Study: Use of Profanity Increasing on TV
Tuesday , September 23, 2003
LOS ANGELES — Television is cussing up an increasingly blue streak, according to a study of the major broadcast networks.
"During the 2002-2003 season, the broadcast networks attempted to rewrite the book on language standards for television," the Parents Television Council , a watchdog group, said in a report released Monday.
The council said it studied all primetime entertainment series from a two-week period in 1998, 2000 and 2002 and found a jump in profanity on "virtually every network" and in every time slot.
The group called on the TV industry to "get serious about reducing the flood of vulgarity. ... Barring that, the FCC needs to get serious about enforcing broadcast decency laws," the group said of the Federal Communications Commission.
The study examined ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, WB and UPN.
During the so-called "family hour," from 8-9 p.m., foul language increased by 94.8 percent between 1998 and 2002, the study found. It rose by 109 percent during the 9 p.m. hour in the same period.
The smallest increase, 38.7 percent, occurred during the last hour of primetime, 10-11 p.m., when young children are least likely to be in the audience, the council said.
The group noted what it called "minor" improvements.
Foul language in the 8 p.m. hour on Fox fell 25 percent in the study period. But the study found profanity rose 75 percent during the 9 p.m. hour on Fox.
On ABC, offensive language decreased by 17 percent in the study period, mostly because of improvements during the latter two primetime hours. But profanity was up by 61.7 percent during the family hour, the study found.
An ABC spokesman Monday said the network had not seen the report and declined comment. A Fox spokesman declined comment.
In a similar, earlier study, the PTC found that sexual content on TV was less frequent but more explicit.