BET & MTV Programming “Predatory”?

April 17th, 2008 | Author: Anthony Springer Jr

MTV and BET show adult content once every 38 seconds, according to a new study released by the Parents Television Council and the Enough is Enough Campaign. The groups analyzed three programs: BET’s “106 and Park”, “Rap City” and MTV’s “Sucker Free”.

While many may not object to the fact that adult content is shown on the channels, others object to adult content—which included sex, violence, obscenity and profanity—shown to children under 18.

“What BET and MTV are offering to children on these three programs is full of offensive and vulgar content, the likes of which cannot yet be found on broadcast television.  Being in the trenches fighting for better indecency enforcement and cable choice on behalf of millions of American families, we thought we’d seen it all – but even we were taken aback by what we found in the music video programs on MTV and BET that are targeted directly at impressionable children,” PTC President Tim Winter said.

Industry Ears co-founder Paul Porter goes a step further than Winter, calling the industry out of touch and predatory.

“The study boldly validates that BET’s ‘Rap City’ and ‘106 and Park’ focus solely on commercial rap. The high level of stereotypical imaging is a sign of an out of touch industry that is holding on to mid 90’s themes,” he told HipHopDX.

“Nielsen ratings conclude that more than 40 percent of their audience is under 18. Predators lure kids with candy and BET gets them with the same old ‘slap a hoe’ themes.”

Defenders of the industry will often point to parental control measures such as the V-Chip for parents who want to keep this content out of their homes and away from their children, but the study shows that both networks have taken measures to get around V-Chip settings.

“Excluding one program on BET, neither BET or MTV carried content descriptors that would work in conjunction with the V-Chip to block the programs from coming into the home or to warn parents about the presence of sexual content, suggestive dialogue, violence, or foul language.  This is a major problem for parents who are told repeatedly to rely on their V-chips to protect their children,” said Winter.

The report—titled “The Rap on Rap”—studied BET and MTV programming over a two week period last December. “106 and Park” and “Sucker Free” were selected because both programs often showcase new releases. Due to the high volume of adult content found in programs, PTC and Enough is Enough added one more week in March 2008 to verify their findings. The groups found even more adult content during the added week than the original, and some language that was bleeped in December had been uncensored in March.

All of the content analysis took place in the afternoon and early evening hours.

The findings of the study reveal the following:

·         The PTC documented 1,647 instances of offensive/adult content in the 27.5 hours of programming analyzed during the December 2007 study period, for an average of 59.9 instances per hour, or nearly one instance every minute.
·         746 sexually explicit scenes or lyrical references in the 27.5 hours of analyzed programming from the December study period for an average of 27 instances per hour, or one instance every 2.2 minutes.  Sexual content was even more common in the March test period, with an average 40 instances per hour, or one instance every 90 seconds.
·         From the December broadcasts, the PTC documented 221 depictions of violence, including deaths depicted or implied, explosions, implied violence, punching/hitting, rioting, threats and weapons; this data equates to an average of 8 instances per hour, or one instance roughly every 7.5 minutes.  Violence also became more frequent in the March analysis, averaging one instance every 6.3 minutes.

The PTC and Enough is Enough plan to use the study as a call to action, not simply a way to highlight existing issues.

“There are several solutions.  First of all, parents need to be more involved in monitoring their children’s media consumption, establishing and sticking to household rules about media use, and discussing media content with their children.  Advertisers need to be held accountable for the content their advertising dollars pay for.  Those companies that advertise on programs like 106 & Park, Rap City, and Sucker Free on MTV can and should use their unique influence with BET and MTV to push for greater responsibility where program content is concerned,” Winter said.

To view the study in its entirety, click here.


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