A real example of the story as it has been circulated:
Networks Plan on Blaspheming God - Most Shocking TV
Season Ever By John Edwards
The major TV networks are planning a full-scale attack
on traditional values and sensibilities with this fall's upcoming TV
season, NewsMax.com has learned.
ABC, CBS and NBC are considering dropping many of the
few remaining standards on network prime-time TV programs - and will
likely allow expletives and four-letter words never spoken before on
The New York Times reported over the Labor Day weekend
that NBC's "The West Wing" program is planning on breaking
"a longstanding network taboo" this fall.
Aaron Sorkin, the executive producer of "The West
Wing," told the Times he is planning for "a character to curse
in a way that uses the Lord's name in vain."
Sorkin and his cronies at NBC are not the only ones
trying to undermine civility. Other plans being touted by the networks
· ABC's "Philly" is planning on using the
word "Sh--" - which has never aired before on an ABC program.
· CBS executives have told the Times they are considering "scripts
for programs that include every crude word imaginable" - including
the "F" word that has never been uttered on broadcast TV. (The
Times described the "F" word as the same word one would use to
describe the making of stem cells, i.e., fertilized embryos.) · CBS
will air "Wolf Lake" - a new TV show about a fictional town
where people can become wolves. The program will begin with a nudity
warning, and CBS executives told the Times "the first episode
contains a particularly revealing sex scene."
The free-for-all attitude on the use of expletives and
shocking scenes doesn't come in a vacuum.
Little by little, broadcast networks have been
tackling industry standards and challenging public decency - with no
complaint from the Federal Communications Commission.
The FCC is charged with maintaining decency and
standards on the airwaves. The airwaves are owned by the public, and
networks broadcast by license and at the discretion of the public.
Still, the Times reports that "the F.C.C. said
the number of indecency complaints involving television remained
negligible and no actions had been taken against stations for network
programs this year."
"What's really happening now is a transformation
to the daily normalization of this," Robert Thompson, professor of
media at Syracuse University, told the Times. "It's commonplace to
hear erection jokes on 'Friends' at 8 o'clock; even gentle little
programs like 'Everybody Loves Raymond' have the kind of stuff that,
when it played on 'Three's Company' 20 years ago, made the PTA go
Network executives say that several reasons are
forcing them to program down-market.
The success of cable shows like HBO's "The
Sopranos" - which uses graphic scenes and expletives - is drawing
viewers away from broadcast TV.
The major networks claim they fear the loss of key
advertisers, who are seeking the youth market, the market that is
seeking and finding more risqué material on cable networks.
Still, the Times contends, apathy by the public is the
major reason the networks are moving to lower standards.