Saturday, July 17, 2010

Whatever Happened to the Television Code?

So I'm watching an old episode of "Petticoat Junction" from 1963 and notice this symbol called the Television Code. I remember seeing the code quite often when I was a kid and wondered what happened.

Wikipedia says: "The Code of Practices for Television Broadcasters was a set of ethical standards adopted by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) for television. The code was established on December 6, 1951. Compliance with the code was indicated by the "Seal of Good Practice", displayed during closing credits on most United States television programs from 1952 through the early 1970s.

"The code prohibited the use of profanity, the negative portrayal of family life, irreverence for God and religion, illicit sex, drunkenness and addiction, presentation of cruelty, detailed techniques of crime, the use of horror for its own sake, and the negative portrayal of law enforcement officials, among others. The code regulated how performers should dress and move to be within the "bounds of decency". Further, news reporting was to be "factual, fair and without bias" and commentary and analysis should be "clearly defined as such". Broadcasters were to make time available for religious broadcasting and were discouraged from charging religious bodies for access.

"Under pressure from broadcasters, the code was suspended in 1983."

What it doesn't say is why it was suspended and why television has suspiciously sucked more since 1983. I'm talking broadcast television, not cable, which wouldn't have been under this restriction in the first place.

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