TV banhammers dropped abroad

By Tim Surette

Aug 20, 2008

The United States of America prides itself on one of its basic founding principles: the right to free speech. The Constitutional right to blurt out (almost) anything we want gives us creative expression, which is a cornerstone of America's gargantuan entertainment industry.

We'll put whatever we want on television, as long as it's somewhat entertaining and sells enough beer and deodorant to make it profitable. Because of this, we let things such as "technical accuracy" slide--most people watching Grey's Anatomy care more about what's going on in between Meredith's sheets than whether she's properly clamping a systemic artery.

Not so in Italy, where a prominent medical group is protesting hospital dramas for their many medical gaffs, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The National Federation of Medical Colleges has singled out American-made doc shows ER, Grey's Anatomy, House, and Scrubs, along with several Italian productions, as major offenders and is calling for Italian networks to stop airing them.

"These programs are teaching viewers inaccurate views on medicine," said NFMC president Annalisa Silvestro. "They are spreading misinformation." In other words, if George Clooney offers to give you a tracheotomy, the NFMC says it's best to kindly decline his offer. However, she was curiously silent on how well the amorous nature of TV docs was representative of real-life hospital hookups.

Over in France, the country's broadcast authority has decided to keep its kiddies TV-free, says the Associated Press. France has banned programming aimed at children ages three and under, claiming what your mother has told you all along: TV is bad for kids! [Editor's note: Even Yo Gabba Gabba!?!?]

"Television viewing hurts the development of children under 3 years old and poses a certain number of risks, encouraging passivity, slow language acquisition, over-excitedness, troubles with sleep and concentration as well as dependence on screens," the High Audiovisual Council said in a ruling.

The debate about using a television as an impromptu babysitter has become a global issue, with most experts agreeing that plopping a baby in front of the tube isn't the best way to grow up. But all-baby networks, such as BabyFirst TV and News Corp.'s Baby TV, have popped up over the last few years amid the criticism, claiming that their programming helps foster the parent-child relationship. How? By fighting over the remote?

What's your take? Have you tried to set a broken leg after watching Scrubs? Is television turning our babies into zombies? Comment below!

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  • JayAy211 Dec 11, 2008

    Totally agreeing with France on the children-watching-tv-issue. Parents should be the ones teaching their kids and entertaining them, not dumping their own responsibility on the television. Concerning the banning hospital/doctor shows: i think they are kinda overreacting.

  • p3epe Nov 27, 2008

    I don't think people take medical advice from those shows, while it isn't all made-up, we know that they take one too many dramatic licenses for us to take everything they say as fact.
    France appears to be going the same way as England: Totalitarianism.

  • simpleton7 Nov 19, 2008

    The question is if anybody thinks these views are accurate.

  • Hibadajani Oct 14, 2008

    These shows are meant for Entertainment, this is true. But why not to benefit from these shows. Example, Grey's Anatomy reflects many interesting cases that happened in reality (according to a documentary about the series). Why not to know the symptoms of some illnesses. This helps a lot and God only knows when the information reflected in the series can be implemented in real life.

    I respect the Italian Hospital Group, at least they use a new much more interesting way to teach.

  • dan42889 Oct 13, 2008

    This is ridiculous, at least the Italian hospital group is. These shows are meant for ENTERTAINMENT, not a documentary used to train potential doctors. If they're going to ban medical shows, why not ban all other "inaccurate" shows and movies in existence? Why is Heroes allowed to air.. clearly their superpowers and ability to heal themselves (claire) is NOT a factual representation of reality! Ban HEROES! I'm being sarcastic but it truly is mind-numbingly stupid of them to do this.

    On the other hand, France's push to ban toddler shows doesn't bother me much. Kids that young shouldn't be watching TV, so I agree with them on that.

  • scotchex2 Sep 11, 2008

    Yeah, these bans are just silly. Turn the channel.

  • MissValleri Sep 07, 2008

    What the problem here isn't so much of the banning as much as it is the motive.
    While tv can be a bad influence, it's all subjective. For example, shows such as PBS Arthur or Dora the Explorer can helpful tools in developing social skills and comprehension. Banning selected tv series or genres does not extract the root of the problem. ACCOUNTABILITY. While television shouldn't be a substitute for parenthood, it's not the root of evil.
    It's how one nurtures a child, in my opinion, that can be a major influence on their behaviors as adults. By France's logic, every child whose been raised to watch Tom and Jerry should be violent sadist. I know, that's open to debate, but clearly we're not inundated by serial killers.

    Another truth is while it is a nice belief that tv will assist in better social behaviors and people, it's not the only factor.

  • bigger_kel Sep 05, 2008

    there's definitely something wrong here!

  • Cold_Ember Sep 02, 2008

    Wait, Scrubs isn't medically accurate?! No way! Real doctors aren't like the ones on Scrubs?! Well, there goes my final hope that life really could be a musical....

    Seriously, you have to be kidding me- of *course* Scrubs isn;t accurate and neither are the other ones. And here's a question- why do we care so damn much that the medical dramas aren't accurate, but no one give a damn about the innacuracires in crime dramas (specificall CSI and the CSI effect, which is basically what happens when you get jurors who watch CSI and expect that what they see on CSI is real and want DNA for everything, when in reality DNA is rarely used- it makes people expect tons of forensic evidence in every case when it simply doesn't work that way). Real doctors don't learn medicine from these shows, yet everyone is freaking out while we have potential jurors watching CSI and ultimatly setting guilty people free because their standard of evidence is what they see on CSI??? I really think they need to rearrange their priorities and look at what really is a problem as far as TV causing misconceptions.

  • clgardes Aug 27, 2008

    Don't be so naive. American's hardly have freedom of speech. They racially profile there's double standards everywhere and plus we're completely brain washed with all the propaganda provided to us from the great Fox news channel and CNN. If you think we're free over here you're wrong. unless you think cattle are free. Plus in France (I'm half french) parents are more responsible and don't just put there kids in front of the tv when they don't feel like taking care of them. most of the time french children don't really watch tv. it's not a part of the culture. I know i spoke in generalities but for the sake of argument i just needed to. Otherwise the french aren't perfect either, but i think it's unfair to judge when most of the time people know nothing about it.

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