Broadcast TV Violence: As Bad As Cable – But Rated for Kids

Written by PTC | Published February 18, 2014

thevissue_logo3(3rd in a Series about Media Violence) In a desperate attempt at damage control after the Newtown and Aurora shootings, entertainment industry executives met with Vice President Joe Biden in January of last year. They emerged from the meeting claiming they have a “longstanding commitment to provide parents the tools necessary to make the right viewing decisions for their families.” After allowing the networks a year to make good on their statement, in December 2013 the PTC analyzed content to see how well the networks upheld their “commitment.”


We found that violence on the worst shows on broadcast TV is no different from that found on violent cable shows. Violent broadcast shows exposed kids to guns or bladed weapons every three minutes – as well as deluging the public airwaves with programs containing graphic bloodshed, like Revolution, The Blacklist, Supernatural, Criminal Minds, Sleepy Hollow, CSI, and Law & Order: SVU. These shows contained the most graphic and grisly violence, including child molestation, rape, mutilation/disfigurement, dismemberment, graphic killings and/or injuries by gunfire and stabbings, violent abductions, physical torture, cannibalism, burning flesh and suicide. Broadcast TV Study


Shows containing that kind of violence on basic cable are rated TV-MA (mature audiences only); but every single one of the shows named above was rated TV-14 – appropriate for 14 year old children! The PTC has previously demonstrated the total failure of the TV ratings system; but this study proves that broadcast TV is just as bad as cable. This new study also found: - Based upon shows included in the study, there was only a 6% difference between the amount of violence on cable shows compared to shows that aired on broadcast television. - On broadcast television a bladed weapon or gun appeared on screen every 3 minutes. - Children watching 4 episodes of Revolution during the fall of 2013 were exposed to an average of 91.5 acts of violence per episode. That is equivalent to a child seeing one act of violence every 39 seconds. - Revolution — a broadcast show rated TV-14 — had more violence than all of the TV-MA cable shows in the study. With this proof that violent broadcast TV shows contain similar levels of violence as cable shows and yet are rated differently, it is clear that that Hollywood has maneuvered the entire ratings system to be intentionally misleading and it now requires a massive overhaul.


TV ratings today only benefit Hollywood’s cash flow, not parents trying to protect their children. And TV programming today is more violent than ever– as we will show in our next report. SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS BELOW!

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