Body Count Rivals War Zone

From the January 2006 Trumpet Print Edition

Grisly images of death cross tv screens with increasing frequency these days, according a recent Associated Press report.

But let’s face facts: Media moguls serve what sells. Forensic dramas like cbs’s three csi shows consistently rate in the top 20, and often the top 10 of the prime-time Nielsen ratings—garnering upwards of 65 million viewers. Not to be outdone, shows like Fox’s Bones and the wb’s Supernatural are dying to join the list.

These shows helped to set a new high—or low, so to speak—for the number of dead bodies making an appearance on prime-time television. During the last week of September, 63 dead bodies were visible during prime time on the six major networks—up sharply from the 27 bodies seen the same week in 2004.

David Janollari, wbentertainment president, feels it is the “gross” factor that has Americans spellbound. “I think one of the drawing cards of csi is that it is depicted very real and sort of gross,” he said. “It’s part of why the audience comes to see it” (Associated Press, November 20).

Given the TV industry’s focus on the bottom line, producers are quick to play on the public’s appetite for gore. David Walsh, head of the National Institute on Media and the Family, feels, “All of the media executives are going to pay a lot more attention to what’s making them money” (ibid.).

But why such a demand in the first place? Week after week, millions of Americans are becoming further desensitized to gory, dark and violent images—the opposite of what God wants us to fill our minds with (see Philippians 4:8). As we consume more evil, we crave more evil. It is a vicious cycle that trends only downward.