV. After the Newtown tragedy last year, the network promised responsibility and tools for parents to help monitor what their children were watching. Our latest study confirmed that the networks did nothing but offer more violence and kept the rating at levels they thought were acceptable for children. We know why they keep the ratings low. We have already done other studies on misratings content sexual content. They are all examples of a failed rating system which offers little help to parents. In fact, it hurts parents. Keep reading our blog, check our website, follow us on Facebook,and sign up for our e-alerts. You will soon see much more about fixing the TV content rating system, as families are fed up of the flawed system we have now.

    10. William Hughes
      March 11, 2014 at 7:26 pm

      The Ratings system is a JOKE. On top of this is the fact the advertisers don’t care WHO is in front of the set when their commercials are aired. There is absolutely no indication as to what kind of product is going to be advertised next. Parent’s must CRINGE whenever a show their children are watching goes to a commercial break. You can see an ad for a toy one minute, next is a commercial for an “ED Pill” or some other “Adult Product”.

    11. Mary
      March 11, 2014 at 7:11 pm

      Parents need to stay alert and know they CAN make a difference. We can get noticed if we speak up. Stay strong parents.

    12. Mary
      March 11, 2014 at 7:10 pm

      Parents need to stay alert and know they CAN make a difference. We can get noticed if we speak up. Stay strong parents!

    13. Jim Milam
      March 11, 2014 at 6:50 pm

      You are absolutely correct, their ratings are not correct, and they don’t care. They don’t care that most of the top watched movies over the years made in Hollywood are G rated movies. They are trying to program children to their miserable methods and ways of living by showing them garbage and portraying it as normal and natural. It is really sad that it has come to this, but people need to speak up and let them know our displeasure in the subject matter they are presenting.

    14. Craig Johnsen
      March 11, 2014 at 5:00 pm

      Keep up the good work don’t back down.

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