Censorship

The Gallup/Pat Boone Poll on TV Violence

|

Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va) wants to legislate away television violence:

"I fear that graphic violent programming has become so pervasive and has been shown to be so harmful, we are left with no choice but to have the government step in," Rockefeller said at a meeting of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

"To be blunt, the big media companies have placed a greater emphasis on their corporate short-term profits than on the long-term health and well-being of our children," Rockefeller said.

Full story here.

The legislation is, of course, supported by the Parents Television Council, the anti-fun pressure group headed by the red-bearded avenger, Mr. L. Brent Bozell. Head over to the PTC website and make your voice heard by filling in the 2007 Pat Boone TV Decency Survey. No, seriously. Sample "question":

2) I believe television content today is offensive and dangerous to children. There is too much sexual content, foul language, vulgarity and violence. The problem is getting worse! Agree? Disagree? Undecided?

Syndicated columnist Cal Thomas wonders why his fellow conservatives would support such government intrusion into the marketplace:

It might be worth it if other avenues were not available to parents to control what their children watch, but those avenues exist in abundance. Parents can turn off, or even get rid of the TV; they can make use of the V-chip, now a part of all newer TV sets; they don't have to subscribe to cable or satellite TV; they can make use of the imperfect ratings system or they can monitor what their children watch.

It amazes me that some conservatives who preach against "big government" control of our lives think nothing of rushing in to ask big government to control our entertainment choices.

NEXT: The Redondan People Will Not Submit

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Thanks for posting the link to that survey. I only agreed with #9, and I think that anyone that disagrees with #10 will automatically have their survey excluded.

    But thanks for posting it.

  2. What a wonderful country we live in. I just don’t know how I would manage without Dems like Rockefeller to protect me from all the things that could harm me.

    God Bless America!

  3. Where’s that picture of Uncle Nelson flipping the bird to some heckler? I can’t find it right now, but that’s what I have for you today, Jay. I thought you’d appreciate it more coming from family.

    I have deal for you: you don’t worry about my kids are watching and I won’t worry about your over-privleged shitheads spawn who probably had little-to-no adult supervision growing up other than withering glares from the help.

  4. It amazes me that some conservatives who preach against “big government” control of our lives think nothing of rushing in to ask big government to control our entertainment choices.

    And the light bulb slowly begins to burn over Cal’s head…

  5. > “To be blunt, the big media companies have placed a greater emphasis on their corporate short-term profits than on the long-term health and well-being of our children,” Rockefeller said.

    Corporate short term profits — they are a curse on the children!

    (paraphrased from here)

  6. I used my throwaway email address to complete the survey. It will be interesting to see if it generates BooneSpam.

    Sage, ditto on 9.

  7. Why does Reason consistently single out Democrats for criticism on this issue, when it is mainly a Republican issue?

  8. It amazes me that some conservatives who preach against “big government” control of our lives think nothing of rushing in to ask big government to control our entertainment choices.

    Umm what conservatives would those be?

  9. I dunno joe, maybe because a dem is pimping it this time? Ya think?

    ——————

    “Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said he will push legislation in the coming weeks to limit violent content in the media….”

    “Others on the panel, including ranking minority member Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, were unenthusiastic.

    “I think we have to tread a lot softer than you indicate,” Stevens said. He said he was concerned about First Amendment implications of any legislation and the possibility that Congress might overreach and pass a law that would be invalidated in court.”

  10. Joe,
    It was on the AP wire and I blogged it. Please continue reading and note that I also took a swip at a conservative. There is, alas, no conspiracy.

  11. No, Sen. Stevens wasn’t concerned about the first amendment, but rather about the fact that he can’t funnel money to Haliburton subsidiaries nominally run by Eskimos in this legislation. If an Alaska Native corporation could be in charge of vetting content at six times the going rate for censors, he’d be all for it.

  12. Great picture of Bozell . I never read anything without pictures, so that was a pleasant surprise that kept me reading…and reading….for minutes!.

    And then I finished.

    And then I filled out the survey.

    LOL for “I Disagree”! Clearly it is for show?.unless the robots have something more nefarious in mind. ?hmmm?

  13. Why does Reason consistently single out Democrats for criticism on this issue, when it is mainly a Republican issue?

    That’s right, it wasn’t Clinton who wanted the Vee Chip and it wasn’t Tipper and Al who had these guys standing tall while somebody was taking names and kicking ass over rock lyrics.

  14. JW,

    I only see this issue get press here when it is a Democrat pimping it, despite the fact that Democrats don’t do most of the pimping. That’s my point.

    It would be like only reporting on Congressional opposition to the Iraq War when Chuck Hagel and Gordon Smith say something.

  15. I’m fairly sure I’m not theonly one who sees a resemblece between L. Brent Bozell and William Atherton.
    http://movies.aol.com/celebrity/william-atherton/2687/biography

    And the light bulb slowly begins to burn over Cal’s head…

    SPD – Yeah, I was surprised as well.

  16. TWC,

    And in both cases, the Democrats involved were lauded for their “bipartisanship” by Republicans, while being assailed from the left.

  17. It might be worth it if other avenues were not available to parents to control what their children watch, but those avenues exist in abundance. Parents can turn off, or even get rid of the TV; they can make use of the V-chip, now a part of all newer TV sets; they don’t have to subscribe to cable or satellite TV; they can make use of the imperfect ratings system or they can monitor what their children watch.

    This oft-repeated sentiment misses the point – nobody is saying that the government needs to step in because they can’t control what their own children watch in their own homes.

    The question is more about the effect of media on society in general; or you might say, other people’s kids.

  18. Don’t mess with Pat Boone; you can see him win a pushups contest against Tony Randall and Jack Klugman on the first season “Odd Couple” DVDs. Boone keeps himself in good shape.

    http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/read.php?ID=27656

  19. Untermensch – No defense of Uncle Intartubes intended, but even the Dark Prince of Anchorage can use his powers for good sometimes.

  20. joe–I get your point and agree that there is plenty of blame to go around on both sides.

    I can’t speak for Reason, but maybe your filter is off a tad. I can’t imagine them giving a free pass to a censor just for the “R” after the name. If I had time, I’d do a search.

  21. Don’t mess with Pat Boone; you can see him win a pushups contest against Tony Randall and Jack Klugman on the first season “Odd Couple” DVDs. Boone keeps himself in good shape

    I could take him down.

  22. I used my throwaway email address to complete the survey. It will be interesting to see if it generates BooneSpam.

    If you do end up with BooneSpam a little Simple Green and a Scotch-Brite pad will clean it right up.

  23. Why does Reason consistently single out Democrats for criticism on this issue, when it is mainly a Republican issue?

    John, quit whining.

    😉

  24. I think the logic is exactly backwards. Any parent that can’t control their child’s TV viewing is a danger to society.

  25. If you do end up with BooneSpam a little Simple Green and a Scotch-Brite pad will clean it right up.

    I’m so embarrassed.

  26. “The question is more about the effect of media on society in general; or you might say, other people’s kids.”

    I see what you mean – lots of these folks are probably willing to turn off the TV (or not even have one) when it comes to their own kids, but they always imagine other people won’t do the same thing. To which my response would be twofold:

    1) Why do you imagine other people don’t turn off their TV’s for their kids the same way you do for yours?

    2) If other people DON’T care what their kids watch on TV, why should YOU care what their kids watch on TV? (Mind your own business, in other words.)

  27. Just took the survey, and found some interesting quirks.

    Question 1: I’m a parent. So far, this is easy!

    Questions 2-8: I disagree.

    Question 9:

    I will avoid buying products from companies that sponsor indecent and obscene programming aimed at children and I will encourage my friends and family to do likewise.

    Okay, this one, alone among the survey questions, I could agree with. If Thomas the Tank Engine mounts Gordon from behind and violates his… umm… coal tender, then yes, I’ll sure as hell avoid buying any merchandise advertised on the program. Somehow, though, I don’t think that’s what the survey writers have in mind.

    Question 10:

    I am doing more than just voicing my concerns. I am joining Pat Boone in lending my name to the Parents Television Council’s volunteer grassroots movement of parents, grandparents and concerned citizens fighting to help restore safe, family-friendly TV programming.

    I disagreed with this one. I don’t want them pretending I’m with them on their obnoxious crusade to rid the airwaves of stuff I like.

    So I fill out my name, email address, and city and state, and hit “Submit.” Lo and behold, here’s the response I get:

    By completing your Survey, you have “enlisted” in the Parents Television Council’s volunteer grassroots movement of parents, grandparents and concerned citizens fighting to help restore safe, family-friendly TV programming.

    Hey! I just told you I didn’t want to be part of your club!

    Miserable fuckers. Now I wonder: is my name going to be used as politician chum even though I specifically declined to sign on to their aims? Beware, survey filler-outers! Beware!

  28. 7) Too many television programs portray parents and other authority figures such as clergy and police in a strongly negative light, and often present crime, substance abuse and irresponsible sexual behaviors as if they had no negative consequences.

    Are these fucking people fucking kidding me? Police, parents and clergy are rarely portrayed in a negative light. And what shows are they watching during “childrens hours” where crime and substance abuse are shown as having “no negative consequences”? I’m not sure what they mean by “irresponsible sexual behaviors” having no consequences unless they mean that all sex depicted should result in pregnancy or disease 100 percent of the time?

  29. Yeah, you gotta be careful about filling out polls for groups you disagree with. I filled out one that the Brady Bunch put out. I disagreed with everything they said, but I still got added to their email list.

  30. Jake Boone – Thanks for the heads up. I mean that.

  31. Oh, and don’t forget, survey-takers:

    fakemail@myballs.com


  32. 2) If other people DON’T care what their kids watch on TV, why should YOU care what their kids watch on TV? (Mind your own business, in other words.)

    I guess the answer to this one is that the well-being of the children in the community is our business. The way kids are being raised as at least an indirect effect on what society is going to be like when they are adults.

  33. Dan T. said:

    …nobody is saying that the government needs to step in because they can’t control what their own children watch in their own homes.

    “I fear that graphic violent programming has become so pervasive and has been shown to be so harmful, we are left with no choice but to have the government step in”

    You were actually making some decent, non-troll points on previous threads, Dan. Would it be too much trouble to ask you to RTF first paragraph on this one?

  34. Crap. That second quote should have been prefaced with “Sen. Rockefeller said”. Maybe I should have RTF preview window.

  35. “Next on ’24’ — Jack Bauer averts tragedy by giving a terrorist a warm puppy!”

  36. …the well-being of the children in the community is our business.

    Even if I were to give you that one, hasn’t the theory about violent/sexual TV affecting people’s behaviour in real life been pretty well debunked?

  37. Police, parents and clergy are rarely portrayed in a negative light.

    Except on The Simpsons. One reason of many to watch the show.

  38. Police, parents and clergy are rarely portrayed in a negative light.

    Someone hasn’t seen Micheal Chiklis in The Shield

  39. Actually Kevin, I think Dan’s point was that people have a “it’s not me, it’s them” syndrome. Or I could be wrong. Regarless, I think that point is accurate.

  40. Along those same lines, people want to know that someone else’s child isn’t plotting to kill their child (or them) because they got the idea from watching some unwholesome programming on television.
    It’s based on a misguided and irrational fear, but it is certainly the reasoning that people use to argue that what other peoples kids watch is, in fact, their business.

  41. “It amazes me that some conservatives who preach against “big government” control of our lives think nothing of rushing in to ask big government to control our entertainment choices.”

    It amazes me that that amazes you. The conservative who wants to impose his or her values on everybody else is hardly something new. What planet are you from again?

  42. I, too, gave them an email address and my name. I responded to the contact email they gave me with this

    Sirs/Madams:

    Did you read the answers I left on your survey?

    If you wish to use my name in any fashion, I demand that you make it clear how I answered your questions. I demand that you make it clear that I do not support you in any way.

    I am saving this email and am prepared to contact my attorney if I see that my name has been used without adherence to my stipulations.

    Thank you,

  43. “I guess the answer to this one is that the well-being of the children in the community is our business. The way kids are being raised as at least an indirect effect on what society is going to be like when they are adults.”

    Which is why most people here would probably agree that children in abusive home situations should be removed (by the state) from those homes. But the government regulation of TV content is going too far. First, no one has conclusively proven that watching violence on television hurts children or makes them violent in the first place. The theory that “society” is affected is a weak one. At most, it may only affect the individuals who watch those shows, and it probably doesn’t even affect them. Secondly, where does it end? Is the government going to regulate how much sugar you feed your kids, too?

    Everyone has different views about the proper way to raise kids, and there are a thousand and one opinions about who is a good parent and who is a crappy one. I’m an atheist, so if I had kids, there are people who would think I was a crappy parent for not taking my kid to church. I think some parents micromanage and overschedule their kids, and some don’t spend enough time teaching them to read. Bottom line is, you just have to stay out of other people’s business. You don’t have to like the way they raise their kids, but you’ll appreciate the freedom you have to raise your own as you see fit.

  44. Someone hasn’t seen Micheal Chiklis in The Shield

    I have, but it’s one show, on cable, and outside the time frame the PTC is typically talking about. I doubt that there’s much audience overlap between The Shield and Blue’s Clues.

  45. Seriously, we need to get a whole bunch of people to sign a petition saying there’s not enough sex and violence on TV and submit that to congress.

  46. No 6 o’clock news for my kids. Too much violence. No TV political debates allowed in my house, don’t want the kiddies more dumbed down. Mama don’t ‘low nothin’ that ain’t healthy, educational, spiritual or libertarian ‘ceptin’ Playboy and then only for the articles.

  47. Hell, why don’t we just enact legislation that prevents dumb people from having kids in the first place??

    /see: sarcasm

  48. Bozell is a traitorous scumbag.
    For him to advocate legislation that bridges free speech is unforgivable.
    I have lost all respect for the stain.

  49. “One expects government regulation and control during a Democratic administration, but a Republican administration is supposed to be dedicated to the free market.”

    From the Cal Thomas link above

  50. And in both cases, the Democrats involved were lauded for their “bipartisanship” by Republicans, while being assailed from the left.

    Yes, but the point is, Joe, that you painted this as strictly a Republican taint, which it isn’t.

  51. Seriously, we need to get a whole bunch of people to sign a petition saying there’s not enough sex and violence on TV and submit that to congress.

    Clinton did that already about a decade ago. He lobbied for the V-Chip and lo, look what we have, just what any sane person warned back then: more sex and violence on TV, preceeded by a “Hey asshole! Look at the rating this thing has! Are you sure you want your kid watching this show with mature subject matter, violence, sexual situations and brief nudity”

    God bless ol’ Bill. Without him, FX would be nothing and my Tuesday nights would be wanting after House goes off at 10.

  52. I guess the answer to this one is that the well-being of the children in the community is our business.

    Keep your fucking village away from my kids. I own firearms.

  53. I went to see how much BooneSpam I got today and discovered that I was on the decency list. Just like my good buddy High Number. Wow, what a coinkedinky.

    In other news, I also got an email from Lorri Jean at the LA Gay & Lesbian Center that John Edwards had come calling. Apparently all the candidates were invited but John was the only one who responded to date. You don’t suppose that skinny blond chick was right? Do you? :0)

    Surprisingly enough, John Edwards would not commit to the idea of gay marriage………

    Is what it means to attempt a thread hijack?

  54. The PTC is a 501(c)(3) research and education organization.

    Which means they are prohibited by law from lobbying for legislation.

    He said he was concerned about First Amendment implications of any legislation and the possibility that Congress might overreach and pass a law that would be invalidated in court.

    Being concerned that the First Amendment might screw up your censorship isn’t the same as being concerned about the First Amendment.

    I’m not sure what they mean by “irresponsible sexual behaviors” having no consequences unless they mean that all sex depicted should result in pregnancy or disease 100 percent of the time?

    They mean that married couples are shown in the same bed instead of two twin beds like in the good old days.

    I fear that graphic violent programming has become so pervasive and has been shown to be so harmful, we are left with no choice but to have the government step in

    Not. I remember how many people used to get shot and killed on the average Western c1960. And if you really want to get rid of graphic violent programming, cancel the 10:00 PM Eyewitness News.

    I guess the answer to this one is that the well-being of the children in the community is our business. The way kids are being raised as at least an indirect effect on what society is going to be like when they are adults.

    So Dan T doesn’t need the legislation, but votes for it because he thinks all those other parents do. All those other parents don’t need the legislation, but they vote for it because they think Dan T does. We end up with lots of unwanted legislation no one needs.

    Did you read the answers I left on your survey?

    Note PTC didn’t even publish the results of the “survey.” I wouldn’t be surprised if the only information collected was the address.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.