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Media Quotes

A Collection of comments on the state of Entertainment.


A wounded man startles awake in an outdoor lounge chair, and before he dies he gapes in terror at the fresh, oozing sutures on his exposed abdomen. Damn! Some psycho has carved out his liver, but the organ is still nearby - and it's cooking on the grill!

No, this isn't a deleted scene from the director's cut DVD of Hannibal - it's just a random moment from Killer Instinct, one of Fox's new shows. Welcome to prime-time-network TV! (Rolling Stone, Oct. 20, 2005)


"The first step is to understand that TV is just a delivery system for ads. The only programming that really matters to those in power is the commercials (except on pay cable channels like HBO, where nothing matters except how many people subscribe). The success of a show is not measured by how good it is, or who says they loved it, or even how many people watch. A show is a success if the people who watched it go and buy the products that were advertised during the commercials. It is all about what is being sold and (just as important) who is doing the buying. That is why shows like 7th Heaven - which was the highest rated show on the WB network for years - was never considered as much of a success as Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Dawson's Creek, two lower-rated shows on the same network. The perception was that the audience for the latter two shows had more money to spend, so advertising rates were higher, and therefore the shows were more profitable. It might not seem fair, but viewers need to understand that the most-watched shows aren't always considered the most financially successful." - Dean Batali, lead writer for That '70s Show and former writer for Buffy the Vampire Slayer [Behind the Screen, a book about Christians in Hollywood]


"I'd like to be even more brutal and more weird. In our show, the sex scenes are very particular to what the characters are going through. I feel very lucky that we've gotten away with what we have, but I'd like to go even further." - Actor Julian McMahon discussing his role as a plastic surgeon on one of the most sexually explicit, profane, and violent television programs in the history of American television - Nip/Tuck on FX, NY Post.


"...Generations of viewers are accustomed to new fall lineups containing shows that might easily be considered horrors, but the 2005-6 season is dominated by a new brood of a relatively new breed: shows that are horrific on purpose, with gore as graphic and grisly as in many a monstrous movie." (Washington Post, September 18, 2005)


"'This year, I've heard less from standards and practices than ever before,' says Ryan Murphy, creator of FX's sexually precocious plastic-surgeon show Nip/Tuck. 'I'm surprised. I thought the climate since the election was more conservative, and would turn into this big battle.'" (Entertainment Weekly, Sept. 16, 2005)


"Children learn how to deal with relationships by what they see on TV. They see people having casual sex and using obscenity-laden language... I don't see how it could possibly be good for kids." - Faye Steuer, professor of psychology at Charleston College (Charleston Post and Courier, August 25, 2005)


"We played the game by day and lived the game by night." - an anonymous, incarcerated Oakland, Calif., gang member who says he and his friends used the Grand Theft Auto games as a kind of virtual reality training. His gang has been linked to car thefts and at least seven murders. [Reader's Digest, 8/05]


"Well, they're going to collect a lot of money when some of these TV shows are still on. " - President George W. Bush answering a question from C-SPAN Interviewer Brian Lamb about pending legislation that would increase FCC broadcast Indecency fines ten fold from 37,500 to 375,000 per incident.


"Copycat pranksters could face serious injury or death from electrocution." - U.S. electric utility companies in a letter to NBC warning them about an upcoming episode of "Fear Factor" which featured couples shocking themselves using high-voltage electricity for money and prizes.


"You don't understand how many places I go and the movie will come up, and they'll say, ‘My kids want to see that.' I'm like, No no no, it's not a kids' film'." - South Park co-creator Trey Parker speaking about their Team America: World Police movie, Entertainment Weekly, October 22, 2004, p. 61.


"It would seem to me that while we get a lot of broadcasting companies complaining about indecency enforcement, they seem ... willing to keep the issue at the forefront, keep it hot and steamy in order to get financial gains and the free advertising it provides." - FCC chairman Michael Powell, chastising ABC for opening its Monday Night Football broadcast with a racy ad promoting the series Desperate Housewives.


"I have been to something like 50 gang funerals where the guy in the coffin was no more than 20. The game companies don't see the family crying and the people in the coffin. They don't see the impact this has on our culture. They make or play their games in the studio, but for kids on the street it's a real life."- Terrance Stone youth leader and former gang member on how violent video games such as Grand Theft Auto has glamorized the gang lifestyle


"Just take a look at what Disney's The Incredibles did its first weekend. In two days, it grossed $70 million, and yet a family can't find a half-hour of programming in prime time they can watch together." - Steve Farella, president and CEO of media agency Targetcast TCM speaking about the disconnect between media buyers and voters.


"I find today's remedy totally inadequate. After all the bold talk, it's a slap on the wrist that can be paid with just seven and a half seconds of Super Bowl ad time." - Dissenting FCC Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein in the New York Times, on the $550,000 fine against CBS.


"Regardless of which level kids were at the beginning of this study, watching more sex on TV was associated with a much higher probability of moving up along the continuum."

"It's social learning: 'monkey see, monkey do'. "If everyone's talking about sex or having it, and something bad hardly ever comes out of it, because it doesn't on TV, then they think, 'Hey, the whole world's doing it, and I need to.' "

"Just making small reductions to what kids are exposed to could make a significant difference in how quickly they develop sexually." - Rebecca Collins, PhD, senior author of a new study called Watching Sex on Television Predicts Adolescent Initiation of Sexual Behavior, which appears in the September 2004 issue of Pediatrics.


"Simon is becoming a little cooler because he's catching up with a lot of issues that all my friends are dealing with or have dealt with, much more specifically. All my friends that I've told, 'So on the show this year, I have sex,' they're all like, 'That's awesome, finally!'" - Nineteen-year-old David Gallagher, who plays Simon Camden on WB's famously family friendly 7th Heaven. While the show has dealt with sexual issues before, this season's premiere featured a first: a Camden kid having premarital sex [New York Post, 9/7/04]


"The princess is the last frontier of acceptable girliness. It points to how crazy our times have become that I, as a feminist, am promoting princess culture because, hey, at least you don't have a 12-year-old wearing a thong." - Rachel Simmons, author of Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls and staffer for Empower Project , on Hollywood's recent spate of princess movies [Los Angeles Times, 8/10/04]


"I think it's partly the listeners' fault. Our people are not used to writing letters of complaint, because in the countries they come from, they feel they don't have a voice." - Jerry Velasco of Nosotros, an advocacy group for Latino actors speaking about why Hispanics don't lodge FCC broadcast indecency complaints against Spanish radio stations, LA Times, August 23, 2004.


None of the industry members involved in the study denied that TV affects young viewers.  In the past, the industry insisted that viewing had little or no effect on youngsters. - Stanford professor Donald Roberts commenting on a  study conducted during 2001 and 2002 by researchers at Stanford University in California and Lewis & Clark College in Oregon and by independent researchers which analyzed how TV affects teens and included data from interviews with 45 network executives, producers and writers.


The current skirmish between the FCC, lawmakers and the creative community "causes me a lot of pain. I'm a great fan of freedom of speech, but are Howard Stern and Larry Flynt worthy of that protection? Yes, they are in the broader picture - but worth listening to?" he asks. "I thought that Steve Allen's heart was in the right place when he was trying so hard to get TV to clean up its act in the years before he died." Dick Smothers, Press-Telegram, 4/23/2004.


"This culture is in big trouble. All you see on television are debased images. Whether you believe it or not, black people do not want to see pictures of people wearing bulletproof vests." - Pop musician Prince, Rolling Stone, May 27, 2004, p. 58.


"There's nothing wrong with adults having access to adult entertainment, but there's a problem when kids do." - Author Bakari Kitwana (The Hip Hop Generation), Vibe, July 2004, p. 103.


"I find them too violent. And you'd think sex had just been invented. . . . I don't approve of censorship, but you've got to have stop signs at crossroads." - Veteran special effects movie maker Ray Harryhausen speaking about today's movies, Entertainment Weekly, June 11, 2004, p. 89.


"Things that everyone notices, like the Janet Jackson Super Bowl incident, tend to be overreactions to societal transformations that have already happened. But things that sneak in under the radar, deceptive events that not everyone pays attention to, can be unsettling signposts leading to unsavory change." - Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times film critic, in his review of the R-rated comedy The Girl Next Door, which he describes as a "sanitized and exquisitely titillating portrait of the world of pornography in the cozy sheep's clothing of a teenage movie"


"Mr. Stern's show has created a great liability for us and other broadcasters who air it," said Hogan, who suspended Stern in February from the six Clear Channel stations that carried him. "The Congress and the FCC are even beginning to look at revoking station licenses. That's a risk we're just not willing to take." - President of Clear Channel Radio John Hogan commenting on the decision to drop shock-jock Howard Stern from their radio stations permanently.


"Unfortunately, where music has gone these days, it's really more about sex than it is about intimacy. It would be nice to see us get back to being in love and being intimate as opposed to just having sex."
- R&B producer/singer Babyface


"I know this is going to sound cheesy and like I'm trying to be Miss America, but the most important responsibility a celebrity has is to set an example and be a role model. I want to make sure that no matter how long I go through this, I don't fall into the trap of changing and modifying how I do things that aren't a positive example. I want to remain somebody that the entire family can listen to or watch." - American Idol TV show runner-up Clay Aiken, Reuters, February 22, 2004.


"I do understand that there were a lot of people that were completely offended by what happened, including my own family. And I think that's probably the part that's frustrating the most for me and it's completely, completely, completely, regrettable." - Justin Timberlake's responding about the Super Bowl incident, ABCNews, February 4, 2004.


"We support the creative community, but we have to take into account what's in the culture right now and be sensitive about that." - MTV spokeswoman Jeannie Kedas speaking about the Janet Jackson Super Bowl incident, Associated Press, February 10, 2004.


"The now infamous display during the Super Bowl halftime show, which represented a new low in prime-time television, is just the latest example in a growing list of deplorable incidents over the nation's airwaves." - FCC chairman Michael Powell, Associated Press, February 11, 2004.


"Our culture is obsessed with the people we see on television and watch in the movies." - American Idol host Ryan Seacrest, Entertainment Weekly, January 9, 2004, p. 48.


"God cannot directly intervene . . . Everyone is allowed to say no to God, including Joan . . . God can never identify one religion as being right." - Joan of Arcadia TV show creator Barbara Hall's 10 commandments for Joan's God, Philadelphia Inquirer, November 16, 2003, H10.


"Every Monday at my high school, the girls in my newspaper class discuss the highs and lows from the latest episode. Most talk about how much they want Big and Carrie to reunite; others wonder what the heck Samantha was wearing. Not only do they talk about the girls, some of them have started to look like them. Hip accessories from the show lurk in the hallways at my school. ... I couldn't help but wonder: Where will us teens get our new fashion trends, once Sex and the City ends its six-year run on HBO?"  -17-year-old Washington, D.C., high school student Nadia Saah, writing for USA Today about how influential the sexually explicit cable series has been for teens.


"I was doing all right on 28 bucks a week as a garbage man," he said. "It doesn't matter, stuff like that." - Mel Gibson when asked by Diane Sawyer about the $30 million of his own money that he put into his controversial movie "The Passion of the Christ"


"This company won't be a poster child for indecency." - Viacom President Mel Karmazin ( In a conference call to Infinity Radio Employees after testifying at a congressional hearing on broadcast indecency.)


"...I rant about it in the book, too, about the sort of 'Sex and the City' world. That really bothers me that Samantha, who is one of sickest characters on television becomes a role model...It's such a divorce from reality. I treat Samanthas all the time. They're horrible, miserable human beings who will suffer with their behavior...Then to put her up as a role model becomes confusing, people start to feel flawed. They engage in behavior that's supposed to be cool and good and don't feel right..." - Dr. Drew Pinsky (Dr. Drew from Loveline)


"I'm not sure black folks fully understand the power that media has in our life. We are becoming who they portray us as being. We've allowed ourselves to become a collection of negative statistics. Simon says dress like a gangster, and we do. I'm amazed by what I see on television or in the movies. I'm saying, either I overslept or someone stole my culture." - Actor Tim Reid ("WKRP in Cincinnati"), quoted by the Associated Press on April 18, 2003


"I think that movies or other media may be able to provide the spark for anxiety and consequent violent acting out by teens, although I'm quite skeptical about movies doing this in the absence of other triggers." - Jay Reeve, a senior psychologist at Bradley Hospital in Providence, R.I., on how movies can contribute to (but not solely cause) violent behavior [ABC News Online, 7/10/03]


"I think we've just gotten rid of the whole notion of even a bit of responsibility. You know, there's one thing to be artistic and stuff, but you used to have a conscience about things and a heart about things. ... I'm almost frightened for the kids of today, but I think everybody's kind of just thrown even a little bit of conscience out the window for entertainment purposes." - P.O.D. lead singer Sonny Sandoval


"I don't like the ones that glorify antisocial behavior, like Grand Theft Auto and Vice City. We actually had a rule at Atari, which seems kind of quaint now, that you could blow up a tank, a plane, a car- but you couldn't do violence against a human." - Atari creator Nolan Bushnell, when asked if the graphic nature of today's video games bothered him [Newsweek, 8/18/03]


"TV is the most powerful thing that has ever been invented." - Ozzy Osbourne, USA Today, June 10, 2003, D1-2


"People's misery becoming entertainment, that's what's dangerous. And that seems to be the place we're going. I worry about television." - George Clooney, quoted by Reuters, February 11, 2003


"Clive [Davis] tried to tell me that saying certain words in a song- or as he says, ‘putting some balls into it'- isn't bad, it's just strong emotion. Well, there are certain words and emotions I don't want kids hearing, and I'm not changing because they think it's going to sell better. This is going to sound horrible, but I got 12 million votes doing what I did." -American Idol finalist Clay Aiken, describing pressure he got from RCA to "edge-up" his songs to boost sales [Time, 10/5/03]


"American children, I'm afraid, are addicted to television." - First Lady Laura Bush [Guardian Unlimited, 9/30/03]


"There has been erosion in respect for the media by its guardians, and the proliferation of reality television is probably the best example." - David E. Kelly, creator and writer for ABC's The Practice, discussing the invasion of reality television and its effect on the overall product on television.


"I've been fortunate. I haven't had too many auditions. I slept with all the right people." -Pamela Anderson, in People Magazine.


"Mario will never start shooting hookers!" --Nintendo Senior Vice President of Marketing George Harrison on the "Nintendo Difference" (as quoted in the August issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly)


"The following cartoon is rated CFFA, cartoons for f****** adults; not for kids" -This is the advisory that appears on the screen before TNN airs episodes of its new stripper based cartoon Stripperella.


"What reality TV does is legitimates voyeurism. It allows us to really indulge our prurient interests, our wish to be excited, to be scandalized, to be shocked." - Media analyst Dr. Stewart Fischoff on the 6/25/03 episode of Oprah.


"We're not putting something on because we want to be salacious. We're trying to adapt a wonderfully intelligent, well-written piece of material," NBC executive producer Ben Silverman talking about his new fall show, Coupling, in an interview with Variety.  This "wonderfully intelligent, well-written" production is adapted from a BBC television program.  Scripts have included characters having sex in a bar bathroom, and lines like "one swallow does not a girlfriend make."


 "Basically, the problem is people see our logo, they see hazing. They think we're involved in supporting hazing. We're trying to get the record straight."  Brett Radmin, a co-founder of Greek101.com, asking that his product no longer be used on MTV's Greek Life.


"We have reached a point where we would like to cancel cable and throw out our TV, everything we really like gets canceled." -Rose Marie Shema, 76, of Hendersonville, N.C., in the May 4th USA Today.


 "They are sending a message that they don't approve of the content of those magazines. We defend their right to do that." Nadine Strossen, constitutional law professor at New York Law School and the president of the American Civil Liberties Union on Wal-Mart's decision to pull magazines Maxim, FHM and Stuff from its shelves.


"Television exposure during adolescence has also been linked to subsequent aggression in young adulthood.  A 17-year longitudinal study concluded that teens who watched more than one hour of TV a day were almost four times as likely as other teens to commit aggressive acts in adulthood."  The Kaiser Family Foundation, TV Violence Fact Sheet, Spring 2003


"Well, this is my answer and it is going to be very short: I always find myself going back to the The Weather Channel." - Bill Cosby when asked what he thought of the quality of television today.


"What I'm most proud of is the fact that there's a lot of sleazy shows on television, reality oriented. I'm actually hearing from kids saying they enjoy this show. And it's nice that you can actually have some measure of success without compromising principles. I'm very proud of that." - Talk-show host newcomer, Michael Essany on The Tonight Show, discussing his new show on E!


"Let the FCC take me off the air, I don't care.  Foul language is all around us; porno is rampant and, you know what? The country's running fine.  Bleep the whole g*damned show and get rid of me. My time has passed." - Nationally syndicated shock-jock, Howard Stern, upset that the FCC is considering strong action against radio shock-jocks who go too far.


"They're great kids!  That's the trouble, they're great kids. If they were criminals like the kids on American Idol we'd get more press." - Arsenio Hall, host of Star Search, making a comment about why his show is not getting the ratings Fox's American Idol is getting


"I turned the television the other night. I saw these people in "Fear Factor" being put through torture for prize money. Flipped the remote and I saw these has-been celebrities in a boxing match beating on each other. Here is an idea. How about we find twenty women willing to chase a man for his money, defraud them and then we watch them one by one get rejected.... We all love watching other people suffer, don't we?" - Jeri Ryan's character, Ronnie Cooke on the Fox show Boston Public, where Ronnie is defending two boys who paid bums to fight each other for a video they were making.


 "Its sad to see kids today- they're sitting around listening to hip-hop or new metal, with a Sony Playstation, and a bong. It's a whole culture." - Jack White, lead singer of The White Stripes


"Considering that foul language is in most movies and music that teens listen to, it doesn't surprise me if a girl swears. It's just a part of teen speak." - Darren, 17 years old from New York, answering the question "How do you feel about girls who swear?" in the spring issue of Teen magazine.


"I'll take my clothes off for some chocolate and peanut butter." - SURVIVOR: AMAZON contestant Jenna Morasca, during an immunity challenge shown March 26. Series producers happily obliged, producing a plate of peanut butter and chocolate cookies. Jenna, along with fellow exhibitionist Heidi Strobel, promptly stripped. (Editors blurred the women's chests and pelvis) The show aired at 8:00pm.


"The game actually worked out better than expected. We had the best time out there: naked chicks, yeah! Pizza, yeah!" -SURVIVOR: AMAZON contestant Alex Bell, not even slightly disappointed that he hadn't won the challenge.


"When you act with your clothes on, it's a performance. When you act with your clothes off, it's a documentary. I don't do documentaries." -Julia Roberts, on why she will not do nude scenes


 "You want (him) naked?" He pressed a button to record, then said, "You've got him." - producer Jamie Schutz, of New Line Cinema's The Real Cancun, asking head editor Ben Salter, as a cast member stepped from the shower if they wanted a naked shot of the cast member.


"We worked really, really hard to make it incredibly realistic… So hopefully the audience will think it could happen to them or that it could be your neighbor who could, you know, be a psychotic maniac." - 7th Heaven star, Jessica Biel, describing her new movie, titled The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.


"Well here's a nice story. Our good friend, Mel Gibson building his own Catholic church, building a Catholic Church in Malibu...I'm coming in this morning, they were talking about this on one of the talk radio shows, about Mel Gibson building this church, and one of the guys on the talk show said, 'Mel must have lost his mind.' Don't you love this town? You drug an underage girl, you have sex with her, you flee the country, you get an Oscar. You build a church, 'What are you nuts?! What, are you out of your mind, pal?!'" - Jay Leno, in his monologue from 3/25/03.


"My mom wouldn't even let me sing 'Strawberry Wine' because it said 'wine' in it and I was this little kid. She protected my image. And that's not the only reason why I don't dance around like a ho onstage, but it definitely has something to do with being brought up with tons of morals. And I'm not saying I'll never write a song with a curse word, because there's definitely been times when it's like, 'Aww, man, "f---" would sound so good there!' But then I think about my mom, and how it would probably hurt her. So I just say 'frig' instead." - teen rocker Avril Lavigne on the influence of her mother [From Rolling Stone, 3/20/03 -- quoted in Plugged-In magazine's Culture Clips]


"No doubt, Ms. Heaton will be seen as very uncool, but it's nice to know that someone in Hollywood has the guts to speak up for some minimum public standards." [Wall Street Journal, 1/20/03] The article discussed Heaton's exit from the American Music Awards because of the "onslaught of lewd jokes."


"The wonderful thing about the American public is that they'll make a very clear choice whether they want to watch Ed playing what may be the most iconic cop in the history of television- or a warm family drama about the drug dealers killing your children." [Dick Wolfe, creator of Law & Order, Washington Post, 1/18/03] Wolfe was referring to NBC's Kingpin that is set to debut on February 2, 2003. The drama focuses on a Mexican drug cartel.


"We watch [reality TV] to see people suffer excruciating embarrassment. In the still-new multichannel universe, many kinds of cruelty are passed off as entertainment; perhaps if this were ancient Rome, the feeding of Christians to lions would be televised so as to make it available to a wider audience." [Washington Post, 1/8/03] 


"TV is the single most significant factor contributing to violence in America." -Ted Turner


"The only people who dispute the connection between smoking and cancer are people in the tobacco industry. And the only people who dispute the TV and violence connection are people in the entertainment industry." - TV researcher Dr. Leonard Eron of the University of Michigan


"Maybe I'm getting conservative in my old age, but I think a lot of what's on television is worthless…The reason I come to this conclusion is because I have an 8-year-old girl, and my whole outlook on life has changed…My daughter is on lockdown. There are certain stations she can't even turn on." -John Tesh, former host of Entertainment Tonight


The one thing you learn over the years with broadcast standards is there's no such thing as broadcast standards. The standard is anything you can get them to let you do." -NYPD Blue producer Steven Bochco [Hollywood Reporter, 8/23/02]


"Also, [I got to see] the impact the show has on young people, which can be scary. One of the most terrifying things I've had happen was meeting a 7-year old girl in a grocery store who said, ‘I thought it was so funny when your roommate danced naked on The Real World.' Until you experience that, you really don't understand the impact that television has on kids."- Matt Smith, of The Real World New Orleans, on phoenixnewtimes.com August 29, 2002


"We thought it was high time somebody in the family make television appropriate for children." -Sarah Jessica Parker, on The Late Show with David Letterman, July 17, 2002, referring to husband Matthew Broderick's starring role in ABC's remake of the classic musical, The Music Man


"My wife and I went to see We Were Soldiers, the new Mel Gibson movie.  It's not very good, I'm afraid, and it is probably the most graphically violent film I've ever endured (having been a professional film critic for most of my career, I've seen quite a few).  The  most grotesque moment was probably seeing a soldier's head illuminated from within by burning phosphorous, and his GI buddy having to knife the burning flesh away from his face to put out the fire.  Trust me, there's 90 minutes of gruesome material like this.  And in our theater, there was a woman sitting near the front row with a three-year-old girl, taking it all in.  As we left the theater, my extremely distressed wife asked the idiot woman if she thought it was a good idea to take a young child to that kind of movie.  ‘No,' the fool said, ‘but the other movie I wanted to take her to was sold out."  And some people wonder why kids these days are so messed up.' - Rod Dreher, in National Review Online.


"...there was no music to inspire Cain killing Abel, and that kind of set the tone for the rest of mankind. Man is violent by nature, and he doesn't need inspiration for what he's going to do...For me...if I have aggression, I'll put it into a song. I think that's a good thing. That's what art is..."
-Shock rocker Marilyn Manson in response to people tying him to the Columbine tragedy.


At a London press conference, Grammy-winner Lauryn Hill said her fellow musicians should clean up their lyrics. "I have a son who is coming up on two, and he repeats absolutely everything we say. Parents don't want their kids to hear bad language," she said.

Rachael Leigh Cook (She's All That) is concerned with the responsibility Hollywood studios have when making films. In an interview for this Sunday's USA Weekend, she asks Hollywood "to make scripts with a moral storyline. If you show irresponsible characters doing terrible things, get the repercussions in there."


"What is inexplicable to me is how anyone with a brain would write, direct or participate in a film that promotes violence. They have a clear image of what a civil society is like. Why not spend your career promoting that vision rather than working against it?…The tragedy is it's the irresponsibility of artists that invites the government to take a position on artists. Freedom from censorship is very recent and fragile, and if you abuse it, you lose it."  -David Puttnam, producer of Oscar winning Chariots of Fire, in the July 11 Los Angeles Times.


"I'm telling you there are children who are affected by those images, where those images take root and bear bitter fruit and change them, and desensitize them to the consequences of violence and make them more likely to commit it themselves…It is time for parents to reclaim the living room, the neighborhoods, the schools, the lives of our children, and the culture." -Vice President Gore, in a July 15 speech to the NAACP's annual national convention.


"Frankly, we're in a profane world… I may have lost focus a little bit. I have kids. I have Hollywood kids. I mean, a Hollywood eight is 23 in Minnesota years…"- Chris Thompson, excusing the profane and offensive content in his Fox series Action


"I think there's no doubt that music is a great emotional companion and when you introduce words into a person's psyche - with all the emotion that music can bring - you're affecting the human condition." -Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul, and Mary, speaking of the power of music in reference to the musical preferences of the Columbine killers, from a story posted on CNN.com.


"Who knows what will happen by the time this movie comes out in the year 2001? Maybe it will seem tame." -Universal studio executive musing on his studio's reportedly ultra-gruesome film Hannibal.


"When I invented [the movie ratings] system…it was not to placate [movie] critics - it was to protect parents. I haven't heard from a single parent who said, ‘Gee, I wish you'd kept that orgy in there.'"
-Motion Picture Association of America president Jack Valenti, on those who have assailed the ratings system for its "deeply chilling effect" on artistry - specifically, for causing Warner Bros. to edit a sex scene in Eyes Wide Shut so that the film would avoid an NC-17 rating.


"Anyone who thinks the media [have] nothing to do with [youth violence] is an idiot," said CBS President Les Moonves in the May 19,1999 Washington Post.


"The evidence is overwhelming. To argue against it [the link between media violence and teen violence] is like arguing against gravity," said Jeffrey McIntyre, legislative and federal affairs officer for the American Psychological Association, in the May 9, 1999 New York Times.


 

"That's why we have parents. Otherwise, kids would be saying, ‘Oh, The Matrix- I'm going to watch that over and over.' It really is up to them to decide what their children go see, because it's up to the adults to decide how their kids will turn out and how they should teach their kids what to do." - Phantom Menace star Jake Lloyd to E! Online when asked how kids would know what they should watch.


"I told the director, ‘Don't hold back,' when he shot [the two violent] scenes. I thought it would sell better if it pushed the envelope. Today, I certainly wouldn't have done the same. Violence doesn't sell."
-Mark Johnson, producer of the CBS mob drama Falcone, left off the fall schedule because of post-Columbine concerns over media violence. The show reportedly will debut at midseason. (August 30, 1999, Electronic Media)


"The one thing Hollywood never shows, is the aftermath of real violence- when someone gets shot, that someone is paralyzed, that these people have families. There's no one, unless they're totally isolated, who isn't affected by that."  -Robin Williams in E! Online


"The obsession to reach younger people at the expense of all others is killing network TV and it's killing advertising… This entire scenario is probably based on a phony premise - that it's too difficult to influence older people's buying preferences. So advertisers don't even try. They're willing to bet the ranch on an unproven theory. It's not exactly 21st century thinking." -Advertising Age editor in chief Rance Crain, in the September 13 issue of his newspaper.


"Now the reason is my children, but back then it was my father.  He would have disowned me.  My dad would have killed me." -Michelle Pfeiffer on her policy of not appearing nude in films in the Hollywood Reporter weekly.


"What amazes me is that HBO is more [sexually] explicit with its show Real Sex than we are in anything we have on Playboy TV." -Jim English, president of Playboy Networks Worldwide, in July 30, 1999 Cablevision.


"As the envelope is pushed further in the pursuit of ratings, audiences demand redder and bloodier meat." 
- University of Pennsylvania professor Larry Gross in the September 1999 Details


"If a connection can be made, say, between crime and certain movies or between fatherless children and certain music, must society just bear it? Does artistic expression or aspiration or pretension trump every social calamity?" -New York Times critic Walter Goodman, in his review of the American Movie Classics documentary Censored!


"The real impact is not so much that violent images create violent behavior, but that they create an atmosphere of disrespect. The kid who sees a violent movie and imitates what he sees is very unusual, but we're seeing pushing, shoving, and hitting among children occurring with increasing frequency. It's a subtle shift, from 'Have a nice day' to 'Make my day.'" -Dr. David Walsh, president of the National Institute on Media and the Family, on the consequences of media violence.


"People fear power when they don't have it or don't have as much of it. And this fear is why governments put restrictions and quotas on American films, and why Congress blames the film industry for violence in the country. In reality, it is not possible to influence good people to do bad things and it is probably easy to influence bad people to behave more badly." -Hollywood Reporter editor-in-chief and publisher Robert J. Dowling in the December 1999 Hollywood Reporter Influence of Hollywood issue.


"Klebold and Harris do not seem to have been inspired by Hitler, as early theories in the press suggested, but by a desire to see their stories told in a Hollywood movie." -The Washington Times on the motivation for the Columbine killers.


"The only thing that seemed to grow out of the ‘60s was the vulgarity of humor. That vulgarity has crept into the movies, and they would love to have it on television if they could get away with it."-Charles Schultz, creator of the Peanuts comic strip, in a 1984 Milwaukee-Journal interview.


"If you want your kids to be more sarcastic, more aggressive, more disrespectful, there are plenty of shows to teach them that. But what if you want your kids to be more forgiving or more kind? That's what motivated us...If you can tell a story that improves people's lives and cracks them up, you can get people to pay for things that make them better people. That's an amazing business model."-Phil Vischer, creator of VeggieTales, an animated children's video series that teaches moral and Biblical lessons, in  Entertainment Weekly.


"Sometimes I get asked, 'Do you feel responsible about what you put out lyrically?' or 'What are your thoughts on censorship?' I've always said, based on my own head, 'Give people the benefit of the doubt. Give them credit to think for themselves.' Nobody has the right to say, 'Hey, I'm telling you what you can and cannot see, because I know better than you.' That's ridiculous. I feel, 'Yeah, empower the individual.' And then you turn on the news and you see some new idiot who kills kids in a church, and my argument goes out the window. It's troubling." -Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails in the 12/30/99-1/6/00 Rolling Stone.

"[Sex scenes] always really disgusted me. I mean really disgusted me. But I loved this script, so I went and did a nude scene...It's the '90s - everyone's seen a pair of tits."-Actress Thora Birch on receiving her parents' permission to shoot risqué scenes for American Beauty when she was 17, in the December 21-27 Hollywood Reporter weekly edition.

"I cannot smoke, drink or go to the karaoke. I must present a good image. I want to be like John Wayne -[a] film person that people admire and respect."-Jackie Chan, in the November 30-December 6 Hollywood Reporter.

"The evidence shows that consistent exposure to stories and scenes of violence and terror can mobilize aggressive tendencies, desensitize some and isolate others, intimidate many and trigger violent action in a few."-George Gerbner, Violence and Terror in the Mass Media, reprinted in the Vancouver Sun.

"I haven't been hooked on any sitcoms lately. They're kind of scraping the bottom of the barrel for material."-Ninety-one-year-old Buddy Ebsen, best known for playing Jed Clampett on The Beverly Hillbillies, in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The heads of major corporations will have more impact on the values of people worldwide than the heads of government."
- TV producer Norman Lear on the influence of media in the future in the January 25-31 Hollywood Reporter weekly edition.

"As documented in [Robert Bork's book] Slouching Towards Gomorrah, those who suggest there's no connection between what our kids see and hear and how they act are dead wrong. Studies show a direct, causal relationship between the violence portrayed in movies, magazines, and music and violent behavior. However, common sense should suffice.

"Billions of advertising dollars are spent each year on the premise that behavior will be impacted. As noted by Bork, music 'is being used everywhere to create attitudes - armies use martial music, couples listen to romantic music, churches use organs, choirs, and hymns. How can anyone suppose that music (plus the images of television, movies, advertisements) about sex and violence has no effect?'" - Hank Hanegraaff, writing on "America's Media Culture Breeds Dangerous Youth Cults," in the January issue of Christian Research Report.

"With so much pop culture aberrance, so many conflicting signals, so much hypocrisy, so much public and government endorsement of same and so few willing to do anything about it, how in the world are parents supposed to raise decent, fair-minded and respectable virgins in this country?

"If you complain about these things to the media or the entertainment industry, they shove the First Amendment in your face. They may be right about the freedom of expression thing, but I don't want to hear these hypocrites on national TV complaining about violence, hedonism and cultural rot if they're not willing to accept at least partial responsibility and tone their messages down. . .

"Too many parents are willing to be scapegoats for this rotted cultural sewer we live in. We shouldn't accept that, especially when we know we're trying to do a good job with our kids, but get slapped down at every turn by officialdom and irresponsible, hypocritical people." - Jon E. Dougherty, writing on "How Can Parents Raise Virgins These Days?" in WorldNetDaily.

"I've always felt that, as an entertainer, my job is to tell a story and make people feel things, which may not always mean taking the moral high ground. If a teenager can't discern right from wrong or fiction from reality, I'm pretty confident that it has little to do with whether he or she watches Buffy or plays aggressive video games and more to do with the fact that society has failed to teach him or her how to make those distinctions." 
-Sarah Michelle Gellar, star of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, rejecting entertainment's role in youth violence, in an editorial in the March issue of Cosmopolitan

"...If you're going to be on television, since it is such an influential medium, I think it's very important that you set a good example and be responsible."-Jenna Elfman, accepting her award for Best Actress in a Comedy Series at Sunday night's TV Guide Awards.

"...It's a thrill, and I'll tell you what else is a thrill... to have families watching television together again in the same room."
-Regis Philbin, accepting the award for best TV Game Show for Who Wants to Be a Millionaire at the TV Guide Awards.

"One serious question: Should ABC have scheduled this at 8 o'clock? [Shannen] Doherty attracts a youthful audience, and the film deals with student cults in a way that some impressionable young minds might find enticing. The production company is Spelling Television, hardly known for high moral standards, but still, you'd think ABC programmers would have thought twice."- Washington Post television critic Tom Shales, in his review of the made-for-TV movie Satan's School for Girls.

"It was a disaster. They had these kids drinking down in Jamaica, girls drinking beer out of guys' bellybuttons, many of them looked underage - and, OK, so there were no drugs, but please. Then they said, 'Brought to you by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America.' It was almost like they were trying to get us. It was that bad."- A staffer at Ogilvy & Mather, the ad agency handling the media campaign for the government's Office of National Drug Control Policy, on why MTV no longer runs their anti-drug ads.

"You can only control it to a certain degree, because parents have kids sleep over and some parents aren't as watchful. It's not only from the standpoint of R-rated films or sexuality. It's for presenting things in a way that is insensitive: the lack of compassion, the lack of generosity...I just don't want her to see films where the sexual situations are cynical or where women are demeaned."- Candice Bergen, on her fourteen-year-old daughter's exposure to today's movies, in an interview with Us Weekly.

"Blaming Hollywood is like taking a high-powered rifle out to a field and shooting a cow. The cow is just standing there - mooo! - and bam! I mean, we're just trying to make money, trying to get people to see our product by giving them a good time and they take that rifle and say, 'It's your fault,' and shoot us."- Producer Joel Silver (The Matrix) attempting to absolve the entertainment industry of responsibility for what it produces, reprinted in the April 25-May 1 Hollywood Reporter weekly edition.

"By exaggerating problems instead of illuminating them, television makes the solutions harder to find and risks creating a society that is more afraid of its children than concerned for them." - TV critic Robert Bianco on television's neglect of appropriate programming for children, in the May 12 USA Today.

"Well, you certainly have a point when you talk about a censorship that seeks to 'prevent your thoughts' from getting out. But what you want to do on our message board is not give us your thoughts but give us your vulgarity. It may come as a surprise to you, but you can express a thought on any subject, including sex, without spewing forth the 'F' word. Now, on your message board or Web site or soapbox you are free to use those words...But you cannot do it on our message board any more than I would allow you to do it at my dinner table. There is no First Amendment right that says people must listen to your use of vulgarity if they choose not to. We choose not to. Have a good day." - ABC's Sam Donaldson, in response to someone who used profanity on Donaldson's message board at ABCNews.com.

"Although we can dismiss such pseudo-reality shows as nothing but commercial entertainment, there lurks in them a ubiquitous dumbing down of taste as well as moral judgment. We rely not on suspension of disbelief as we would in theater, but on a suspension of moral awareness as life passes before us."- Syndicated columnist Suzanne Fields on the problems of current reality-based TV, in the Washington Times.

"Number one, they're hot. Number two, they don't talk sex or drugs. Number three, they don't use swear words. They're good, clean fun."- Sixteen-year-old Kori Koppany on why she likes 'N Sync, to the Washington Post.

Roger Ebert, one of the country's best-known film critics, recently accused the Motion Picture Association of America of treating parents unfairly.  The following is an excerpt from his discussion with Charlie Rose (The Charlie Rose Show, 8/7/00) on the merits of summer success Scary Movie: "What I was a little startled by was the fact that it was really a raunchy, raunchy movie.  It was really hard R, and a lot of parents, I think, were kind of surprised when they got their kids in there.  And I mean, you know, theoretically with an R-rated movie you're not supposed to take kids in.  And there were genitals and other stuff in there.  I mean some of the little six-year-olds were kind of startled by some of the stuff they were seeing on the screen…[T]he MPAA will not come through with a genuine ‘A' rating for adults only, and so we have more and more of this stuff being put into the art category, and that's not fair to parents, I don't think.

"It stands to reason. That's what R means, restricted. You're restricting the audience. But I'd hate for this somehow to cause a chilling effect on the artistic process." -Movie-industry analyst Paul Dergarabedian, reacting to a finding that the average PG-13-rated summer '99 release made $35 million while the average R-rated summer '99 release made only $20 million, to the New York Times.

"Then there are…questions that the program doesn't raise but somebody ought to ask: What is the link between violent lyrics and sales?  And isn't it odd that MTV is producing a program on this subject?  After all, like many recent pop superstars, Eminem owes much of his success to MTV's endorsement, which comes in the form of much airplay." - Alona Wartofsky, on the hypocrisy of an MTV special report, When Lyrics Attack, which addressed the connection between violent lyrics and violent behavior, in the Washington Post.  (If you didn't know, on his album Eminem fantasizes about raping and killing his mother and murdering his wife.)

"We were there to make a TV show--sex and violence! Duh! They want it, they got it."
- Survivor contestant Greg Buis, when asked by Bryant Gumbel if his on-screen relationship with fellow contestant Colleen Haskell was real or not.

"I know the ludicrous search for the edge that seems to obsess all of Hollywood today.  My joke is, what do you have to do to have edge credentials anymore, die?  Is snuff the only thing left?…If there's a battle of filth going on right now- and there may be- I'm not against it, but I'm not a participant.  There are no more sexploitation, gore, or blaxploitation movies…The reason you had those movies was because Hollywood wouldn't do them.  Well, Hollywood does all that now."- Director John Waters (Cecil B. DeMented) voicing his disdain for Hollywood in the September 8th issue of Entertainment Weekly.

"There was a time when the airwaves were a public trust, and the television code was enforcing it. People were worried about losing their licenses. Today, if there's a real difference, the line is being drawn almost exclusively by the advertising industry. [If] advertisers are willing to buy time on shows with more risqué content, they will go ahead and [sell] it." - David Stanley, producer of Comedy Central's The Man Show, in the Los Angeles Times.

"I don't think it's the government's responsibility to regulate what's made, it's the parents' responsibility to regulate what a child sees or does. We took Nintendo out when we realized Tom was up to level five on Star Fox. I made the decision to take the Eminem album out of the house after I listened to the whole thing....I have chosen not to let my daughter have the Internet in her room -- if she wants to go online, she has to come downstairs into a common room so my husband and I can see what she's doing....Is my daughter allowed to see horror movies? Absolutely not." - Actress and parent of two Jamie Lee Curtis, on parental responsibility, as reported by IMDb.com.

"I think the thing that comes across so often to our young people is the idea that if someone disrespects you, violence is the best solution. By the time you're 21, 22 years old, you've probably seen between 20,000 and 30,000 people blown away on your TV set…. At some point, the tide needs to turn a little bit." - Tom Osborne, former head coach of the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers and current candidate for Congress, on what he calls "the unraveling of culture," in the October issue of George.

"Television's ways are often mysterious, so the strategy behind this anatomical orientation by NBC and CBS -- on comedies highly accessible to the very young crowd -- is anyone's guess. Especially now, just as the entertainment industry is being widely pummeled again for its sex-and-violence behavior, this time by both major presidential candidates, members of Congress and the Federal Trade Commission, to say nothing of much of the public. How shrewd of the networks to rebut their critics by validating them."- TV critic Howard Rosenberg, on the new sitcoms Tucker (NBC) and Yes, Dear (CBS), in the October 2 LA Times.

"Despite all of the posturing, nobody is addressing the real problem with Hollywood: It's not the violence at all, but the message of moral relativism.... When Dirty Harry killed, he may have been defying the legal order -- but he was still confirming the moral order.... Action heroes from Perseus to Captain Kirk have always taken the law into their own hands; they are men of action, with a well-defined sense of moral right.... Violence in popular entertainment, then, has a complicated history; it's neither new nor especially harmful. What really is new is the trendy moral relativism that characterizes so many movies and TV shows."-Jonah Goldberg, in the October 23 issue of National Review.

"It would be an odd conception of the First Amendment ... that would allow a state to prevent a boy from purchasing a magazine containing pictures of topless women in provocative poses, but give that same boy a constitutional right to train to become a sniper at the local arcade.'' - U.S. District Judge David Hamilton in his ruling that Indianapolis' ordinance banning minors from playing coin-operated, violent or sexually explicit video-games without parental permission could take effect.

"Entertainment moguls and media mavens persist in producing 'product' that pleases few and turns off most. The industry has convinced itself that the only appropriate marketing strategy is one that taps into the lowest common denominators. Unable to grasp the full spectrum of mass-market emotions, needs, and desires, it plays to the dark edges of society's baser instincts with violence, vulgarity, action, fake sex and real stupidity. As a result, there's little in the way of music, movies, and mass entertainment for 'the rest of us.' And that's why people stay away."- Gerald Clente, from Mass Market: They Still Don't Get It, in the fall Trends Journal.

"Of course, there should always be guidelines to protect children. But the best guidelines should come from the family. The best way to show disapproval is by not supporting bad movies. Bad movies are made because they make money. If people stopped supporting these movies by not going, they would cease being made." - Actor James Caviezel (Pay It Forward), to Crosswalk.com, on movie studios marketing violent movies to children.

"I feel television has died. It's such a make-the-doughnuts mentality. It's about finding 48 minutes of material so you can have 12 minutes of good commercials. If they thought they could get good commercials out of 10 people being naked and spinning on their heads in the middle of an island, that's what they'll do."- Hill Harper (City of Angels) in TV Guide Online, about the current quality of television programming.

"Kids today. So desensitized by movies and television."
-The Grinch (played by Jim Carrey) in the movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas, after unsuccessfully trying to scare a small child.

"Isaac Hayes has banned his fourteen grandchildren from watching South Park. The soul legend fears his sex-mad character Chef will be a bad influence on them." -Dominic Mohan, in the British newspaper, the Sun.

"This is the first PG-13 movie I've done and I do have this following of really young girls… I've done some movies where there's heavy sexual content and it's nice to do something less so. Also, it's good not to feel like you're contributing to the poisoning of youthful minds."- Actor Ryan Phillippe about his current movie, the thriller Antitrust, in the Toronto Sun. Phillippe was the star of the sexually charged Cruel Intentions and last year's ultra-violent The Way of the Gun.

"Television, with [the racy NBC sitcom] Just Shoot Me and with all these different shows, it's really a divisive tool in my household, so I'm very thankful that there are people…who are willing to take the gamble…and put things forth in front of my family that we can all watch, hopefully, together one day."-John Schneider, who played Bo on The Dukes of Hazzard and now is one of the executive producers of ITV TV's Christy, during the recent television critics' tour, as quoted in the Washington Post.

"Having a fourteen-year-old sister, I see what she's watching - all these teenyboppers portrayed as promiscuous and their parents are fools, idiots. I don't understand the argument that it has no impact. I don't know how anyone can say that. Because you're so impressionable. I still am." -Twenty-one-year-old Broadway actress/singer Laura Benanti, a Tony award nominee last season, on today's TV and movies, in the New York Times. 

AF: "Hey, you know what? Thoughtful and quality didn't pay off second season. You know, let's just..."
GG: "...bring out the sex and violence."
AF: "Bring out whatever you can."

-Felicity's Amanda Foreman and Greg Grunberg, to TV Guide Online, on what it takes to get good ratings.

"His schedule revolves around his [television] shows. When I put him to bed at night he has to have the TV on…I am concerned because he's five years old and he'll be starting kindergarten in September and I worry that we won't get him to bed on time because he's obsessed with his shows." - Robyn Minnette, on her five-year-old son Dylan, on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

"I really believe that we do damage children by the messages we show them when they're too young."-  Marshall Herskovitz, co-executive producer of Thirtysomething

" I do believe that network television does not need to join that bandwagon [of striving to mirror cable programming], we need to put on good quality shows with interesting characters that have surprising stories."- Ted Harbert, President NBC studios

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