The Parents Television Council wants more Hill hearings on TV violence in the wake of what it says is a troubling increase in storylines involving violence toward women.
The group was not so much pointing fingers at anyone, though it did some of that, as it was calling on broadcast networks in general -- it said it does not have the resources to monitor cable, too -- to be more sensitive to, and tone down, that violence. "What is beyond sobering to me is the trend," said PTC President Tim Winter.
Winter believes that an industry solution, rather than a regulatory solution, is preferable and possible. He had not taken the study results directly to any of the networks.
But Winter has sent the study to TV violence foe Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee and backer in the past of legislation to give the FCC the power to regulate violent content as it does indecency on broadcast TV.
Winter also said he had been in contact with the Senator's office but that it was hard to get past the health care issue these days.
According to a just-released PTC study, "Women in Peril: A Look at TV's Disturbing New Storyline Trend,"
overall violence increased 2% from 2004 to 2009 on primetime shows surveyed during monitoring periods, but that violence against women increased 120%. Violence against teen age girls increased 400%, according to PTC.
The group attributed part of the uptick to more crime shows, which Winter, a former network executive, ascribes to a "lemming mentality. What one successful show spawns is a bunch of copycats."
But it can't just be chalked up to giving the public what it wants, according to PTC, since some of the more popular shows in the ratings, like American Idol, aren't violent.
Winter also pointd to the technical advances in realism on the production side that have made the violence much more real-looking, which he says is "almost driving the desire to put more of it out there."
PTC screeners looked at primetime programming --excluding news and sports-- on ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC during the February and May sweeps over that five-year period.