November 10, 2005
-- by Gary Boatwright
Cross posted at MyDD.
Barak Obama comments on a study about "sex and television" in a L.A. Times article, Television Awash In Sex, Study Says: The report says 70% of shows include sexual content. The number has risen over the years.
The conclusion of a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation was dire:
More than a year after federal authorities launched a crackdown on broadcast indecency, television remains so awash in sex that 7 in 10 episodes include some kind of racy content, a study released Wednesday shows.
The results from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation also found that the number of sexual scenes in sitcoms, dramas and reality shows nearly doubled since 1998, while depictions of abstinence or "safe sex" were on the wane.
As Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council says:
[T]he Kaiser study underscored the belief among many parents that television was having a coarsening effect on their kids.
"It's not the same today as when I was growing up and parents left their kids in front of the TV to watch 'Captain Kangaroo,' " Perkins said. "The sex depicted on television does have an effect on kids. If we are what we eat, then we become what we watch."
Or in other words, sex on television is hastening the end of western civilization as we know it. Not a moment too soon if you want my opinion, but Barak Obama is piously concerned:
Results were unveiled at a Washington news conference *attended by Sen. Barak Obama (D-Ill.), Fox Networks Group President Tony Vinciquerra and Federal Communications Commissioner Kathleen Q. Abernathy*.
Obama called on television broadcasters to improve their program ratings system by making content advisories more prominent on the TV screen. He also said TV executives should make it easier for parents to locate family-friendly shows.
"If the industry fails to act — if it fails to give parents advanced controls and new choices — Congress will," Obama said.
That's pretty strange company for a Democrat to be keeping. Is Barak getting *The Memo* from the Right Wing Noise Machine?
The Kaiser Family Foundation's study revealed some alarming statistics:
Kaiser's sample found 3,780 scenes with sexual activity, compared with 1,930 seven years ago when it first examined the issue. In that report, 56% of the shows studied included sexual content, compared with 70% today.
Breaking down the numbers by genre on broadcast television, the study found that 91% of comedies had sexual content, compared with 87% of dramas, 73% of newsmagazine shows and 41% of reality programs
And the staff reporters for the L.A. Times make sure to frame their story with this little tidbit:
The government has been cracking down on broadcast indecency in the wake of singer Janet Jackson's breast-baring incident during the halftime show at the 2004 Super Bowl.
One main concern of legislators is whether the proliferation of sex on TV is contributing to teenage pregnancy. Last year, a Rand Corp. survey of 1,792 adolescents found that teens who watched a lot of sexually suggestive TV shows were almost twice as likely to have sex earlier than teens who didn't.
We all know how horribly deformed the national psyche of America's children became from a split second exposure to Janet Jackson's bare breast. Not to mention all of the adults that TIVO'd it and watched it dozens of times to generate the appropriate level of outrage.
I did pause for a second to ponder what kind of controls the Rand survey used. How old were their 1,792 adolescents? How many sexually suggestive shows did they watch over how long a period of time before they decided to engage in sex? Were the adolescents evenly divided between males and females? Did the Rand survey have some sort of controls to adjust for the tendency of teens to exaggerate their sexual exploits? Were sexually suggestive television shows the only variable that could have influenced the children who were watching more of the shows and at some indeterminate later date deciding to engage in sex?
I also decided I must not be watching enough television, or at least not watching the right shows. I have totally missed the explosion in sexual content on network television. Where are my viewing habits going wrong? Then I ran returned to the beginning of the article to re-read the defined hurdle for classifying a television show as "sexually suggestive":
However, the study found that overt sexual activity and references were far less common than talk about sex, and many of the activities it tallied consisted of banter, kissing and touching.
Banter, kissing and *touching*? Are you kidding me? Touching is consider sexually suggestive? Did they include sexually suggestive leers from which viewers could infer impure thoughts? How did the "experts" define sexually suggestive? Sombody help me out here. Is it just me or is the Kaiser Family Foundation setting the bar ridiculously low for anyone to get concerned? Aren't the conclusions everyone is drawing from this study extremely tenuous?
I would love to see how sexually suggestive episodes of Happy Days would be using the same criteria.
I also have a question or two about this conclusion:
Only 10% of the shows depicted or implied sexual intercourse, the study found.
That sounds pretty tame to me. Which shows "depicted or implied" sexual intercourse? In how many of that 10% figure was sexual intercourse actually "depicted" and which network shows actually "depicted" sexual intercourse? What is the standard for "implying" sexual intercourse?
I'm sorry, but anyone who is offended by anything on network television, aside from the gratuitous violence, is a complete and total putz. Barak Obama is a putz of the first order.
Update: I couldn't get a comment to post, so I am adding this at the end of my article:
Maybe some people should not be parents. Allow me to suggest that any parent whose parenting skills are inadequate to compete with the sexual banter on network sitcoms should consider working on their parenting skills.
This study and Barak Obama are turning a failure of parenting skills into an ideological witch hunt. And Obama will probably have Hillary chiming in on his side at her earliest opportunity.
I listened to O'Reilly for a few moments the other night trying to turn Prop 73 in California, about parental notification of teenage abortion, into an issue of undermining parental authority. I'm calling bullshit on this whole witch hunt for sexual purity from teenagers.
If parents are incapable of discussing simple sexual banter on network television with their children, they should put them up for adoption. Some people are not capable of raising pets, let alone children. Don't put the blame on network television or Democratic "values."
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Obama is a putz. I never caught the Obama bug. Thought "The Speech" was a lame, dime-a-dozen offering of cliches, not particularly well-delivered. I don't get the Obama thing, never will.
No one who favors Fascist Censorship like this can have my support.
Posted by: The Fool at November 10, 2005 2:05 PM
aising kids is not difficult because of television. Raising kids is difficult because raising kids is difficult.
Television or Hollywood or Liberal Values or taking God out of the Pledge of Allegiance are just excuses in the right wing blame game.
If anyone is having difficulty raising their kids they should stop blaming outside factors and take a look in the mirror. How much time are you spending with your kids? How much of that time is quality time? What do you discuss with them? How do you discuss those things with them? Do you treat them like they were intelligent, autonomous human beings?
Two key stats are missing from this study: 1) what percentage of televisions constructed today come with an off switch? and 2) How many parents still have conversations with their kids?
Posted by: s. mojo at November 10, 2005 7:02 PM
As a putz myself I am offended by this article. Barack Obama can only bring well needed integrity and class to we putzes.
Please be more tolerant.
Posted by: Mark Spittle at November 10, 2005 9:05 PM
(1) Just about every contemporary device that tunes or selects video channels has some form of V-chip or similar filter. If you're worried about what your kid sees, use it.
(2) Barack Obama can only bring well needed integrity and class to we putzes. It's the objective case -- to _us_ putzes. Putz!
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