Thursday, April 28, 2005

And still another message to "The Parents Television Council". RE: The V-Chip and the TV Ratings System.

Once again as I said before, "When I started writing this column, it wasn’t to be an anti "Parents Television Council" forum".
CHILD OF TELEVISION: My message to "The Parents Television Council".CHILD OF TELEVISION: Another message to "The Parents Television Council". RE: Crossing Jordan
CHILD OF TELEVISION: And another message to "The Parents Television Council". RE: TIME Magazine "The Decency Police"

Recently the PTC has released two editorials the first one was "The V-Chip is No Magic Pill". No where in the article does it mention a flaw with the technology with the V-chip. L. Brent Bozell sites two reasons as to why the chip is useless,

"For starters, most parents have no idea how this V-chip works, or know that their TV set even contains one. A survey done by the Kaiser Family Foundation discovered that only 15 percent of parents they surveyed have used the V-chip. Many of the survey's respondents (39 percent) didn't realize that their new TV sets were equipped with a V-chip, while others (20 percent) knew they had a V-chip, but haven't used it".

The PTC should use their web site to educate parents on how to use the V-chip. I can sum this us with, "It's a poor workman who blames his tools" It was parents groups who insisted that we have TV ratings and the V-chip. Finally, as I said in CHILD OF TELEVISION: "V" is for Chip.

"Parents are outraged over the fact that little Timmy mastered the V-chip faster than they did, but find it funny that little Timmy can open Mommy’s child proof bottle of Prozac when Mommy can't figure out the child proof cap herself. So something that could kill little Timmy takes a back seat to a TV show".

L. Brent Bozell's other point is,

"More important, however, is what the industry knows but isn't saying: the V-chip is worthless. Even if parents know how to use it, for the V-chip to be effective in blocking programming, it needs to identify the content descriptors listed at the beginning of the program -- such as "V" for violence, "L" for harsh language, "S" for sexual material, and "D" for sexual dialogue."

This proves that there is no problem with the chip itself. His issue is with the ratings system and the fact that the networks pick the rating for the show. Forgive my skepticism, but since there is an ongoing battle between the morality and children's advocates who want to see more restrictions, and the creative talents, who by their nature will want to express their creative freedom, push the envelope and defend their First Amendment Rights. I would like to see some examples as to why you think the ratings system is useless.

Ask and ye shall receive.

L. Brent Bozell followed up with "PTC Study Finds TV Ratings System A Failure". Where he said,

"The ratings system is a failure and consequently the V-chip, which depends upon reliable ratings to work, also is a failure. It cannot be relied upon to consistently and accurately block offensive programming since parents can't rely on the ratings to identify potentially offensive content," (Again this proves that there is no problem with the chip itself.)

The PTC study (That looks like a PTC Commercial) is very detailed and may have some valid points, but I have to question the credibility of the people who put the study together since the PTC has a specific agenda. One reason for me questioning the study comes from this April 18, 2005 Reuters article PTC: Nets' ratings mislead "The TV ratings are meaningless," said PTC President Brent Bozell.

"Most television programs showing foul language, violence and inappropriate sexual dialogue or situations do not use the appropriate content descriptors."

Here is one of the examples.

"It cited censored profanity on ABC’s "America's Funniest Home Videos," which had a PG, or parental guidance, rating but no language warning."

If the un-scripted profanity is censored, then why does it need a warning? The PTC study has many examples of un-scripted censored profanity like this (many on Reality Shows) padding their statistics and they list the words that were censored making the study more offensive that the shows themselves. I would think that the PTC would be thrilled that the Networks are bleeping foul language.

To quote Author: Aaron Levenstein, "Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital".

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa
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