Council President Tim Winter Discusses New “Women in
past weekend in Richmond, Calif., there was a horrific
gang rape of a 15-year-old girl who was leaving her
homecoming dance. Police called it one of the most
heinous crimes they’ve ever seen. They haven’t even
determined how many times the girl was raped.
ago a high-profile celebrity allegedly beat up his
high-profile girlfriend. And sadly, she is now
releasing a song about suicide.
routinely we hear about a pro athlete beating up a
girlfriend or a spouse or a fan. We even hear of
football coaches beating up one another.
think that these are just ad hoc examples of random
violence. The nation is gripped by a culture of
Countless millions of dollars and human effort is being
poured into violence abatement and intervention, be it
at the local, the state, the federal or the
international level. But something even more powerful
is working to undermine the noble work being done on so
of media violence is hitting the public like a tsunami.
And according to the weight of medical experts, the
effect is particularly devastating to children.
all seen the research: 3,500 studies have looked at the
relationship between media violence and violent
behavior. Only 18 of those studies failed to find a
relationship between the two. And of those 18, some
were underwritten by the entertainment industry; and
some were performed not by medical experts, but by
past, the Parents Television Council has undertaken its
quantitative and qualitative content analysis of TV
violence from a “macro” level. This is the first time
that we sharpened our focus on a “micro” level where we
look at the victims of violence as a particular theme.
has been part of entertainment for literally thousands
of years. But the manner in which violence is being
depicted on television today is more graphic, more
gruesome and more frequent.
50,000 foot level, let me cut to the chase: Our
research shows that, while violence in general on
primetime broadcast television has remained relatively
unchanged over the past five years, the instances where
females are portrayed as victims of violence has
increased by a very troubling amount – 120%. And
instances where teenage girls are portrayed as victims
of violence is up 400%.
be very clear about the findings: The raw number of
instances is not what I would consider to be of epidemic
proportions. Thirty instances of a female teen as a
victim do not an epidemic make. But what is beyond
sobering to me is the trend the data is showing.
say sobering, I mean it with every fiber of my being. I
say it not just as a parent of a 12-year-old daughter; I
say it not just as someone who has important women in my
life who have been victims of sexual violence; and I say
it not just as a person who happens to be president of
the Parents Television Council. I say it out of grave
concern for what is being impressed upon a whole
generation of American children.
know what specific role media violence played in the
horrific rape of the girl up in Richmond last weekend,
but I believe a media environment saturated with
violence is having a devastating effect. And we don’t
even know yet what the impact of all this media violence
will be on today’s children as they grow into adults.
sincere hope with this particular study is that the
industry – and the advertisers – will look at the data
and be as shocked as I was. This trend must not
actually believe the industry will hear our clarion call
great pride in the fact that the PTC has helped
advertisers to become more attuned to the nature of the
content that their media dollars make possible. I cite
for example the announcement by Microsoft this week not
to sponsor the Seth MacFarlane special on Fox.
MacFarlane himself will, I hope, reflect on the data of
our study. Much of the comedic violence against women
exposed by our report was created by him. And as Tom
Shales wrote a couple weeks ago in the Washington
Post, it is a “hypocritical myth that his shows are
cartoons for adults…Cartoons, if aired at an hour when
they are easily accessible, always attract children; and
MacFarlane's leaden efforts are no exception.”
Nicole Kidman testify just last week before the Congress
about this issue, and we hope that her peers – both men
and women – will follow her lead in refusing to take on
roles where graphic media violence raises a potential
for harm to the public.
you’re going to be asking me if the PTC will be calling
on the Congress and the FCC to step in and regulate.
You’ve heard me say this before and I will say it
again: If the industry does not do better, then our
last remedy is for government involvement – at least
where they have the regulatory authority to do so.
believe a private sector solution is realistic on this
one. I believe that this data, showing this very
disturbing trend, will be something carefully considered
by the Hollywood creative community and by Madison