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Editorial: Controversy over +Schindler+s List+ on NBC points to ratings system+s flaws Editorial TV Ratings System Controversy over 'Schindler's List' on NBC points to ratings system's flaws The issue: TV-ratings system Our view: NBC was co

March 4, 1997

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March 04, 1997

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Editorial: Controversy over +Schindler+s List+ on NBC points to ratings system+s flaws

Editorial

TV Ratings System

Controversy over 'Schindler's List' on NBC points to ratings system's flaws

The issue:

TV-ratings system

Our view:

NBC was correct in showing film, but system needs revising

On Feb. 23, NBC decided to air the movie which took home Best Picture honors at the 1994 Academy Awards.

Good move on NBC's part, right. And with sponsorship by Ford Motor Co., they even showed it commercial-free, a double coup for the peacock network, right.

Perhaps not. The film in question: Schindler's List, the real-life story of a German businessman who rescued approximately 1,000 Jews from Poland during World War II.

Most people gave high praises for the moving story brought to life by director Steven Spielberg to honor the memory of both survivors and victims of the Holocaust.

But, on Feb. 25, Representative Tom Coburn, from Oklahoma, got up on the House floor and blasted NBC for airing the film during prime time, when many children could be watching. He claimed the network took television 'to an all-time low with full-frontal nudity, violence and profanity being shown in our homes.'

Yes, the film did have plenty of violence and did have periods of brief nudity, but for a film to truly document the horrors of the Holocaust, this was necessary.

And, under the rules of the new TV-ratings system, which gave Schindler's List a TV-M, or mature rating, most young children should not have been watching, or should have at least had parental supervision.

Spielberg himself came on before the program, advising parents that the events depicted in this movie may not be appropriate for young viewers. He said that his own little children had not even seen the film.

Wouldn't it be nice if all parents were that responsible? Wouldn't it be nice if we lived in a perfect world?

The other members of the House critcized Coburn for his statements, while at the same time praising NBC and Ford in their efforts to educate the American public about the Holocaust.

Coburn apologized on Wednesday 'for appearing insensitive to the worst atrocities known to man,' saying he was only trying to point out some flaws in the TV-ratings system.

He brings up a good point. As of now, the system labels television shows as TV-G, TV-PG, TV-14 or TV-M. These criteria seem to concentrate on age, and not what the content of the program really is.

Many people are also still unaware as to what the different labels mean. They do not give parents any concrete information as to why a particular program might be inappropriate.

Perhaps a short two-minute explanation similar to what Spielberg did would work better. Something, however, needs to be done.

Schindler's List is a movie that people had the right to see on regular television, and most who saw it are better for doing so.

This may lead one to wonder, however, what may happen when Forrest Gump makes its network debut.

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