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Editorial: TV needs to be cleaned up

FCC Media TV Editorial

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#1 Rov Judicata

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Posted 07 May 2003 - 07:54 AM

http://www.washtimes...05-94421118.htm

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     "Our rules run to the licensee. At some point, enough is enough." With those words, during his speech to the annual National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas earlier this month, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell sent a shiver through the broadcasting industry. The FCC is now talking seriously about revoking broadcast licenses for egregious violations of its decency rules.
     This is welcome but long overdue, and it is not by accident. FCC commissioner Kevin Martin met with representatives of a dozen pro-family organizations on March 26. The representatives emerged from that meeting optimistic that support for their position — that the FCC had to be far more aggressive in enforcing its decency standards on television and radio — is growing significantly within the commission.
     Both Commissioner Martin (a Republican) and Commissioner Michael Copps (a Democrat) have been quite outspoken in recent months about the need to return to a family hour, when parents and children can gather in front of the screen and enjoy entertainment together without having their values and senses assaulted.
     Both the ABC and PAX networks have begun to deliver more family-friendly programming in the first hour of their prime time lineups. This sign is encouraging as networks continue to discover that family-friendly programming can be profitable.
     Still, the prevailing attitude in Hollywood encourages producers and performers to push the envelope even further. This is where the FCC's deeds must follow its words.
     The same family groups met with Chairman Powell almost a year ago. While we tried to be optimistic coming out of that meeting, the consensus was that he really just met with us to say he met with us, and was uninterested in taking our concerns seriously. His most recent statements must now be followed with actions.
     There are plenty of cases where television content violates the FCC's standards, there have been countless cases over the past decade or more. But the FCC hasn't acted on a single complaint.
     In fact, according to Concerned Women for America, 6,900 complaints were filed with the FCC after last year's "Victoria's Secret Fashion Show" aired on network television. But the FCC combined them all into one complaint, and still did nothing.
     Sexual themes and even soft-core pornography are rampant on shows such as CBS' "Survivor" and MTV's "Real World." Nielsen research reveals 1.4 million 2- to 11-year-olds watch "Survivor," and 1.4 million 12- to 17-year-olds watch it as well. Thirty percent of "Real World's" audience is under age 18.
     Commissioners Martin and Copps are right: It is time the networks revisited the family hour. This would be the traditional first hour of prime-time on the networks (the big three of ABC, NBC, CBS, along with newer networks FOX, UPN, WB, and PAX) from 8 p.m. until 9 p.m. each night (7 p.m. until 8 p.m. in the Central and Mountain Time Zones).
     More than 10 million children watch the first hour of prime time in the evening. Regardless of Mr. Powell's past indifference, his latest words are a red flag to broadcasters that the public is growing increasingly agitated and wants to see some positive responses.
     We hope matters wouldn't have to get to the point where the FCC actually revokes a broadcaster's license for violating these standards. Our hope is the industry will be proactive in responding to the concerns of its audience.

I strongly disagree. Don't we have such a thing as the free market? If you want to change the market, you do it with your dollar, not a sledgehammer....
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#2 Palisades

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Posted 07 May 2003 - 08:39 AM

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    There are plenty of cases where television content violates the FCC's standards, there have been countless cases over the past decade or more. But the FCC hasn't acted on a single complaint.
    In fact, according to Concerned Women for America, 6,900 complaints were filed with the FCC after last year's "Victoria's Secret Fashion Show" aired on network television. But the FCC combined them all into one complaint, and still did nothing.
    Sexual themes and even soft-core pornography are rampant on shows such as CBS' "Survivor" and MTV's "Real World." Nielsen research reveals 1.4 million 2- to 11-year-olds watch "Survivor," and 1.4 million 12- to 17-year-olds watch it as well. Thirty percent of "Real World's" audience is under age 18.
Rov:

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Don't we have such a thing as the free market? If you want to change the market, you do it with your dollar, not a sledgehammer....
Would you apply this logic to the pornography industry as well?

If broadcasters continue to violate the already existing FCC standards, shouldn't the government take some sort of action?
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#3 Phoenix

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Posted 07 May 2003 - 10:27 AM

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If broadcasters continue to violate the already existing FCC standards, shouldn't the government take some sort of action?
Hmmm, maybe the parents should take more control at home...but, of course that would entail the parents to actually take responsibility for their own children, and we can't have that...right?  :sarcasm:

#4 Palisades

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Posted 07 May 2003 - 10:31 AM

^ What's the point of having the FCC standards, if they're not going to be enforced?
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#5 Kosh

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Posted 07 May 2003 - 02:08 PM

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Sexual themes and even soft-core pornography are rampant on shows such as CBS' "Survivor" and MTV's "Real World." Nielsen research reveals 1.4 million 2- to 11-year-olds watch "Survivor," and 1.4 million 12- to 17-year-olds watch it as well. Thirty percent of "Real World's" audience is under age 18.

I never seen survivor for more then five minutes, but I've seen a lot of the real world and unless it's changed since Boston, there is no soft porn. I don't think the writer understands what consititues soft porn.

The freest country in the world have the most resticted TV in the world. I've never understood that, but I suppose it has much to do with religion.
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#6 Avalon

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Posted 07 May 2003 - 04:41 PM

Phoenix, on May 7 2003, 04:14 AM, said:

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If broadcasters continue to violate the already existing FCC standards, shouldn't the government take some sort of action?
Hmmm, maybe the parents should take more control at home...but, of course that would entail the parents to actually take responsibility for their own children, and we can't have that...right?  :sarcasm:
You know...as a parent, I do monitor what my kids watch.  Trouble is, we've often been watching something perfectly fine for my kids when it's interupted by commercials for other stuff that isn't what I want my kids to see -- and of course, those commercials show and stress ("SEX!  SKIN!  MAYHEM!  STUFF EXPLODES!") exactly the things I don't need them to see.

(Heck, even PBS screwed up and showed graphic ads for a documentary on WWII in between episodes of ARTHUR and MAGIC SCHOOL BUS a few years ago.  Talk about a freaked-out mom that day...yiiiii!)

Personally, I'd like there to be more things we can watch as a family during that 8:00 - 9:00 pm hour.  

I don't want my kids to be limited to, say, PBS, Disney, and Nick.  Television can be a useful tool for both educating and entertaining your family -- as long as it's wisely used.  But parents need to be able to have the right tools, too, in order to do that.  I don't want the government to control everything I can do or see.  But I also believe that the FCC needs to be able to enforce its rules.

Edited by Avalon, 07 May 2003 - 04:42 PM.


#7 QueenTiye

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Posted 07 May 2003 - 05:59 PM

You know - it is very easy for us to say "parents should watch what their children are doing."  But it isn't as easy for us to recognize that we have certain social obligations as regard the public airwaves.

Yes, parents SHOULD watch what their children are doing.  I am a parent who does.  My child lives on the PBS Kids channel, and occasionally on the ToonDisney channel. I'm wary enough to NOT be impressed with Nickelodean's offerings for children - so you can well imagine that I watch very carefully for what is on the tube at 8 p.m.

But lets face it - the gradual eroding of standards is a real issue.  I was never more insulted and embarrassed than when I had to run my seven year old child out of the living room at 4 in the afternoon because Mommy was watching a woman getting off on Dylan Hunt.  And THAT'S tame by comparison to some of what makes it to prime time television.
While some of these watchdog groups can sound very shrill and annoying - the fact remains that they have a legitimate point - and the fact remains that our tax dollars are paying for an agency to provide a public service that IT ISN'T PROVIDING... namely proper enforcement of the standards it sets.   And I agree - this goes NOT ONLY to television shows, but advertisements that are less than appropriate and yet shown when children are often watching television.  

I hope that Michael Powell DOES take these concerns seriously - as he has been largely industry friendly I trust that he will effectively balance the regulatory issues against the business issues (as opposed to a political appointee to the post who caters to the watchdog groups and goes on a censorship craze.)

QT

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#8 MuseZack

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Posted 07 May 2003 - 06:39 PM

Kosh, on May 7 2003, 11:55 AM, said:

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Sexual themes and even soft-core pornography are rampant on shows such as CBS' "Survivor" and MTV's "Real World." Nielsen research reveals 1.4 million 2- to 11-year-olds watch "Survivor," and 1.4 million 12- to 17-year-olds watch it as well. Thirty percent of "Real World's" audience is under age 18.

I never seen survivor for more then five minutes, but I've seen a lot of the real world and unless it's changed since Boston, there is no soft porn. I don't think the writer understands what consititues soft porn.

The freest country in the world have the most resticted TV in the world. I've never understood that, but I suppose it has much to do with religion.
Real World Las Vegas was pretty much wall to wall f***ing.  While the Real World used to be fun in a kind of teen soap opera way, the last couple of seasons have gotten seriously sleazy.  That said, it's on at 10 at night on a cable channel.

Zack
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#9 Rov Judicata

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Posted 07 May 2003 - 06:52 PM

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Would you apply this logic to the pornography industry as well?

Um... yes, actually. There's a supply of pornography because there's a demand. I'm not sure where that come from..... :look:

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If broadcasters continue to violate the already existing FCC standards, shouldn't the government take some sort of action?

It depends on what the violations were. I imagine they're vaguely worded; talk of obscenity and sexual situations, no doubt. I'd wager if you stretched it far enough, you could construe that the Magog violated FCC standards.

Sexual situations and soft-core porn could mean almost anything.

One of this woman's chief complaints is againt the "Victoria's Secret Fashion Show". I didn't watch it, granted, but I don't see the problem.

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Hmmm, maybe the parents should take more control at home...but, of course that would entail the parents to actually take responsibility for their own children, and we can't have that...right?

:look:

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What's the point of having the FCC standards, if they're not going to be enforced?

Keep in mind, they're not being enforced in the opinion of this woman and her organization. Again, there's ambiguity in the terms.

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The freest country in the world have the most resticted TV in the world. I've never understood that, but I suppose it has much to do with religion.

I've always wondered about that.

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Avalon: You know...as a parent, I do monitor what my kids watch. Trouble is, we've often been watching something perfectly fine for my kids when it's interupted by commercials for other stuff that isn't what I want my kids to see -- and of course, those commercials show and stress ("SEX! SKIN! MAYHEM! STUFF EXPLODES!") exactly the things I don't need them to see.

That's a bit different. Promotions for adult stuff in 'family' shows is different than pushing away the mature stuff. I'm on-board for restricting promotion in that way, absolutely.

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Personally, I'd like there to be more things we can watch as a family during that 8:00 - 9:00 pm hour.

The reason they're not is that it's not profitable. The market for shows with more mature themes is much larger than the ones that don't, I think.

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But parents need to be able to have the right tools, too, in order to do that.

That's true. That's the idea of the ratings system, and most cable providers offer some sort of block if you have a box.

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But I also believe that the FCC needs to be able to enforce its rules.

Granted. But I think the danger here is that legitimate programming, such as Alias, could be pushed off the air if this woman had her way. Lest it be forgotten, a lot of great programming has sexual content.

Remember "The Honey Offering"?

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namely proper enforcement of the standards it sets

Again, enforcing some standard on an artform is extremely difficult. Hell, the censors even gutted Shakespeare. Try reading Richard II without the deposition scene.

I think the danger is clear: If we make everything 'kid friendly', there won't be anything for adults to enjoy. I'm sorr that parents have a hard time preventing their kids from watching anything adult... but does that mean that shows should be gutted to cater to that audience?

I honestly think the best solution is the free market. If there's a market for kid-friendly programming, then the market adapts. It already has. The cartoon network and the disney channel didn't come out of government fiat; they came because the demand was there.
St. Louis must be destroyed!

Me: "I have a job and five credit cards and am looking into signing a two year lease.  THAT MAKES ME OLD."
Josh: "I don't have a job, I have ONE credit card, I'm stuck in a lease and I'm 28! My mom's basement IS ONE BAD DECISION AWAY!"
~~ Josh, winning the argument.

"Congress . . . shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis[.]" ~1 U.S.C. § 1, selectively quoted for accuracy.

#10 Laoise

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Posted 07 May 2003 - 07:21 PM

My mother's neglectful and rarely ever home, and still manages to control what her two eighteen year olds watch and has from the time we were teeny.  I don't understand why other parents can't do it.  (Except in the cases of commercials.  Commercials with PG-13 or higher content shouldn't be shown during G shows.  Parents can't control what commercials are shown, no matter how hard they try.)

I've seen two episodes of the Simpons, because my mother didn't want me watching them.  One I watched with her when I was about 10, so she could point out what she didn't want me watching.  The other was at school for a religion credit (Intro to Cults: The Simpsons Join a Cult -- had the highest turn-out of any seminar they've put on!) and my mother gave me permission to go before I did.
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#11 Delvo

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Posted 07 May 2003 - 07:32 PM

I think what needs fixing is the way the market itself analyzes its data. The problem with saying that the market will deliver what the people want is that it doesn't work. The market is too convinced of certain ideas of what makes successful content, which actually keep failing each time, or most times, that they're tried. The Nielsen system doesn't accurately measure TV viewing. The ratings-and-ads-purchasing system is based on false assumptions about consumer behavior. The connections from actual viewership to measured viewership to ratings to ad sales to program content to consumers' vieweing of and attention to ads to sales of the advertized products to advertizers' desire to buy ad space are just too tenuous, and impossible to measure and analyze, so generalized and often condescending ideas are substituted for actual knowledge and logic and sustained as a matter of faith within the industry.

If the people in the TV entertainment and TV advertizing industries figured out a way to actually deliver what people want instead of the convoluted system we're blundering around with now, these problems would solve themselves.

I'm waiting for the day when we order, and pay for, what we want to watch... ad-free because the makers get their money from us directly instead of through the middle-men.

#12 QueenTiye

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Posted 07 May 2003 - 07:36 PM

Tried to resist but couldn't....


{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{DELVO!}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}


Agreed...

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#13 Kosh

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Posted 07 May 2003 - 08:03 PM

MuseZack, on May 7 2003, 11:26 AM, said:

Kosh, on May 7 2003, 11:55 AM, said:

Quote

Sexual themes and even soft-core pornography are rampant on shows such as CBS' "Survivor" and MTV's "Real World." Nielsen research reveals 1.4 million 2- to 11-year-olds watch "Survivor," and 1.4 million 12- to 17-year-olds watch it as well. Thirty percent of "Real World's" audience is under age 18.

I never seen survivor for more then five minutes, but I've seen a lot of the real world and unless it's changed since Boston, there is no soft porn. I don't think the writer understands what consititues soft porn.

The freest country in the world have the most resticted TV in the world. I've never understood that, but I suppose it has much to do with religion.
Real World Las Vegas was pretty much wall to wall f***ing.  While the Real World used to be fun in a kind of teen soap opera way, the last couple of seasons have gotten seriously sleazy.  That said, it's on at 10 at night on a cable channel.

Zack
Are they now going into bedrooms with these kids? It was always racy, and the original broadcasts are late at night, but then they show marathons during the day, which is where I watched them. I know they were shooting for conflicting personalties, so there would be something to film, but the closest I had seen them come to showing something taht kids can't or shouldn't see, was one of the guys talking one of the girls, plus a waitress they had met, into taking a shower with him. The rest of the cast spent the next several minutes trying to find a way to listen in through the windows. I'm not sure now where they were, I think it was the seoncd or third season.
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#14 Bad Wolf

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Posted 07 May 2003 - 11:34 PM

*sigh*

*for those that don't know, this is a big red "Lil" hot button issue."

My parents were poor.  P O O R.  I grew up in a slum until I was 13.  Both parents worked.

And yet, somehow, with all of what we *didn't* have and with all of the work schedules and stuff they managed to be aware of what the hell we (me and my three younger brothers) were doing with our time.  They didn't snoop or anything, they were simply involved in our lives.  They didn't set us in front of a television and let us watch whatever we wanted.  They watched stuff with us.  If it was a more adult themed thing they might not let us watch it or they might watch it with us and talk to us about it.  The point is that they took the responsibility instead of leaving it up to the government to legislate it for them.

Blaming the media for the erosion of values in this society is the biggest cop out in the world, in my *not* very humble opinion.  Family values start with FAMILIES, not the freaking television.
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#15 Kimmer

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Posted 08 May 2003 - 12:03 AM

Una Salus Lillius, on May 7 2003, 02:21 PM, said:

Family values start with FAMILIES, not the freaking television.
APPLAUSE! APPLAUSE! APPLAUSE! APPLAUSE! APPLAUSE! APPLAUSE!

Now having made my hands smoke ....  :p

I agree that the TV and ad industries have some responsibilities to watch what they promote  and when it's shown. QT used the example of drom. To me, drom was never really a "kids" show. I certainly wouldn't have allowed a child under 16 to watch it. In fact, I didn't recommend it to my niece (who was 18 at the time). I did recommend it to her mom and dad.

TV shows that push the limit usually turn me off and I change the channels. I'm no prude, but porn in any form doesn't appeal to me. Take the Victoria Secret's PAID HOUR LONG COMMERCIAL -- I knew by the ads on tv what it was == an hour of sleaze. I was embarrassed when the ads came on, and it was just my hubby and I watching!

Anyhow ... if there are laws, they need to be enforced, or this commission needs to be dumped. I mean, why spend my tax dollars for more useless bureaucrats? Not that I'm opinionated or anything.  :rolleyes:

[edited because I can't spell check correctly]

Edited by kimmer, 08 May 2003 - 12:05 AM.


#16 QueenTiye

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Posted 08 May 2003 - 12:06 AM

I'm not sure anyone actually is "blaming" the media for the erosion of values in the way that you mean it.  OTOH...

1. I do believe that there is a such thing as "desensitization" that is going on in the media - and in some ways is being actively promoted.

2. I do also believe that the media has some degree of responsibility in it's usage of the public airwaves.

3. Given our persistant conflicts with other nations around the world, I'm appalled at our persistent exportation of some of the stuff that we export.  It saddens me.

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#17 Bad Wolf

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Posted 08 May 2003 - 12:35 AM

The very minute anyone starts holding news reporters to these "decency" rules in how they report the news is when I will buy into the idea that fictional entertainment bears any blame for any desensitization to violence.

The coverage of the Gulf War?  9-11?  The shuttle crash?  The war with Iraq?

Sorry but it will be a cold day in you know where before I start putting the blame for anything on Victoria's Secret when a person can tune into the news on any given day and see what gets shown there.

That's just the way I feel.

Edited by Una Salus Lillius, 08 May 2003 - 12:37 AM.

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#18 jon3831

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Posted 08 May 2003 - 12:36 AM

Okay... Shock and awe here...

I agree with Lil.

:look:  :eek:  :blink:

;)
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#19 Rov Judicata

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Posted 08 May 2003 - 12:37 AM

Una Salus Lillius, on May 7 2003, 03:22 PM, said:

The coverage of the Gulf War?  9-11?  The shuttle crash?  The war with Iraq?
Don't forget Geraldo.

And LOL Jon
St. Louis must be destroyed!

Me: "I have a job and five credit cards and am looking into signing a two year lease.  THAT MAKES ME OLD."
Josh: "I don't have a job, I have ONE credit card, I'm stuck in a lease and I'm 28! My mom's basement IS ONE BAD DECISION AWAY!"
~~ Josh, winning the argument.

"Congress . . . shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis[.]" ~1 U.S.C. § 1, selectively quoted for accuracy.

#20 Bad Wolf

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Posted 08 May 2003 - 12:54 AM

jon3831, on May 7 2003, 03:23 PM, said:

Okay... Shock and awe here...

I agree with Lil.

:look:  :eek:  :blink:

;)
:eek:  :eek2:  :eek:  :eek2:  :eek:  :eek2:  :eek:  :eek2:  :eek:  :eek2:  :eek:
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