I was given this to think about: “The people who run the TV networks and the major movie studies do not share the religious and moral values of most Americans.”
It’s really easy to say “Oh yeah, definitely!” They’re so much more evil than we are, right? But we often forget that within our little conservative Christian bubbles, this only feels true. The media certainly doesn’t line up too often with Christian ideals of morality, and maybe even more rarely lines up with politically conservative agendas.
People like to point to things like the Hayes Code, and how America used to (or at least) should be a place of integrity, and like to think that the “decline of the media” is out-of-touch with True Americans. We like to blame the out-of-touch media for moral decline, rather than understand that “the media” isn’t some detached, otherworldly force. It’s something we create and we participate in.
Despite positive evidence such as falling teen pregnancy, and lower crime, Americans still have this idea that the country’s morality is decaying. Perhaps this is simply because we’re more open about immorality now. Previously-taboo topics have become public discourse. But the actual rate of immorality hasn’t really changed. If anything, it’s gone down in recent decades.
So does TV reflect the religious and moral convictions of most Americans? Well, look at the Americans around you – even in your precious Christian bubble. Do you hear bad language? Yes. Do you hear much Christian edification and discussion? Not particularly. Do you know people who have engaged in extramarital sex? Yep. These days, we’re a lot more open about how bad we are, and television reflects that almost perfectly.
The only difference is that TV doesn’t reflect the morals and religious convictions we would like Americans to have, but if we really think about it, the TV shows us pretty much exactly how our culture behaves.