When he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Tom Coburn opposed the creation of a “V” chip for television programming letting viewers know the rating of a particular program. Coburn felt that the establishment of such a program would lower, not raise, the bar for what was appropriate for family viewing.
He was right. What used to be only on cable is now on the broadcast networks and more importantly, parents do not have any consistency in what their children can watch.
Take the case of the critically acclaimed NBC program “Friday Night Lights.” The program based on the book and movie of the same name, follows a high school team in a fictional Texas town. While it accurately portrays the over importance of football and probably does a reasonably accurate job of portraying what happens with teenagers in their personal lives these days, it sends a misleading message to parents.
For example, one week the program will be rated PG, which with the language and some of the issues would have pushed the envelope for family viewing time a few years back, but on other weeks it is rated TV-14. The parent, however, has to catch this at the very beginning of each program, otherwise the parent is lulled into thinking it is a PG rated program when it is not.
The recent subject matter on some of the TV-14 episodes is clearly not appropriate for family viewing time and in reality probably ought to be at best on cable, if at all.
That is what Tom Coburn warned us about and he was right. Let’s hope that now Senator Coburn will take up the cause once again and help to restore family viewing time for families.