Poll: God’s Positive Ratings Down on Television

This week, The Parents Television Council (PTC) and the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) released a study of prime time programming that they say shows that Hollywood “has virtually no respect for religion.” They counted mentions of religion during the last year, and found only about 22 percent of them positive.

That isn’t a surprise to anyone who watches television. Some interesting thoughts followed the release of the study (these from a Los Angeles Times article).

Frank Wright, president of the NRB: Called the negative portrayals “dehumanizing” and compared them to representations of Jews prior to the Holocaust, and blacks in the era of slavery. “Systematic negative portrayals of groups of people are always disturbing. They produce the potting soil that leads to persecution.”

PTC President L. Brent Bozell: “Is it because Hollywood is Jewish and taking care of its own? No, I don’t think that. In the popular culture of America, 99% of the public, and also in Hollywood, there is an understanding that respect is owed to Jews. It’s as simple as that. That same respect ought to be paid to other faiths as well.”He said Hollywood is missing out on a marketing opportunity by ignoring the majority of Americans who, according to a 2003 Harris poll cited by the study, believe in God (90%) and the resurrection of Jesus Christ (80%).

“They’re blinding themselves, not seeing the forest for the trees when they dismiss the fact that this country is fed up with Hollywood’s assault on families,” Bozell said. “Nobody, but nobody, saw the success of ‘The Passion of the Christ’ coming. They don’t understand there’s a hunger for positive messages.”

Blogger Jeff Jarvis earlier this month was the first to uncover data showing that nearly all online complaints received by the FCC in 2003 had been filed by a small number of PTC members. The figures reflected so-called “formal complaints” submitted to the FCC’s web site as opposed to letters, phone calls and faxes to the commission from listeners or viewers generally complaining about TV and radio programming.

Jonathan Rintels, president and executive director of the Center for Creative Voices in Media, said the PTC is losing its perception as an influential institution as a result of the complaint data revelations. “The real statistics that matter to the networks come from the biggest hit of the season- ‘Desperate Housewives.’”

Entertainment executives can ride out this sort of thing without a problem. But why would they want to? Haven’t they learned anything from their rejection of Mel Gibson’s religious fanaticism?

–James Jewell

About Jim Jewell

I am a writer and consultant on faith and public life, active for many years in management and communications in the evangelical community. I now work as the director of the nonprofit practice at The Valcort Group (www.valcort.com). Everything on this blog, however, is my personal opinion and is not read or approved before it is posted. Opinions, conclusions and other information expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of Valcort.
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