“There was murderers going around killing lots of people and stealingjewelry. ” This quote comes from the mouth of an eight year old girl afterwatching the evening news on television. The eight year old girl claimsthat she is afraid “when there is a murder near because you never know ifhe could be in town” (Cullingford, 61). A recent report from the NationalInstitute of Mental Health (NIMH) pools evidence from over 2,500 studieswithin the last decade on over 100,000 subjects from several nations toshow that the compiled evidence of television’s influence on behavior is so”overwhelming” that there is a consensus in the research community that”violence on television does lead to aggressive behavior” (Methvin, 49). Given that the majority of scientific community agrees that “the researchfindings of the NIMH publication support conclusion of a causalrelationship between television violence and aggressive behavior” (Wurtzel,21), why is it that “the Saturday morning “kid vid ghetto” is the mostviolent time on T.Order now
V. ” (Methvin, 49), and that “despite slight variationsover the past decade, the amount of violence on television has remained atconsistently high levels” (Wurtzel, 23)? Why is it that, like the tobaccocompanies twenty years ago, the present day television broadcastingcompanies refuse to consent that violent films and programming can and dohave harmful effects on their viewers (Rowland, 280) What can be done tocombat the stubborn minded broadcasting companies and to reduce the amountof violent scenes that infest the current air waves?The television giants of today, such as ABC, CBS, and NBC continue toair violent shows, because they make money off of these programs. Ingeneral, society finds scenes of violence “simply exciting” (Feshbach, 12). Broadcasting companies argue that “based on the high ratings, they aregiving the public what it wants, and therefore are serving the publicinterest” (Time, 77).
Michael Howe states: “We have to remember thatchildren and adults do enjoy and do choose to watch those programs thatcontain violence” (48). At the same time, however, we must also rememberthe undeniable truth that “there is clear evidence between televisionviolence and later aggressive behavior” (Palmer, 120). Because violenttelevision has been proven time and time again to play an active roletoward inciting hostile behavior in children, the level of combativeprogramming must be reduced. The media argument that high ratingscorrespond with the public’s best interest is simply not valid.
Even theAmerican Medical Association agrees that the “link between televisedviolence and later aggressive behavior warrants a major organized cry ofprotest from the medical profession” (Palmer, 122). The issue of thepublic’s infatuation with television can be paralleled with that of a youngchild and his desire for candy and “junk foods. ” The child enjoys eatingsuch foods, though they produce the harmful effects of rotting away at histeeth. With a parent to limit his intake of such harmful sweets, however,the child is protected from their damage.
Similarly, the American publicdesires to view violent programs at the risk of adapting induced aggressivebehaviors. Because the networks refuse to act as a “mother,” and to limitthe amount of violence shown on television, there are no restrictions toprevent television’s violent candy from rotting away at the teeth ofsociety. Harry Skornia claims that “it is naive and romantic to expect acorporation to have either a heart of a soul in the struggle for profitsand survival” (34). But who, then, is to take responsibility for themedia’s actions if not the industry itself? Because there has not been anysufficient answers to this question so far, “television violence has notdiminished greatly; nor have Saturday morning programs for children, markedby excessively violent cartoons, changed much for the better” (Palmer,125).
One may ask: “Why can’t the government or the Federal CommunicationsCommission (FCC) intervene to control the amount of violent programmingthat currently circulates during most broadcasting hours?” Edward Palmerstates: “The FCC’s reluctance to regulate – especially directly aboutviolent content – is consistent with that of many other groups. Becausethe First Amendment guarantees freedom of the press, no direct censorshipos programming has ever been advocated by responsible groups concerned withthe problem of television violence” (124). The American BroadcastingCompany (ABC) holds fast to its claim that there are no scientific findingsthat show a link between television violence and unusually violent behaviorin children (Rowland, 279). The network executives at ABC express theideals that “they are self-confident about the lack