February 1997 – The new TV rating are a farce and a slap in the face of the viewing public.
Suppose that a pornographer showed up at your door with a package addressed to your 14-year-old daughter. You go to the door and receive the package. You aren’t told what is in the package, only that the pornographer has determined that your daughter is old snout to open the package and peruse the contents.
No way, you say. Well, that is precisely what the TV industry has just done in deciding on a new rating system for their programs. Here are the new ratings:
TV-Y Appropriate for all children. Specifically designed for a very young audience, including c children ages two to six. This program is not expected to frighten younger children.
TV-Y7 Designed for children age seven and above. More appropriate for children able to distinguish between make-believe and reality. May include mild physical or comedic violence.
TV-G Contains little or no violence, no strong language and little or no sexual dialog or situations.
TV-PG The program may contain coarse language, limited violence, some suggestive dialog and situations. The theme itself may call for parental guidance.
TV-14 This program may contain sophisticated themes, sexual content, strong language, and intense violence.
TV-M May contain profane language, graphic violence, and explicit sexual content.
White pretending to provide help to parents, the industry has done exactly the opposite. They have told parents, for instance, that programs rated TV-Y, TV-Y7, TV-G, TV-PG, and TV-14 are suitable for kids and youth to view. They have made that decision for parents.
In none of the categories will the industry tell you why a given program earned a particular rating, nor will they give any content analysis. Not a clue. And get this – the person who produces the program is the one who will give it a rating! There will be absolutely no consistent perspective used in the ratings since hundreds, even thousands, of different individuals will be doing the ratings.
One thing this rating system will do well, and one thing only. It will absolve the networks and Hollywood of any and all responsibility for the content of their programs. They can put on anything and everything – which they will – and absolve themselves by saying, “We warned you in advance. The program was rated. We accept no responsibility.”
It is going to be interesting to see how the religious community will respond to this next step toward total degradation.