Parents across America should thank Time magazine for putting the issue of indecency in broadcast and cable television front and center this week, asking the question, "Has TV Gone Too Far?" The poll commissioned by Time suggested the majority of Americans believe this to be true. Most Americans want a change.
Time's poll found more than half of America's TV watchers -- 53 percent -- think the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) should place stricter controls on broadcast-channel shows depicting sexual content and violence. An imposing 68 percent believe the entertainment industry has lost touch with the moral standards of the audience.
So much for Hollywood's cushiest defense: We only reflect society. Society is now responding, loudly and unambiguously: No, you're dramatically out of touch.
The numbers condemning Tinseltown cascade: 66 percent said there is too much violence on open-air TV, 58 percent said there's too much cursing, and 50 percent found too much sexual content, the Time poll said. So upset is the public that about 49 percent agree that FCC regulation ought to be extended to cover basic cable, which includes raunchy reality shows on MTV and the over-the-top FX shows "The Shield" and "Nip/Tuck" on many cable systems.
This is no fluke. Other polls have found similar results.
In February, a Fox News-Opinion Dynamics poll asked: "In general, do you think Hollywood moviemakers share your values or not?" Thirteen percent said yes, but an overwhelming 70 percent said no. Fox News also asked, "Do you think Hollywood is in touch with the life of the average American, or is Hollywood out of touch with most Americans?" Nineteen percent said Hollywood's in touch; 72 percent, out of touch. Showing that this issue crosses party lines, 61 percent of Democrats agreed Hollywood does not reflect the values of most Americans.
After the election last November, a CBS/New York Times survey wondered, "What kind of impact would you say Hollywood is having on popular culture? Is Hollywood lowering the moral standards, raising the moral standards or not having much impact on the moral standards of popular culture?" That may seem like asking if the sky is blue, but 62 percent of those polled agreed Hollywood lowers the public morality. Six percent, comprised of the clueless and those employed by the entertainment industry, picked the ridiculous answer that Hollywood raises moral standards.