PTC Study Tracks Violence In Primetime

The Parents Television Council released data on media violence collected from all primetime broadcast programs that aired between Jan. 11 and Feb. 11, following Vice President Joe Biden’s meeting with the industry in January. During the one-month study period, of the 392 shows examined, 193, nearly half, contained violence; 121, almost a third, contained violence and guns.

A four-week study of broadcasting’s primetime programming a month after the Newtown shootings found that nearly half the shows contained violence and nearly a third contained gun violence.

“[H]ollywood continues to be deaf to the cries for ending a media culture awash in blood,” said Tim Winter, president of the Parents Television Council, the group that conducted the study.

Representatives of Hollywood and broadcasting met with Vice President Joe Biden on Jan. 10 to discuss the role media violence may have played in the Newtown shootings that took the lives of 20 school children and six school staff.

“Within hours of walking out of the White House meeting, the broadcast television networks had turned on a fire hose of graphic violence, saturating living rooms across the nation with guns and gore,” Winter said.

PTC examined 392 programs aired on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and the CW between Jan. 11 and Feb. 11 and found that 193 contained violence and 121, gun violence.

“Every network aired programs that contained violence and gun violence, but CBS, CW and Fox had the highest percentage of programs with gun violence at 54%, 48% and 29%, respectively. Those three networks also aired the highest number of scenes containing violence and gun violence,” Winter said.

BRAND CONNECTIONS

“Every single program that contained violence or gun violence during the study period was deemed to be appropriate for children aged fourteen or younger. ABC and NBC failed uniformly to provide a ‘V’ descriptor for violence.

“The entire broadcast industry is built on a business model of advertising. Corporate sponsors spend billions of dollars every year to advertise their goods and services on the broadcast networks, and their sole purpose is to influence the behavior of the viewer. The ability to influence the behavior of the viewer doesn’t end when the commercial break is over and the program starts. And sadly today’s primetime programming is awash in violence — especially gun violence.

“With hundreds — if not thousands — of scientific research reports linking a child’s media consumption with their behavior, the findings of this research are sobering. And remarkably, the data provided here reflects Hollywood acting on its ‘best behavior’ following a high-profile meeting with the vice president.”

Winter added: “The notion that the entertainment industry is somehow being ‘responsible’ with the volume and degree of violence it is producing and distributing is laughable. The industry must come out from behind its armies of lobbyists and do the right thing by exercising real responsibility for the content it produces and distributes – especially when using the publicly-owned airwaves.

“We call on leadership in the Senate and in the House to hold hearings on the issue of media violence and on the issue of the content ratings system, and its accuracy, consistency, transparency and accountability to the public,” Winter concluded.

Methodology
All primetime broadcast programming that aired between Jan. 11 and Feb. 11 were analyzed. Original programming and reruns were included. Specifically, analysts counted:

  • Total number of shows
  • Total number of shows containing violence
  • Total number of shows with violence and no V-descriptor.
  • Total number of shows with violence and guns
  • Total number of violent scenes
  • Total number of violent scenes with guns

Key Findings
During the one-month study period, there were a total of 392 shows that aired on the broadcast networks in primetime. Of those 392 shows, nearly half (n=193) contained violence (49%); and almost a third (n=121) contained violence and guns. (Note: Data excludes all forms of ‘mild’ violence, such as medical violence, verbal threats, and the appearance of weapons without an act of violence.)

Within the 193 shows that included violence and that aired during the study period on the broadcast networks in primetime, there were 934 individual scenes of violence. Of those 934 individual scenes with violence, there were 305 individual scenes that included guns. Therefore, 33% of all violent scenes included guns.

Every program was rated TV-PG or TV-14, meaning that the television networks determined every single program to be appropriate for a child aged 14 or younger. The “V” content descriptor was present on 84% of the shows that contained violence.

Data Chart 

Network 

Total # of
Shows

Total # of
Shows
Containing
Violence

Total # of
Shows w/
Violence
and No V-
Descriptor

Total # of
Shows w/
Violence
and Guns

Total # of
Violent
Scenes

Total # of
Violent
Scenes w/
Guns

CBS

92

57

0

50

322

131

ABC

91

27

15

16

98

37

NBC

82

37

11

10

118

13

Fox

83

49

3

24

188

44

CW

44

23

0

21

208

80

 

392

193

29

121

934

305


Comments (0)

Leave a Reply


More News