(4th in a Series about Media Violence)
After the Newtown and Aurora shootings, entertainment industry executives talked about their “longstanding commitment” to helping parents protect children from media violence.
And how did one such network — NBC — fulfill that promise?
They gave America a TV series in which a psychotic serial killer is the HERO!
Based on the character Hannibal “the Cannibal” Lecter from the movie The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal slavishly adheres to the pattern established by the ultra-graphic and bloody TV series Dexter -- a quirky, charming, and highly intelligent individual with whom they are supposed to sympathize, and who just happens to be a psychopathic murderer. Like Dexter, Hannibal commits his murders (nearly always, of young, attractive women) in “creatively” unusual ways – but unlike Dexter, Hannibal then EATS HIS VICTIM’S FLESH!
More Misrated Violent Programming on Broadcast TV
There are other differences. Dexter appears on Showtime, a premium cable network – meaning that those who want to watch the disturbing and graphic show not only have to subscribe to cable or satellite TV, but have to pay an extra, additional fee to be able to see it.
By contrast, Hannibal is shown on the broadcast airwaves – airwaves owned by the American people, which come into every TV set in America free of charge. And unlike Dexter, Hannibal is rated as being appropriate for a 14-year-old-child!
Why on earth did NBC think that American families wanted to see a TV series with a cannibalistic serial murderer as the hero? Sure, a tiny number of niche viewers might subscribe to a cable channel with a show like that…but what rational network head would conclude that such programming is appropriate for THE WHOLE FAMILY – ON THE PUBLIC AIRWAVES?
More Broken Promises as Networks Continue Glamorizing Violence
Some people like to say, “murder has always been a subject in fiction.” That is true; but until very recently, the murderer was considered to be the villain, and murder itself was a bad thing. Today, however, the entertainment industry takes tremendous pride in making even the most blatant and disturbing evil appear charming and delightful.
Here are a few examples of the kind of content shown on a previous episode of Hannibal:
- A corpse is seen, its shirt soaked with huge bloodstains. The corpse’s dead eyes stare sightlessly upward.
- Will kneels on the mutilated corpse. It’s arm reaches out and grabs Will, still alive. Its jawless, fleshy mouth moves as it tries to speak.
- Will breaks opens a car trunk. Inside is the corpse of a woman, buried in dirt, with a respirator taped in its mouth.
- A man shoots a police detective in the head. Blood sprays everywhere.
- Will has a flashback to the previous episode. He sees Hobbs, a criminal he shot in the chest repeatedly. Hobbs' corpse is shown lying on a kitchen floor. Blood gushes from a knife wound in the neck of Hobbs’ teenage daughter Abigail.
- Will shows a photo slide to his forensics class. Viewers see the body of a naked woman lying face-upward, her corpse impaled on stag antlers.
This is the kind of content NBC thinks is totally acceptable for the publicly-owned airwaves, at 9:00 p.m. Central/Mountain…and which the network rates as appropriate for 14-year-olds. The program returns this Thursday, February 28,— more proof that the networks have no interest in upholding their “longstanding commitment” to protect children.
UP NEXT (in Media Violence E-Series #5)
Worst of all, Hannibal is not the only such misrated show polluting the broadcast airwaves. Other shows are as bad, or even worse…as our next report will show.
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS BELOW!