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.
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?