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DAVIDSON: Violence, Alcohol, & Drugs — Not Just For Breakfast Anymore

When will American broadcasters limit themselves?

Jeff Davidson

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Violence on television is more pervasive than in real life. In their research project, years back, called “Watching America,” Stanley Rothmann, Robert Lichter, and Linda Lichter found that television characters had been murdered at a rate 1,000 times higher than real world victims.

Since 1975, a major character on prime-time TV is 17 times more likely to experience a personal confrontation with criminal violence than are the viewers who watch them every week. The broadcast networks’ prime-time schedules contain more than 1,000 scenes of violence per month. The “promos” for coming attractions depict even more violence than the shows themselves. The mayhem level even increased during a public outcry over TV violence.

Amazingly, businessmen and businesswomen are twice as likely to represent villains and three times as likely to commit crimes as are characters in other professions. Three out of four programs that show business dealings portray business as dishonest or corrupt.

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Shaping Our Collective Consciousness

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The authors concluded that television is an obviously artificial world that takes on a life of its own by shaping our collective consciousness. “For better or worse,” says Star Wars producer George Lucas, “films and television tell us the way we conduct our lives, what is right and wrong. It is important that the people who make films have ethics classes, philosophy classes, and history classes. Otherwise, we are witch doctors.”

The National Coalition on Television Violence, in the early 1980s, undertook studies which showed that immediately after watching programs which emphasize combat, there is a substantial, readily observable increases in playground violence among what are otherwise considered to be normal children.

“What we think of now as the excess of the Roman circuses, where in the end
hundreds of thousands of people died, didn’t start out that way,” PBS producer Bill Moyers once said. They started out legitimately as circuses, but the audience demand for more and more resulted in forms of entertainment becoming bloodier and increasingly grotesque.

Have a Drink on Me

A study of Hollywood films showed that in one given year, 90% of all films contained alcohol. The beverage consumption by characters within films often depicted “an alcoholic style of drinking.” Yet, largely, no harmful side effects were depicted.

Before the 2007 decision by the Motion Picture Association of America to ban smoking in films rated lower than R, the National Coalition on Television Violence found that 53% of films contained cigarette smoking and more than 85% of those films had a major character smoking throughout the film. This confirmed Michael Medved’s findings in his book, Hollywood Versus America, that the characters in movies were three times as likely to smoke as the people in the audience watching the movie.

Drugs Abound

In NCTV’s observations, 14% of films contained scenes depicting illegal drug use. The conclusion: Despite claims from Hollywood to the contrary, Substance abuse in Hollywood films has not decreased. “It has a serious, harmful effect on America’s youth,” says actor Edward James Olmos. “Nothing that we do can ever stop the damage we have done.”

Many countries around the globe seek limits to how much American television they will allow to be broadcasted in their countries. Some countries have levied an outright ban on American television programs. When will American broadcasters limit themselves?

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CDC Mask Guidline Confusion Demonstrated in Latest Polling

Americans just don’t seem to trust the CDC.

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Around the nation, businesses are reopening to full capacity, fans are filling the stadium stands, and bands are announcing their touring plans, thanks to the diminishing perception of a threat stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. This has been a long time coming for Americans, and some carry with them a wee bit of trepidation still about the coming recovery. A new poll shows that many Americans are even having a hard time processing the CDC’s latest mask-guideline adjustment. A significant portion of the public still believes in wearing a mask outside regardless of guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), according to a recent survey. The survey indicates that forty-two percent of respondents believe everyone in their area should continue to wear a mask regardless of the CDC guidelines. Of the respondents, 39 percent said everyone should follow the CDC guidelines that state masks are only necessary outdoors when in crowds compared to only 19 percent of respondents who actually believe “everyone should do [what] they want regardless of guidelines.” And, somewhat surprisingly: Of those who believe in continuing to wear masks, broken down by party, the results were almost even; 36 percent of Republicans and 37 percent of Democrats want everyone around them to wear masks. Of course, the distrust that Americans naturally have for their government shouldn’t be overlooked either, as their handling of the coronavirus pandemic has spawned a number of protests and lawsuits around the nation.

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DESPICABLE: Big Pharma Suits Mocked Opioid Users in Emails

They even had denigrating nicknames for their own addicted customers.

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The greed of the pharmaceutical industry knows no bounds, certainly, but the cruel mockery that has now come to light is enough to enrage even the most indifferent bystanders. For decades now, Big Pharma has been peddling prescription pain pills to Americans knowing explicitly that the drugs themselves are highly addicting.  In fact, several large corporations are now on the hook for vast fortunes of fines stemming from their indiscriminate attempts to hook new and previous users alike. Worse still, it appears as though executives within these companies understood explicitly what they were doing and who they were targeting, going so far as to invent denigrating nicknames for their victims. Pharmaceutical executives mocked their customers as hillbillies, disparaging them in rhymes even as the companies poured pills into Appalachia and opioid addiction rates and overdoses rose. One email told of Jed, for example, “a poor mountaineer” who “barely kept his habit fed.” Another rhyme referred to Kentucky as “OxyContinville.” An email showed a box of breakfast cereal with “smack” placed under the words “OxyContin for kids.” A lawyer for one West Virginia county said the mocking showed a culture of contempt for the people being sold the pills. The revelations came in the West Virginia trial of pharmaceutical firms charged with illegally flooding the state with opioids, the Guardian reports. The national distribution companies on trial are AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson, per the Huntington Herald-Dispatch. And that’s not all… Chris Zimmerman of AmerisourceBergen wrote one of the emails after Florida moved against pill mills in 2011. “Watch out Georgia and Alabama,” he told colleagues, “there will be a max exodus of Pillbillies heading north.” At this point, it’s becoming difficult to see the difference between the behavior of drug dealers on the street corner and drug dealers in the…

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