The furor over the recent school shooting in Florida continues to be an issue discussed with pressure to ban guns. Popular leftist organizations and popular culture figures are part of an attempt to eliminate the Second Amendment based on the idea only the gun was the problem.

I read many comments here in the newspaper regarding broken families and also the comments of Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin regarding media and how they assisted in creating the crisis. One disturbing factor is the change in television that has allowed raunchier, more violent programming to air.

A report from the Parents Television Council notes one popular trend, cord-cutting, where subscription television services from Charter (which holds the Orangeburg franchise), AT&T, Dish Network or Comcast has been canceled in favor of over-the-top (OTT) services from Netflix, Hulu and Amazon.

The report notes two-thirds of programs from OTT services carry a TV-MA rating, for mature audiences only, which is the equivalent of an NC-17 (f/k/a X) rating in the movies. The gratuitous amount of sex, violence and inappropriate content used on both premium pay television and OTT original programming is now setting the standard, with television's New Big Four being two premium pay channels, HBO and Showtime, and two OTT services, Netflix and Amazon Prime. Major television awards shows have favored these shows from the New Big Four while making broadcast network television (no shows worse than TV-14) irrelevant.

The push of such TV-MA programming now, and its praise from critics, forms a haphazard precedent. In the past, studios typically toned down their content in movies in order to avoid an NC-17 rating in the movie theater. In television, federal regulations prohibited obscene language and nudity (most notably bare buttocks, women's breasts and genitalia).

If a movie reached the dreaded X rating, multiplexes would enforce the Kyle Busch Rule, named for an incident during the November 2001 CART meeting held in Fontana, California. The NASCAR Truck Series and the CART Dayton Lights were support races to the CART FedEx Championship Series Marlboro 500 (CART disbanded in 2008 after merging with the Indy Racing League) at Auto Club Speedway. CART ejected Busch, 16, from the NASCAR garage because the Master Settlement Agreement prohibits minors from participation in any event when tobacco sponsorship exists at the event.

In a similar rule at movie theatres, if an NC-17 movie is playing on one screen, minors are prohibited from working the theater or attending any movies playing in another screen in the multiplex in order to ensure the age minimums are set. With the trend to OTT and pay television, there is no such rule with TV-MA regarding government regulators and viewers.

Studios deliberately advance the most violent and sexually explicit TV-MA programming to the New Big Four and similar services that advance the idea art should be of shock value, since they can target younger audiences toward these shows. The glorification of "Game of Thrones" and other premium-pay programming, including a teenage series glorifying teen suicides that is rated TV-MA, would never have happened prior to the balance of power on television switching over to the New Big Four.

Even MTV is guilty of advancing the agenda with shows such as "South Park," "Teen Mom" (teen pregnancy), and the modern advancement of reality television shows. Add to that the increasing push of video games on streaming sites such as Steam and SaaS (Software as a Service) where parents no longer can spot that their children are "renting" video games under their SaaS. Children can order online and have the game delivered immediately without parents being aware.

We have a serious crisis with entertainment companies, as Gov. Blevin notes, deliberately advancing the agenda of evil through services where parents no longer can detect what their children are watching.

And Gov. Blevin is correct also about the mass media, through the glorification of the X-rated shows on television and the "girls are good, boys are bad" ideal, having created a poisonous condition for boys.

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Hou-Yin Chang is from Orangeburg.


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