Most viewers are troubled more by violence on TV than by profanity or sexual content. Vulgar language is being embraced faster than we think. There are dirty words, and plenty of them, on prime time TV. (Pennington, 1999) Prime time is also saturated with sex more explicitly than ever. Lusty scenes, partial nudity, free discussions of issues like the president’s oral sex, all show the media's general relaxation of sexual guidelines. There are a few subtle influences contributing to the loosening of broadcast content on television, including: staff cutbacks, which reduce departments responsible for enforcing programming standards; network executives who compete to attract the most talented writers by allowing more creative leeway; writers who resist the shackles placed upon them while competing against pay-TV shows which operate under virtually no content-restrictions. However, the more pertinent reasons for television's increasing boldness in language, violence, and sexuality involve society's steadily increasing overall permissiveness in each of those areas.
How did television get so vulgar? The answer can be seen by looking at 3 main factors. First...
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...may be more of a campaign issue politically in the next election in 2004.
Aucoin, Don (1999) "Almost Anything Goes - TV Turns Airwaves A deeper Shade of Blue" Boston Globe 23 Sept., 1A.
Graydon, Royce (1999) "Fit To Watch?" Star Tribune 24 Sept., 1E.
Levin, Gary (1999) "Primetime Lives on Edge With Nudity, Sex" The Detroit News 13 Oct., 5B.
Lowry, Brian (1999) "Television: Adjusting the Off-Color Contrast" Los Angeles Times 1999 Sept., 4.
McGuire, Mark (1999) "Chicago Hope Pushes Censorship Envelope With Profanity" The San Diego Union-Tribune 18 Oct., 2E.
McKay, Betsy (1999) "WWF Clamps Down on ‘Smackdown!’" New York Times 30 Nov., 14B.
Pennington, Gail (1999) "The Following Story Is Rated TV-MA (For Mature Audiences Only)” St. Louis Post 23 Oct., 3F Editorial (1999) .
"Letters Page" Denver Rocky Mountain News July 27, 1999, 33A.
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