Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Time for TV Industry to Wake Up

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Time for TV Industry to Wake Up

Article excerpt

Why do American television industry titans continue to churn out some of the junk that appears on our screens when consumers keep telling them they don't want it?

TV news programs warn us almost daily about drugs, crime, and the moral corrosion of society. But the entertainment divisions of the television networks keep bombarding us with what the American people clearly consider an unacceptable menu of trash. It glorifies violence, extols indiscriminate sex, and suggests that gutter language has become our lingua franca.

Only the most obtuse or most devious can still argue that this visual assault on our senses doesn't beget at least some of the social problems that beset us. The debate over a ratings system is an admission by the industry that some programs are unwholesome and that at least young children should be protected from them. Here's another question the industry should debate: Instead of making programs so damaging that they have to be kept away from young viewers, why not just stop making them? The way life isn't TV's "creative directors" argue that their art requires them to depict real life. To them, that means sordid. Yet, what they show on TV isn't the way life is for most people. Murder and mayhem aren't everyday staples for most citizens. When they do occur in their midst, most people deplore them, not glamorize them. Some new surveys indicate that the TV entertainment industry is still hopelessly out of touch with what viewers want. A study financed by the National Cable Television Association finds that the percentage of shows containing violent scenes increased from 58 percent in the 1994-95 season to 61 percent in the 1995-96 season. Dr. Dale Kunkel, one of the survey's senior researchers, deplored the fact that there was no change for the better in the way violence is depicted on television. He told The Los Angeles Times that "What we found is a picture of stability, of business as usual. …

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