The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation released results of a new study yesterday indicating that the number of sexual scenes on television has nearly doubled since 1998. A Google search indicated that there have been upwards of 400 articles and Internet postings on this subject. For the most part, these articles have been at least moderately disturbed by these findings, while trying to offer some explanations for the increase. As a perfect example, please see how the Los Angeles Times’ Jube Shiver, Jr. reported this.
By contrast, Lisa de Moraes’s article in today’s Washington Post seemed to express disappointment that more acts of sex aren’t shown more regularly on television. For example, her second paragraph (which I won’t copy here in respect for those like myself who have children that frequent this site to get informed about the news of the day) used the word “sex” nine times while graphically describing such acts to the reader. In three sentences.
After informing the reader about the increase in sexual scenes on television since 1998, de Moraes made a joke about it:
“And yet the rate of teen pregnancy in this country has plunged by about one-third during approximately the same time.
“Clearly, the television networks are doing something wrong.”
De Moraes then misrepresented one of the report’s findings:
“Especially since, of the TV programs pregnant with sexual content (70 percent of all shows, averaging about five sex scenes per hour), only a very small percentage included a message about the risks and responsibilities of sex.”
“Only about 14 percent discussed contraception, abstinence or other "safe sex" messages, the study found…”
Yes, but de Moraes neglected to mention that this figure was only 9 percent back in 1998, indicating that a considerable amount (56 percent) more references to “safe sex” occur now.
Moving forward, de Moraes’ argument seemed to be that the interests and viewing desires of adults should supersede the concerns of parents:
Makes one wonder where a society that is more concerned about entertaining adults than properly rearing children is heading.
“There was nobody on the panel to speak up for the 65 percent of the country's homes in which no one under 18 resides and some of whose favorite TV shows were under discussion, and not in a good way.”