Hollywood Markets Violence to Children But There is an Answer

By: Dan Wooding; ©2002
In this interview with Dan Wooding, Dr. Ted Baehr says that the answer to Hollywood’s campaign is to teach everyone how to be “media-wise.”


Hollywood Markets Violence to Children But There is an Answer

Dr. Ted Baehr says the answer to the Hollywood elite’s cynical campaign is to: Teach everyone media literacy and media wisdom, beginning in elementary school

The Federal Trade Commission has found that Hollywood is cynically marketing violence to our children, but there is an answer: “teach everyone media literacy and media wisdom, beginning at the elementary school level.”

That’s the view of Dr. Ted Baehr, a renowned Christian expert on the entertainment media with more than 20 years’ experience.

After reading the scathing report from the FTC that attacked Hollywood’s tactics, Dr. Baehr said, “This report confirms a fact uncovered by MOVIEGUIDE ®, that Hollywood industry leaders are systematically and deliberately marketing R-rated movie violence to America’s young children by advertising on popular cartoon shows and even in comic books.

“The FTC study shows that movie studios have been advertising violent R-rated movies on television shows and in magazines where they know the target consumers are young teenagers. For example, the industry often places ads on the TV cartoon show The Simpsons, which attracts many young viewers.

“The FTC found market research showing that violent material is an effective lure to get kids to buy movie tickets, music, video games, and merchandise. Thus, from 1995 to 1999, 80 percent of R-rated movies and 70 percent of electronic games with mature ratings were targeted to children under age 17.

“Even worse, perhaps, the FTC noted that, in Hollywood’s audience testing system, children as young as 10 previewed movies that eventually got an R-rating. The report added that, when the agency sent teenagers aged 13-16 to buy records and video games, they were able to buy recordings with explicit lyrics and video games with mature ratings 85 percent of the time!”

U.S. Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) noted, “It’s analogous to beer companies putting on ads about how to drink responsibly but then marketing intensively on college campuses.”

Dr. Baehr, founder and chairman of the Christian Film and Television Commission and MOVIEGUIDE®, a magazine, radio program and TV show which reviews almost every movie released movies from a biblical perspective and geared to parents with children, further noted, “Despite the findings, Jack Valenti, Hollywood’s sycophantic enabler at the Motion Picture Association of America, which has come under attack lately for making some bad decisions in its assignment of ratings to recent movies, was in a state of denial. He said any evaluation of Hollywood’s marketing practices can only be subjective and once again praised MPAA’s faulty rating code.

“Mr. Valenti’s comments are ludicrous,” Dr. Baehr asserted. Meanwhile, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and other senators are holding hearings on the FTC’s findings.

Dr. Baehr said, “We urge these Senators not to merely let the entertainment industry police their own products, especially since they’ve done such a poor job with the MPAA ratings. Instead, they should begin a campaign to teach media literacy and media wisdom to all citizens.”

He noted that his ground-breaking book, The Media-Wise Family, is one of several important resources that could do just that, thereby equipping both parents and children.

For more information about MOVIEGUIDE® and/or the work of the Christian Film and Television Commission, please call (800) 899-6684, or write to P.O. Box 190010, Atlanta, GA 31119, USA.

Parent’s Note: If you want to train your own family to be media-wise, call 1-800-899­6684 in North America, to order the book, video or audio version of The Media-Wise Family, Dr. Ted Baehr’s latest teaching guide. Also, MOVIEGUIDE® now offers an online subscription to its magazine version, at MOVIEGUIDE.

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