NBC programming had 9.5 negative treatments for every positive
treatment of faith. Fox followed with 2.4 negative depictions for
each one that was positive. WB and ABC tied with 1.2 negative for
Negativity toward religion grew steadily with each passing hour
of prime time. During the 7 pm hour, religious content was negative
16.9 per cent of the time. In the 8 pm hour, 20.8 per cent of instances
were negative. In the 9 pm hour, 27.5 per cent of instances were
negative, and in the 10 pm hour, 28.2 per cent were negative.
The treatment of religion in an institutional or doctrinal context
(such as a reference to a church service, a particular denomination,
or to Scripture) was strikingly negative. More than 32 per cent
of TV's treatments of religious institutions and doctrine were negative
while only 11.7 percent of such treatments were positive.
Negative depictions of the clergy were more than twice as frequent
as positive depictions - 36.2 per cent negative compared to 14.6
per cent positive. Representations of devout laity tended to be
negative more than positive, but to a lesser degree than in the
past - 33.3 per cent negative compared to 20.4 percent positive.
In the 1997 study, only 7.9 per cent of the treatments were positive,
whereas a staggering 78.9 per cent were negative.
Among the positive examples, the PTC cites a Jag episode
where a character prays to God to say hello to her dead mother,
and an American Dreams episode where an actor playing a medical
student says a surgery is partially in God's hands. In India Jag
airs on Star World.
PTC president L. Brent Bozell said, " Religion and the public
expression of faith is a crucial element in the lives of most Americans.
Our findings should challenge Hollywood to accurately reflect this
in television content. I am not suggesting that all television programming
ought to be about St. Teresa or even be all positive about religion.
However Hollywood should keep in mind the overall picture it presents