By Brian Fitzpatrick
Culture and Media Institute
Couch potatoes, beware – someday you might be saying “the TV made me do it.”
A new special report by the Culture and Media Institute indicates that watching too much television could be hazardous to your moral health.
The report, The Media Assault on American Values, reveals that media messages appear to be undermining the pillars of America’s cultural edifice: strength of character, sexual morality and respect for God.
And it shows a striking correlation between greater exposure to TV and permissive views.
Heavy television viewers (four hours or more per evening) are less committed to character virtues like honesty and charity, and more permissive about sex, abortion and homosexuality.
Light television viewers (one hour or less per evening) are more likely to attend religious services and live their lives by God’s principles.
According to the survey, the more a person watches television, the less likely he will be to accept responsibility for his own life and for his obligations to the people around him.
Heavy TV viewers are much likelier than light viewers to expect government to provide retirement – 64 percent to 43 percent – and health care – 63 percent to 43 percent.
The pattern persists with sexual morality. Is sex outside of marriage, the way Hollywood incessantly depicts it, always wrong?
A significant 39 percent of light viewers say so. Only 26 percent of heavy viewers agree; 55 percent of light viewers say homosexuality, another Hollywood hobbyhorse, is wrong, but only 43 percent of heavy viewers.
Overall, 74 percent of Americans say our moral values are weaker than they were 20 years ago, and 48 percent say values are much weaker. That’s another way of saying they see eroding character, lower sexual standards, and diminished respect for God – precisely the values the media undermine.