April 13, 2000

Has television gotten worse over the last decade? Well, the answer to that question should be obvious. Of course it is worse. But a recent study shows that television is a whole lot worse than just a decade ago.

The Parents Television Council just issued a special report entitled "What a Difference a Decade Makes." It's a comparison of prime time sex, language, and violence in 1989 and 1999. Not surprisingly, it demonstates a steady decline in broadcast television. In most cases it represents a very sharp decline. Here are a few of the findings:

First, on a per-hour basis, sexual material was, overall, more than three times as frequent in 1999 as it was in 1989. While references to homosexuality were rare in 1989, they became mainstream in 1999. They became more than twenty-four times as common during the decade. Many other sexual references also increased but cannot even be mentioned in this commentary.

Second, the rate of foul language in 1999 was more than five and a half times higher than that of 1989. Again, I can't even mention the words used in a typical television program in this radio commentary.

Third, violent incidents occurred at about the same rate in both years, but the intensity of those incidents greatly increased. In terms of sexual content, coarse language, and violent material combined, the per-hour figure almost tripled from 1989 to 1999.

In every area of measurement the council found that sex, language, and violence increased dramatically in the last decade. While this is not surprising, it does provide the best quantifiable measure of what has been taking place on television. No longer can defenders of television say that TV is "not that bad." The evidence is in, and television is more offensive than ever.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.