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Sen. Obama Warns TV to Clean Up or Congress Will Act

Nov 9, 2005  •  Post A Comment

If the industry doesn’t take significant steps to make it easier for parents to control what their children view on television, Congress will step in and legislate. That was a warning shot fired by Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., in a speech Wednesday in Washington.

“The amount of questionable content spilling across our screens is growing by the year,” Sen. Obama said at a press conference to release a new study by the Kaiser Family Foundation that says the number of sex scenes on TV has been increasing dramatically over the past several years.

“Once again, we find ourselves asking those in charge to serve the needs of a nation that has a higher calling than simply peddling indecency and materialism for profit,” the senator said.

The study, which examined a representative example of broadcast and cable TV network shows, said that 70 percent of programs included some sexual content this year (with an average of five sex scenes per hour), while only 56 percent did so in 1998 (with 3.2 sex scenes per hour). Among shows that had sexual content, the study said, 14 percent this year included a reference to sexual risks or responsibilities, up from 9 percent in 1998.

But Sen. Obama said he is particularly concerned about the impact television is having on the ability of parents to instill positive values in their children. “Raising your children this way has become exceedingly difficult in a mass media culture that saturates our airwaves with a steady stream of sex, violence and materialism,” he said.