When TV Urges Us To Root For The Killer

Written by PTC | Published May 29, 2014

This past Friday, while an emotionally disturbed young man was on a murderous rampage on the grounds of the University of California’s Santa Barbara campus, NBC was showing a man being disemboweled by a serial killer, and a woman’s throat being graphically slit open for “entertainment.” Haven’t we seen enough real-life bloodshed and senseless violence? Why, just months after Newtown, did the broadcast networks see fit to debut not one, not two, but three new dramas with serial killers as the protagonist? Dr. Park Elliott Dietz, a forensic psychiatrist and criminologist who has consulted or testified in many of the highest profile US criminal cases, including Jeffrey Dahmer, the Unabomber, and the Beltway sniper, has said “We’ve had 20 years of mass murderers throughout which I have repeatedly told CNN and our other media, if you don’t want to propagate more mass murderers… Do everything you can not to make the body count the lead story, not to make the killer some kind of anti-hero.” But that’s exactly what the networks are doing. They’re making psychopaths out to be heroes. Evil is good and black is white. And while we’re not trying to draw a direct connection between what happened at UCSB and Hannibal – there is, to be sure, no direct documented connection that we are aware of -- the social science on the connection between media violence and real world violence is overwhelming. NBC recently announced that they are renewing Hannibal for another season, despite consistently low ratings. Already the show has been moved to Friday nights, where the networks put low-performing shows. And although Hannibal debuted with respectable ratings – 4.36 million viewers – it finished its second season with only 2.35 million. Over the next few months, advertisers will be making millions of dollars in ad commitments to the networks. It's time for those advertisers to consider whether the content on Hannibal is consistent with the image they are trying to project. If they endorse gruesome violence, bloodshed as entertainment, and ruthless killers as heroes then that’s the message they will be sending when they buy ad time on Hannibal. This content was paid for by: Serta Simmons Holdings, LLC (Comfor Pedic) Gary Fazio, CEO 1 Concourse Pkwy, Ste 800 Atlanta, GA 30328 770-512-7700 Canon U.S.A., Inc. Joe Adachi, President and CEO 1 Canon Park Melville, NY 11747 631-330-5000 Pennzoil-Quaker State Company Jay Calbert, Chief Information Officer 700 Milam St., Ste 125 Houston, TX 77002 713-546-4000/ 713-546-6314 American Frozen Food Institute Kraig Naasz, President and CEO 2000 Corporate Ridge, #1000 McLean, VA 22102 703-821-0770 Target Corporation Susan Kahn, SVP Communications 1000 Nicollet Mall Minneapolis, MN 55403 612-304-6073 Nissan North America, Inc. (Infiniti) Carla Bobadilla, Senior Vice President Research and Development 1 Nissan Way Franklin, TN 37067 615-725-1000 Verizon Communications, Inc. John Stratton, EVP and Chief Marketing Officer 140 West Street New York, NY 10007 212-395-1000/212-571-1897 Dyson, Inc. Jim Rowan, Chief Operating Officer 600 W Chicago Ave., Ste 275 Chicago, IL 60654 312-469-5950 Blinds To Go Stephen Shiller, President 101 E State Rt 4 Paramus, NJ 07652 201-441-9260/732-906-0888 Kia Motors America, Inc. Michael Sprague, EVP Sales and Marketing 111 Peters Canyon Rd Irvine, CA 92606 949-468-4800/949-470-2809 A.J. Richard & Sons, Inc. Gary Richards, President and CEO 150 Price Pkwy Farmingdale, NY 11735 631-843-4300 Select Comfort Corporation (Sleep Number) Shelly Ibach, President and CEO 9800 59th Ave N Minneapolis, MN 55442 763-551-7000/763-551-6888 Capital One Financial Corp Richard Fairbank, Chairman, President, and CEO 1680 Capital One Drive Mclean, VA 22102-3407 703-720-1000 Unilever United States, Inc. Edward Daniker, Executive Officer 700 Sylvan Ave Englewoods Cliffs, NJ 07632 201-894-4000 Sprint Corporation Kevin Packingham, Senior Vice President Product 6200 Sprint Pkwy Overland Park, KS 66251 855-848-3280 Chrysler Group LLC Olivier Francois, Chief Marketing Officer 1000 Chrysler Dr. Auburn Hills, MI 48326-2766 248-576-5741 Microsoft Corporation Steven Ballmer, CEO and Director 1 Microsoft Way Redmond, WA 98052-6399 425-882-8080/425-936-7329 Simmons Bedding Company Gary Fazio, CEO 1 Concourse Pkwy, Ste. 800 Atlanta, GA 30328 770-512-7700/770-392-2560 The Men's Wearhouse, Inc. Randall Burell, Marketing Manager 6380 Rogerdale Rd. Houston, TX 77072 281-776-7200/281-776-7038

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