and political talk shows
MO. — For years, parents expressed outrage over
the violence and vulgarity that monopolizes television programming.
In response, Congress instituted a television rating system that,
unfortunately, some network executives have used as an excuse
to push the boundaries of decency.
As the father of young girls, I’m
alarmed by the immorality espoused on television. But I’m also disturbed
by the hostile tone that permeates some of the news-related programming. Children
are being exposed to political talk shows, for example, that serve up nightly
doses of earsplitting debate. In turn, children mimic the angry tones that
they hear on television.
Most adults view such programs
as “harmless” educational entertainment. But, for children, these
talk shows often sanction disrespect and name-calling.
Today some children spend more
time each week listening to combative liberal and conservative talk show hosts
than they do their pastor and Sunday School teacher. They hear “love
your neighbor” from the pulpit and “yell at your enemy”
from the television set. The pastor preaches kindness and compassion. Talk
show hosts model anger and criticism. Children are left to sort out the mixed
messages for themselves.
As a believer, I have a keen interest
in cultural and political issues. But, seldom do I turn on political talk
shows anymore because I don’t want my children watching me being entertained
by hostile debate. And, I don’t want my house ringing with insults and
One evening, during a typical “shoutfest”
on a well-known television program, my 11-year-old asked, “Dad, why
are you watching this stuff? These people aren’t being very nice to
She was right — perhaps the
program contained valuable information for an adult, but the tone was unsettling
to a child. I determined that night to sacrifice the information for the sake
of my children. I’m glad I did. Since then things have been a little
quieter in the Donaldson home. And perhaps it’s my imagination, but
the kids seem a little kinder too.
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