ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture

Following is an edited email release we sent out July 14, 2004.

From the
ChildCare Action Project (CAP) Movie Ministry
A nonprofit Christian Ministry
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July 14, 2004
Updated March 17, 2012
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DALLAS/FORT WORTH, July 14, 2004 - First, likely without knowing it, the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry echoed the position of the CAP Ministry regarding the influence of modern entertainment. Now, just today, we were sent several emails of how the Harvard School of Public Health, without knowing it, agrees with us by echoing the CAP Ministry regarding our R-13 finding first published in 2000. The New York Times article presenting the Harvard finding appears in full following the closure below. As you read it you might find yourself thinking, "Well, the CAP Ministry has been telling everyone that for years." and "The CAP Ministry already provides that." One of our emailers said "This confirms your findings regarding the R-13. Basically the media is again confirming findings which you made years ago."

The New York Times is not the only news service to broadcast the latest Harvard finding. The Boston Globe and others have done the same.

Scanning through the article I find, point by point, the CAP Analysis Model provides and has always provided that which is claimed to be needed but absent from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rating system: that indeed the CAP Analysis Model could replace the MPAA. And the CAP Analysis Model provides it objectively, not vulnerable to mood and preference subjectivity so you might be in a better position to have the information you need to make an informed moral decision whether a film is fit for your kids (or yourself). See our Now Playing page for an entry point into our more than 1500 analyses of films.

The Harvard study makes reference to information they gleaned from ScreenIt and Kids-In-Mind. Too bad the Harvard researchers did not first check out the CAP Ministry service and our R-13 finding or our CAP Rule of 1000 or any of our more than 1500 film analyses before they spent money on "discovering" that which had been discovered four years earlier. Much of their work had already been done: work that ScreenIt and Kids-In-Mind do not and cannot provide. ScreenIt and Kids-In-Mind do not use 80 prescribed unchanging investigation standards (Biblical values/morals). We do. Nor do they have a scoring system which uses more than 30 brutally objective mathematical operations to generate comparative AND trending values in each of six content investigation areas plus a final score plus an influence density plus frequency of examples per hour in each of the six content investigation areas and more. We do.

ScreenIt and Kids-In-Mind reviews can be and often are completely subjective, vulnerable to the mood and preferences of the reviewer. By using copyrighted prescribed investigation standards, our model is insulated from the mood and preferences of the investigator, thus ensuring consistency and objectivity. By using prescribed unchanging investigation standards, CAP analysis of a 1950 film would be as reliable and accurate as an analysis of a 2050 movie. Truly, it is our use of unchanging standards for more than 15 years that mathematically revealed the currently 80 percent of PG-13 movies being morally eqivalent to R-rated movies (Ref: our R-13 finding). The graph of the R-13 finding showing the percentage of PG-13 movies which earned final scores equivalent to the final scores earned by R-rated movies -- the percentage of R-13 movies -- is provided below as a convenience.

Since the CAP Ministry is committed to a 25-year study, we will have the data for each new year as funding permits. Further, our data address not just the PG-13 rating but can reveal whether the same trending -- and I think this likely -- is present for G- and PG-rated movies as well -- OBJECTIVELY. Indeed, we have the data necessary, more than fifteen years of data for more than 1500 films, to prove rather than subjectively claim such a trend.

I have found no other media analysis model like the CAP Analysis Model. None give you the comparative/trending numeric tools, the consistency or the brutally objective detailed findings we provide. Indeed, no one can provide for you the thoroughness, level of detail and the Rock-solid tools the CAP Ministry provides. It is wonderful that such a prestigious organization as Harvard University echoes our findings. Too bad Harvard did not know about the CAP Ministry before they spun their wheels and spent dollars to repeat what we have already proven for you.

The Harvard article also makes reference to the need for a model that can be applied to ALL forms of entertainment. The CAP Model is applicable to any system or vehicle which imparts information to an observer which requires the observer to learn, to form an opinion, or which elicits emotion(s) or value judgment(s) in the observer. I would say that encompasses all forms of entertainment. The only thing holding us back is funding/donations.

While the Harvard "ratings creep" study indeed corroborates our R-13 finding that reveals a consistency problem with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the CAP Analysis Model not only tells us the problem exists it shows us how much and where the problem lies: it shows the relative position and moveent -- the trajectory -- of morality in modern entertainment. No other known media analysis model on the planet does or can do that for you.

This corroboration of Harvard with the CAP findings - Christian findings - is B-I-G for the Christian community who deserve to know. Help us not let the mainstream media and their contempt toward anything Christian bury another little "David" grassroots Christian ministry which provided before-the-fact corroboration with a Goliath university. Rally all in your circles of influence. Please, please help us distribute this most significant information by forwarding this page in its entirety to all your friends and lists. If you print and distribute this document, it is vital that you include ALL of it, especially the address of the New York Times article which is provided with it.

If anyone wants to volunteer to help us notify news agencies and others of the availability of the CAP Ministry's much more informative finding than even Harvard's, please let me know - Harvard.

Finally and maybe most importantly, please consider helping us with the expenses of providing this free service. All donations to the CAP Ministry are tax-deductible.

In Service to His Little Ones through their Parents and Grandparents in His Name by His Word
Tom Carder
ChildCare Action Project (CAP) Ministry
P. O. Box 177, Granbury, TX 76048-0177 |
A 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Christian Ministry
EIN: 75-2607488
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Read the Word, not just the words.


Study Finds Film Ratings Are Growing More Lenient

Published: July 14, 2004

LOS ANGELES, July 13 - A new study from the Harvard School of Public Health has found that a decade of "ratings creep" has allowed more violent and sexually explicit content into films, suggesting that movie raters have grown more lenient in their standards.

The study criticized the ratings system, which is run by the Motion Picture Association of America, for confusing and murky descriptions of movie content and called for a standardized universal rating system that would be used across all entertainment media.

The study, which was issued on Tuesday, quantified what children's advocates and critics of the ratings system have said anecdotally for years: that a movie rated PG or PG-13 today has more sexual or violent content than a similarly rated movie in the past.

"The M.P.A.A. appears to tolerate increasingly more extreme content in any given age-based rating category over time," the study said. "Movies with the same rating can differ significantly in the amount and type of potentially objectional content. Age-based ratings alone do not provide good information about the depiction of violence, sex, profanity and other content."

Rich Taylor, a spokesman for the Motion Picture Association, the studios' trade association, said he had not had a chance to examine the study.

But he and others pointed out that the standards for judging acceptable depictions of sex and violence in American society were constantly changing, and that it would not be surprising if that changed for movie ratings as well.

The study of 1,906 feature films between 1992 and 2003 found more violence and sex in PG movies ("Parental guidance suggested") and more of those elements and profanity in PG-13 movies ("Parents strongly cautioned"). It also found more sex and profanity in R-rated movies ("Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian") than a decade ago.

"When you look at the average, today's PG-13 movies are approaching what the R movies looked like in 1992," said Kimberly Thompson, associate professor of risk analysis and decision science at Harvard's School of Public Health, who was a co-author of the study. "Today's PG is approaching what PG-13 looked like a decade ago."

Ms. Thompson and her fellow researcher, Fumie Yokota, looked at a combination of data, relying on descriptions for each film provided by the association's ratings board and by two independent groups that rate the movies, Kids-In-Mind and Screen It!

They found significantly more violence in G-rated animated films compared with nonanimated films and concluded that "physicians should discuss media consumption with parents of young children."

The researchers created a scale for judging the content of each movie, with films that had more sex and violence getting higher scores. In comparing the content of varying movies with similar ratings, they found a clear upward slope of scores over time.

For example, Disney's 1994 movie "The Santa Clause" was rated PG, while the 2002 sequel, "The Santa Clause 2," which had comparable content, was rated G.

Similarly, the relatively gentle "Forrest Gump," starring Tom Hanks as a slow-witted Vietnam veteran who becomes part of the major events of the 1960's and 70's, was in the upper end of content for a PG-13 movie in 1994. In 2002 the harder-edged "Minority Report," starring Tom Cruise as a cop in a terrifying futuristic world, represented an upper-end PG-13 film.

In 2003 the hit thriller "Pirates of the Caribbean" which featured looming skeletons, and showed people being stabbed, shot and thrown overboard, was on the low end of content for getting a PG-13 rating. Had the film been released in 1992, its content would have been classified as at the upper end of PG-13, the study found.

It also found that 95 percent of the films studied depicted the use of substances like cigarettes, alcohol or drugs in some manner, and that the rating system did not consistently account for this. Additionally, the study noted that the association's ratings were often confusing, using different terms from movie to movie that made it hard to judge a film's content.

"When the rating says `action violence,' is that less intense than just `violence?' " Ms. Thompson asked. "What's the difference between sensuality and sexuality? They're in the ratings, but they don't have clear criteria for it."

She said there was a need not only for more clarity in the system, but also for it to apply to all entertainment media. "We're seeing this media convergence issue," she said. "It's the same people, the same studios making video games and movies and Web sites. It would simplify things for everyone."

Mr. Taylor, the association spokesman, said such a system would be impossible. "A single body can't rate everything that comes through the pipeline," he said. "It's logistically unfeasible. With the volume of hours of TV and cable and film and games and music, it becomes a mathematical impossibility."

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