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The Decency Wars Turn Violent: Is Torture the New Nudity?

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In my 24 post this morning I wrote:

The PTC has certainly criticized violence in TV before. But I wonder if they’ve savvily realized that–with the Democrats on the rise–they’ll get farther in the current political climate with anti-violence rather than anti-sex campaigns. (The former being liberals’ preferred arena of meddling in pop culture, the latter being conservatives’.)

In my inbox this afternoon I got this brand-new release, from the PTC:

The Parents Television Council called on the Fox Broadcasting Network to show increased responsibility over the time of day it airs programs like “24,” which new PTC research revealed has a frighteningly high number of torture scenes. Monday’s special two-hour episode of “24” began at 8 pm ET/7 pm CT, covering the prime time hours when more children were likely to be in the viewing audience. “24” normally broadcasts at 9 pm ET/8 pm CT for one hour. The PTC is calling on all networks either to curtail such extremely graphic violence or, in the alternative, to air such material after 10 pm in all local markets.

First: I trust that the PTC knows that the Fox network does not air anything after 10 p.m. It broadcasts two hours a night. So “increased responsibility” = canceling the show?

Second, I’ll bet the PTC is aware that TV violence is the new opportunity area in the decency wars. On the plus side, maybe the airwaves will soon be safe again for Janet Jackson’s nipple. But expect to hear a lot more about the violence issue–especially with media-regulation-prone Hillary Clinton and John McCain as potential Presidential opponents in 2008.

Third, the release also praises ABC for moving Lost to 10 p.m. ABC did that, of course, not to save the children but to save the show, from American Idol. If the PTC can just figure out a way for Fox to air American Idol two hours a night, seven nights a week, it will never need to worry about 24 again.

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