TV Ruder, Cruder & Lewder

Another survey is out complaining about sex and violence on television, at a time when Congress and parents are still deciding what role they should have in deciding what ought to be on TV. CBS News Correspondent Lee Cowan reports.

If television's rating system was designed to curb TV violence, a watchdog groups says it isn't working.

In fact, the Parents Television Council concludes that in the two years since the system went into effect, offensive content on television has actually increased by more than 30 percent.

"The growing amount of objectionable material produced becomes more and more difficult to defend," PTC Chairman L. Brent Bozell says.

According to the survey, among the three major networks, ABC is the most offensive network overall and led in the amount of sexual content. CBS was the least offensive, but was the most violent. NBC had the most foul language.

Critics used clips to accuse the networks of using the ratings system to push the envelope on content - rationalizing that since parents are now warned about it - more is okay.

"Major broadcast networks most visible output is becoming ruder, cruder and lewder," Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn. said.

But television executives argue the ratings system is working - and the survey is flawed.

In a written statement, CBS said, "CBS seriously questions any study that concludes that the network that airs Touched by an Angel, Cosby and Everybody Loves Raymond has the most violent programming."

Either way, everyone agrees violence and sex have not disappeared from the small screen - and aren't likely to.

In a perfect world, the group argues, there wouldn't be anything to rate. The question is, who's to say what a perfect world is? Parents or TV networks?
  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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