TV Violence Found to Be More Frequent, Graphic; Group Decries Harm to Children

Article excerpt

Byline: Kara Rowland, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

America's children are being exposed to more dead bodies, fistfights and perverts than ever before, according to an analysis of violence on prime-time television released yesterday by the Parents Television Council.

Violent content from 8 to 11 p.m. on weekdays jumped 75 percent from 1998 to 2006, largely because of popular crime-solving shows and medical dramas such as "Law and Order" and "CSI," the Los Angeles nonprofit concluded in its report, titled "Dying to Entertain."

For its second such study, the group pored through 1,187.5 hours of prime-time entertainment programs on major broadcast networks from the first two weeks of the November, February and May sweeps periods during the 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons. The analysis excluded movies, news programs and sports events.

The group, which lobbies against sex, violence and profanity in entertainment, measured violence by tracking scenes that contained violent elements and counting the frequency of violence within each scene. For example, if a character were to pull out a gun during a fistfight and shoot someone, it would be recorded as two instances of violence.

CBS had the highest percentage of deaths portrayed on each of its shows during prime time. On all the networks - ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, WB and UPN - 54 percent of violent scenes depicted death or implied it.

Guns were involved in 63 percent of violent scenes, and knives featured in 15 percent.

At 309 percent, ABC had the biggest increase in violent content since 1998, which the group examined in its study released in 2002, ballooning from 0.93 instances of violence per hour to 3.80 instances during the 2005-06 season.

Fox had the smallest increase in violent content since 1998, a 12 percent rise to 3.84 instances per hour.

NBC is America's most violent network, according to the numbers, with 6.79 violent instances each hour. CBS came in second at 5.56.

At the bottom of the list, UPN and the WB - which in the fall combined to form the CW Television Network - had 0.86 and 3.52 violent instances per prime time hour, respectively.

ABC's short-lived murder drama "Night Stalker" was the most violent program of the 2005-06 season, with 26 instances of violence in one hour. …