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Newsnight

Did Mary Whitehouse have a point?

  • Newsnight
  • 28 May 08, 12:24 PM

whitehouse1_203300.jpgDid Mary Whitehouse have a point? Has British society coarsened as a result of the media and has that really changed our culture?

Tonight - after the documentary drama about her life - we'll debate what impact, if any, sex and violence on TV and in the media has had on Britain. And whether it is right to blame any of society's current ills on what it watches and reads.

Leave your comments below.

And speaking of Mary Whitehouse, find out why she was writing to Special Branch in 1968 about the arrival in the UK of Jim Morrison and The Doors. Paul Mason has the story here...

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Absolutely!

  • Comment number 2.

    I have never understood why so many people have said that, when you look at a beautiful painting, it is uplifting: then they say that watching pornography or violencs has no effect. It somehoe doesn't ring true.

  • Comment number 3.

    Mary Whitehouse obviously had a point...
    Read your newspapers or watching TV, even listening to the radio... it's there for the taking... our society is damaged and out of control...

  • Comment number 4.

    She not only had a point but she has been proved right many times over. Britain is the most Godless, violent, shallow, broken nation in the western world. We have thrown God out and the nation is lost. Sexual perversion and degradation is the standard fare from talk shows to soaps. Well this is the legacy of the sixties so live with it. And when people wring their hands and consider the shattered society and broken families scarred by drugs, bastardy, abortion and divorce, remember - you wanted to make the rules. Now live with it. Or get on your knees and pray for help from the only One who can help. But remember - those MPS who voted for keeping the abortion time high, and support lesbian parents and the government which persecutes families and fathers - that is the legacy of the children of the sixties. And unless the children of the 80s get their act together - it is all over.

  • Comment number 5.

    As much as people thought that Mary Whitehouse was as mad as a box of frogs, she stuck to he principles and fought her corner with vigour and with dignity.
    Maybe she did have a point but it takes more than censorship to ensure moral rectitude; what about education, parenting...need I go on??

  • Comment number 6.

    I think that TV has a lot to answer for, and its not really all about the sex and violence on TV, its about the perception of society, self perception and normallity.

    Its true that TV presents disasters and people in adversity, but as a function of Human Nature we all aspire to belonging in the 'have' rather than 'have not' part of society; TV presents the top end of the 'have' part of society (in a way understandably because what is interesting when the topic is middle of the road?). This sets vast numbers of people to perceive that they are failing, perhaps even as far as hopelessly! I think it is this contrast that exacerbates the further negative influence that is the showing of the use of bad language as acceptable (e.g in the apprentice (taken naively to be a representative (not reprehensible|repulsive) group of educated people)).

    However, the balme is not totally at the door of the TV controllers - no regulation, in the name of free speach, means market forces apply - these are not necessarily a force for good!

  • Comment number 7.

    I consider there is too much violence shown on TV. However the news bulletings with which we keep in touch with the world is full of violence. The main difference is between natural disasters which arouse concern and compassion, and some of the plays etc. which children and young people often watch unsupervised, and which little ones take as real.
    Also there has been a great break up of family life with the break up of marriages and partnerships which cause a great deal of confusion and unhappiness in the minds of young children. they also show a lack of morals and ethics which lower the standards of society in general.

  • Comment number 8.

    They may play a small part but as part of something wider.

    That wider issue being free market, neoliberal capitalism and individualisation. The latter being quite good alone, but in this case has pushed people to be as independent existing as possible from others and society, or as a family unit. Meaning that people are in competition with eachother for resources, jobs, services, houses, whatever. Society quietly breaks down as number 1 is infinitesimally more important than anything else. This obviously allows people to grow up alienated and removed, which is reinforced by media (which alone would have had little effect).

    As for some of the comments above about repenting to some likely non-existant deity, I don't think that's really going to help us out. Mainstream religions seem to prop up such damaging systems as ours and so will only make the problem worse.

    Ultimately, if people are not alienated by society itself, or don't have their own personal problems, then what they see on television is unlikely to have a personal effect on their lives in an derogatory way. Mary Whitehouse was wrong. Her zealous, followers are deluded.

  • Comment number 9.

    She, and many others, were right as far as violence is concerned; yet totally wrong regarding sex.

  • Comment number 10.

    The fact that after many a year you have this discussion, PROVES that she had a point, i guess, far sighted wisdom. But we are not experiencing anything that has not been written about already, what is taking place was prophecied in 2Timothy 3:1-5. ALl these experiences are a forewarning to something much greater, obey or ignore, you make the call?.

  • Comment number 11.

    Mary was shunned and scorned for being a "prude' but now that we have had our way in being "free" to break all restraint and doing what's "right " in our own eyes, we are living with the consequences: broken families abounding, depression, our youth falling prey to violence and addictions of various kinds and our elderly struggling and abandoned in "care" homes. Our pre-occupation with self- gratification and "rights" to the point of killing our own children for the "inconvenience" they present has led us to where we are now.
    Our eyes are the gateways to our souls, we have supported the media in feeding us perversion and distortion. Our teenage son is so sick of all the "gunk" on TV that he watches old movies on Youtube for inspiration as he himself and his friends recognize the modern media is pumped with "filth". There is hope as they decide to make a difference /train in media studies/ determine to restore some real talent, beauty and creativity to our polluted streams. THANK GOD for a generation arising that are repentant of their parents' rebellion against all loving restraint and who understand that boundaries are in fact not the enemy we perceived them to be!
    We are LOVED and ETERNALLY DESTINED called for SO MUCH MORE than gutter filth!

  • Comment number 12.

    Whilst the media took most of the blame in the beginning, I believe the internet has to now be the main culprit.

  • Comment number 13.

    I think the problem is less about what the media does, and more about how people react to it. It seems that a lot of people are woefully inept at interpreting what they see and hear, determining fantasy from reality and truth from extreme bias/lies.

    The answer is education, not censorship.

  • Comment number 14.

    The media, particularly TV, become the model of the culture and form the personalities of the viewers.

    Children and adolescents are more influenced than adults who have more real-life experience.

    Reality demands that we recognize TV as a school for how life should be lived and treat it as such.

    Let principles of freedom apply to the news and politics. Let principles of artistic expression apply when the young people are in bed.

  • Comment number 15.

    Mary Whitehouse had many opinions some of them positive and others negative.

    People should not forget that she was intolerant towards full equality, she took negative action against the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender) community and its publications.

    She held staunch Christian views and endeavored to impose them on to mainstream society; she desired to maintain a conservative, middle class approach to society and held repressive concepts about mass media.

    It is important that when reviewing her legacy, that you examine both the positive and negative stances she took.

    On a positive note she was correct that mass media would impact on society, that in certain cases pornography does have a negative impact on how people (participants either gender) are perceived and that we should be careful about what information/communications are disseminated and to whom.

    There is a case that we should further restrict violent and sexually explicit materials from being accessible to children (gaming and or mainstream media) and provide methods to help parents ensure this is easier to monitor.

    However we must be careful not to impose unnecessary censorship on the content that informed adults desire to view (have a right to).


    Parental Responsibility:


    Aside from mass media intervention/restrictions:

    We must also not forget the issue of responsibility; parents have a clear duty to ensure their children are not accessing inappropriate content (not solely broadcasters) and high tech channel blockers etc are not essential (pull the plug and a TV/PC goes off etc).

    It concerns me that many parents these days seem to be abdicating parental responsibility on the basis that many tasks are difficult and are becoming over reliant on intervention from government and industry (it is not their duty to govern the family unit).

    It is evident in today's society that parents often let their children watch media content after the evening threshold and/or permit them to rent in appropriate DVD's, download in appropriate web content and/or do not even supervise what communications they access.

    Wider society:

    With regard to violence, other factors in addition to mass media must be considered - our role as a society and our current lack of community values, inadequate policing strategies for engaging with youth. Lack of youth resources in deprived areas.

    Our society is not plaqued by violence soley because of sexually explicit/violent content on TV and other mass media channels.

    Evidence that mass media is not the sole cause:

    Many other European states that broadcast more sexually explicit and violent content do not suffer the same challenges as the UK.

    I believe this is because they have stronger sense of citizenship, they have better social integration policies, they engage with their youth better, parents are clear about their duties and they have a wider respect for their communities and families.

    So in response to the overall question, I would like to say that Mary Whitehouse was only partially right.

    She had some good ideas - but she equally had some bad ones.

    If we want to change our society for the better, we should invest and encourage our youth, we should look to other countries that are not facing the same challenges (or who have overcome them) and work out what they do well and how we can replicate it.

    We should adopt such strategies here and we should reinforce the role of the parent and reiterate their duty of care to their children.

    We should stop solely blaming the media for everything that is wrong in the UK and start working on a hollistic approach to tackling these issues.

    Conor Coughlan,
    London

  • Comment number 16.

    I remember Mary Whitehouse well as a teenager. Even then, I had a healthy interest in what she believed and still do.

    The moral decline in the UK is patently obvious; crime and disrespect being paramount.

    I look forward to the programme and how it is arranged, to the negative attitude of the then Director General and how the producers will handle the outcome of the debate.

    One has only to watch programmes on ANY channel, to understand that swearing in public is encouraged by the sequences being transmitted on TV. One should not berate the BBC in particular because ITV and most of the other stations are just as guilty.

    I can use the English language without swearing, make myself understood an achieve results.

    So I ask, why do people need to resort to using profane and obscene words in sentences to get their point across?

  • Comment number 17.

    Mary Whitehouse would have had far more credibility at the time had she criticised awful programmes like Mind your Language and Love Thy Neighbour. However, this sort of programme apparently did us no harm!

  • Comment number 18.

    Absolutely! I can not believe that we are still questioning this! Successful, intelligent people would not spend millions of pounds on 10 seconds of adverts. This is just one of many examples, some of which have already been bloged here.
    It is time for media to seriously evaluate its responsibility and significant contribution to our ever collapsing society. Under the banner of entertainment, drama and free world the media has massively contributed to complete eradication of humanity’s “sense of shame” and led us to suffer from the consequences of what I call the obesity of mind! Please and for the sake of young generation and the future generations let this debate continues!

  • Comment number 19.

    I am SICK of people talking about "Sex and Violence" in the same sentence.

    Sex is an ESSENTIAL, ENJOYABLE, HARMLESS, "fact of life".

    While VIOLENCE is an EVIL, HARMFUL, CRIME, that sums up just about everything Unpleasant about the Corrupt side of Society.

    Society, and even Mankind itself cannot survive or propogate without Sex, while Violence does nothing but DESTROY.

    All DECENT people should be Anti-Violence.
    Only PRUDES are Anti-Sex.

  • Comment number 20.

    The advent of slime line plasma screen TVs has made sex on the television almost impossible and responsible for an increasing number of casualty attendences.

  • Comment number 21.

    To all those who claim that watching TV has no effect on behaviour whatsoeve. None. Ziltch. Nada.

    I ask you, what about a multi-billion dollar industry that relies on 30 second TV clips to alter behaviour called advertising? That is just 30 seconds.

    Repeatedly viewing violent films and playing violent films will alter and desensitise people and alter their view of violence and their relationship to it.

    This does NOT mean that watching violence will guarantee that the viewer becomes violent, but that 'some people' who are susceptible, are more likely to become violent if that is what they surround themselves with.

    If TV did NOT alter behaiviour at all, all these industries who buy advertising are wasting their money.

  • Comment number 22.

    Yes she was the author of one of the best put downs ever. To a critic who told her that sex exists, she said or wote, Diarrhoea exists; I just don't want to watch it on television! Great one, Mary!

  • Comment number 23.

    We have thrown God out and the nation is lost. Comment 4.

    Lets not confuse a belief in a God or adherence to a religious doctrine with morality.
    Many do not find the case for the existance of a God, heaven, hell, etc at all convincing. It is perfectly possible to be moral without belief in a God. Most human societies in history have developed a golden rule along the lines of - treat others with the same consideration and respect that you wish to be treated - regardless of their belief system or if it involves a god.

    As for Biblical morality is what is moral commanded by God because it is moral, or is it moral simply because it is commanded by God?
    In Leviticus 19:20-22 God demands that raping a slave woman is punishable by scourging the victim. The rapist is to be forgiven. In Exodus 20:17 God tells us not to free anothers slaves. Numbers 31:1-54 God tells his followers to commit genocide sparing only the virgin girls, who are to be raped.
    As for the amount of slaughter God does in the Bible – first trying to wipe out all life on Earth apart from that on the ark. That was not too successful a strategy as after that he had to destroy cities, sell nations into slavery, (but on one occasion then had to slaughter babies all across Egypt, send plagues, famines and destroy an army to get them out of it), not to mention occasionally demanding sacrifice of his followers children. Genocide figures highly in his priorities and he seemed to like killing cattle too. I can see some street gangs really liking that God.

    What has happened in the last 50 years is that mass travel means its now commonplace for people to move away from their hometowns to access to education and jobs. That more than anything has broken down the extended family. The economy changed so that jobs relied on physical strength less and could be done by both sexes. Society realised that people should be judged by their characters and abilities, not by one aspect of themselves that they were born with and so on.

    I think we now have an over-developed society with an underclass that we can no longer find meaningful jobs for now our industry has vanished. The end of those industries also led to the end of close-knit communities with a sense of purpose and place. That is creating social problems, isolation and alienation in our cities. The spread of drugs and the arrival of immigrants are due to developments in mass transport and affect every country. They are factors too, but would have happened anyway simply because the jet engine was invented.

    Can the media influence societal trends? I do think the whole gansta culture (music/videogames/movies) that permeates some areas does influence some young minds, but that is more to do with the export of American culture overseas via TV and film. Is society in terminal meltdown? No, it has changed, but change is a constant. I meet polite, well-behaved youngsters every day, some even brought up by working single mothers.

  • Comment number 24.

    Before Mary Whitehouse we had the Lords Day Observence and countless other futile attempts to keep us a subject people

  • Comment number 25.

    Of course she made some errors of judgement (who doesn't?), but you'd have to be peculiarly and dogmatically blind not to see how the general gist of her agenda has been borne out time and time again. I think we will see this with even greater clarity over the succeeding decades, as it becomes ever more painfully evident how destructive has been the "anything goes" approach which we have been conditioned to accept as normal.

    That applies equally to sex as to violence – the casual commodification of both profoundly undermines the basis of what it is to be human. (And it is simply silly to say that M.W. was "anti-sex". How else do you suppose she had five children? Parthenogenesis?)

  • Comment number 26.

    Mary Whitehouse was the Ultimate Porn Icon, porn being the opposite of discretion; the media found her useful, and then quite rightly disposed of her. We end up with the society we want, however flawed.

  • Comment number 27.

    my god where do all the religious nutters come from?

    No Marry Whitehouse did not have a point. She didn't like any minorities, didn't like sex, didn't like anything that wasn't part of her little Consertive, CofE word.

    The Media is no more 'full of depravity' now than it was in her day and if I want a Moral Compas I'll take it from sources that mirror my own morals rather than ones that seek to enforce moral codes so outdated they where old hat in the middle ages.

    Personaly I prefer to be reminded of the horrors out there by poeple such a sThrobbing Gristle (a band so outraged by sociaties ability to keep up with their own caracature of it they stopped making music.

  • Comment number 28.

    comment 21:

    The most offensive aspect of the 'some people are unable to watch explicit media' line is that it casts large sectors of the population as stupid.

    In the Middle Ages people where able to consume scatalogical put-downs of receved Religious opinion perfoemed alongside the (slightly) more Othadox Mystery Plays without rioting in the streets and 'throwing god out.' Do you suges tthat we are less able to criticaly evaluate media that those people where? If so it says more about education that morals.

  • Comment number 29.

    She was a most unpleasant woman who inflicted her bizarre views on her family long before the nation was forced to endure them.

    I used to report to her son - the one she would never mention - and know a little of the extent to which this man was tortured by her.

    When she returned to England in 1976 he had a party to celebrate the fact he would never see her again.

  • Comment number 30.

    Nice to see some sense creeping into this debate. We take all the benefits of our modernist techno-society, and scream when it isn't quite the Enid Blyton scenario we think it 'should' be.
    Newsflash: people were having sex in the Middle Ages, and, crikey, some of it was even illicit.

  • Comment number 31.

    people didn't have sex in the middle ages silly, they where too Godfearing for that!

  • Comment number 32.

    i have to agreed with Dougal [# 1] wrote:

    Absolutely!

    interest of full disclosure, i am not from the united kingdom

  • Comment number 33.

    31.Elizabeth the First - you're stil denying it, after 4 centuries!

  • Comment number 34.

    ABSENT FRIEND

    Unable to post but no moderation either - odd?

  • Comment number 35.

    BLAND TITLE

    Dame Jane Goodall reminded us, today, on radio, that WE ARE ANIMAL. When "The Group" gathers round, and focuses on, the TV, what does the ancient brain of the animal infer? I suggest it responds as to an absolute leader and takes its behaviour therefrom. I make a prediction: Were we to scan animal brains in presence of the pack leader and human brains in presence of the TV, similar regions would light up. In so many walks of life we ignore our animal imperatives while they run us ragged. It has already been shown that a baby given a choice of Mother's face or a dumb rectangle, will fix on the rectangle. Our future culture is being shaped by a dumb rectangle.

  • Comment number 36.

    WORD FOR WORD

    I think I have cracked it! I used a word in my title that means an elongated square (ref. TV screen).
    I can only assume that some filtering robot thought it was a word meaning a body orifice because the first four letters are the same.
    I read all the stuff on "house rules" etc but found zilch. No mention of a robot with cyber scissors. Ho hum.

  • Comment number 37.

    evenmorelovely: read my other comments

  • Comment number 38.

    When you see Katie Price/Jordan held up as a modern role model for todays girls ..... Mrs Whitehouse quite probably did have a point! Shes a just an average looking slapper. Jordan not Whitehouse!

  • Comment number 39.

    Since when has there been too much sex on British TV? Britain has one of the most repressive laws on porn in the western world (I'm surprised no-one has argued that there is a breach in free trade regulations across the EU) - it doesn't even do hard core porn - unlike other EU member states!

  • Comment number 40.

    elizabeththefirst - I've tried to reach your comments, but it's not happening. How do I do it?

    mullerman - interesting point re MW/Jordan:
    imagine Whitehouse's attitude in Jordan's body. I wouldn't mind being spanked by that!

  • Comment number 41.

    Pornography differs from eroticism. Mary Whitehouse could never distinguish between them. Unhappily nor can many people on this list.

  • Comment number 42.

    British society has certainly become coarsened greatly and the threshold of acceptance for violence, intolerance and general courtesy and consideration for others has been lowered due to the younger generations being exposed to extreme violence, foul language and crudity for the last thirty years in the media, films and computer games.

  • Comment number 43.

    To categorize anyone who speaks of media as a major contributor to the collapse of our society today, a "religious nutter" is simply ignorance. It would be the same as one calling you an immoral pervert!

    I do not know anything about Mary Whitehouse, her school of thought, work, books or personal lif etc. The focus is not an individual, or one's taste on life issues; the focus is major factors, such as media, that affect masses of humanity and the change in society. Let’s think beyond our own little world --- and examine the facts and figures of the damage done to the masses.

  • Comment number 44.

    If counting swear words was the point, then Mrs Whitehouse had a point. Hmmm..perhaps not then. What she failed to nail, or lets be fair, even to understand let alone embrace, was the issue of taste, whatever she called her shibboleths. Among their many benefits, the arts, properly conceived, militate against banality, value-emptiness. These deficits let people down, and the arts can lift them up again. I remember the Whitehouse years very well and found her waspish crusade as shallow in its values as the drab vulgarity we have indulged in and increasingly do, perhaps with satisfaction in the belief than Mrs W is turning in her grave. No: wiser and richer spirits than she are doing that, which is the real pity.

  • Comment number 45.

    She was ahead of her time - although at the time I and many others had no idea

  • Comment number 46.

    Mrs Whitehouse was a member of a fundamentalist Xtian group called Moral Rearmament. This group was obsessed with 'filth' on the BBC years before she came along.

    She was dangerous in that she tried to impose her views on the rest of society - the Christian Right think they have all the right answers and if they ever got into power woe betide anyone who didn't share their views.

  • Comment number 47.

    An english essay i wrote in 1965 for my mock o level on the influence of what children see on TV was acclaimed at that time. Television and the violence on it and in Hollywood movies has influenced the entire world now with satellite dishes. Most of your readers' comments seem to agree. However I read a recent article that such electronic games reduce violence in young people rather than promote it, any psychologists want to comment on that?

  • Comment number 48.

    FOLLOW THE MONEY?

    Hard to believe that electronic games (I presume positive-contributor means violent ones) do not lead to violence. We humans are group animals who follow trends (Dawkins' memes). Kids never did flying kicks in the playground until they were seen on TV being employed by exciting hero figures.
    Perhaps the comment referred to came from a "biased" source?

  • Comment number 49.

    Her views may, or may not, have been correct, but it was totally wrong of the BBC and the Government to cave in to her badgering.

    She wasn't elected or appointed, she appointed herself as a Censor with no authority whatsoever. Freedom of speech is the corner-stone of our democracy, and Mrs Whitehouse did her level best to erode this key freedom because she did not agree with the views of others in society.

    My objection is not a left-wing-wolly-thinking love affair with 'multiculturlism' but rather a deeply held believe in the freedom of thought and expression we enjoy in this country. In my view, she is as bad as the extreme Islamic clerics that call for people to blow themselves up in nightclubs.

  • Comment number 50.

    No but she did have a perm.

  • Comment number 51.

    As a teenager I though Mary Whitehouse was a joke, now at the age of 47 with two young children I am horrified at the bad language, sex and violence on TV. My young children copy what they see, and I even get the comments' well such and such charicter said/does that. Soaps are a terrible influence over my children, and I often find myself turning them off. Some children's programes are just as bad, Dick and Dom is banned in our house as is Cavegirl and Hollyoaks. I really do feel that the boundaries are being pushed more and more, and that TV is encouraging bad behaviour, bad language and sexualisation of our chidlren. The ' BOX' in the corner is one of the baddest influences over children we have. In saying all of this though, I do appreciate that with the advent of satelight television it is very hard to keep unsuitable programmes after the watershed, and that teresteral television makers feel they have to push the boundaries to compete. I really do feel that Mary Whitehouse was right, and that TV is getting really really bad now. As a post note, I was also appalled at the use of the C word in the Mary Whitehouse programme, as this word was not in popular use during that time, and definately would not have been used in such a throw away trivual way. It was just put into the programme to be a sensationalistic point. I think that we it would not be wrong to clean up the time before the watershed, as to be quite truethfull, the present watershed almost means nothing.

  • Comment number 52.

    Mary Whitehouse

    Enoch Powell

    George Orwell

    They simply saw the future and feared the social implications. What a pity their warnings were ignored.

  • Comment number 53.

    Although her views seem out of date now, they are perhaps more relevant than ever. There is so much violence on TV currently, but it's not just that. How many *real* light entertainment programmes exist? How many 'gritty dramas' do we have? It's constant. I'm not against them per se but they're not representative of what TV should be. TV should really be entertaining and informative. We get masses of information through news and documentary - I've no problem with that.

    But we don't have entertainment. What last made you laugh, that you could watch with your kids? Perhaps Ant and Dec - and that's about all. TV is getting too dour, too miserable - and that's going to have a negative effect somewhere.

  • Comment number 54.

    I have just watched the segment regarding the legacy of Mary Whitehouse and particularly the section on video games.

    I think it is utterly irresponisble that the BBC reporter sat by and allowed two young children to play an 18 rated video game (I believe that it was 'Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks'). The reporter was holding the box in her hand so there is absolutely no excuse not to have looked at the large (one inch high) ratings.

    It is bordering on child abuse to sit by and allow young children access to that material.

    And it is sloppy journalism to talk about children playing that game, and talking about other 18-rated games such as Grand Theft Auto without clearly stating that it is only because parents or another adult has bought these games for their children and has sat by while they play it - indeed allow a film crew to record them playing it - that they have access to it at all.

    The reporter should be sacked.

  • Comment number 55.

    Just having watched the debate on Newsnight, one thing springs to mind: the game that was mentioned as an example, Manhunt 2, and then said to be "available on high streets today", well, isn't. Nor will it be for the foreseeable future, for the very reasons mentioned (which come from a BBFC anouncement after denying the game a UK release). Demonstrating, quite unintentionally, that censorship is still used in exceptional circumstances today.

    Furthermore, I agree that there is some responsibility of the media in causing our problems today, but not in content, by by facilitating lazy parenting. Why play with your children when they can play with a computer? Why teach them things when the Discovery Channel and the Internet can do that for you? And while there is a case that such things can be beneficial, this needs to be tempered by parental responsibilty and more traditional methods as well, which all too often is not the case.

    Not usually driven to share my opinions, but this broke my usual blissful apathy, for some reason.

  • Comment number 56.

    One would think someone should worry about more important things than Hollyoaks, of all things, corrupting society.

    And the parents of those 2 children are obviously terrible ones. Mortal Kombat is not for kids, don't let them play it. If places are selling Mortal Kombat to children, maybe focus on that problem instead? Videogame consoles have easily accessible parental controls so there is NO excuse.

    If people are nutters then they'll be set off by anything. Maybe focusing on how these nutters come about - gang culture flourishing because children have nothing to do possibly - is a better prerogative than just lambasting

  • Comment number 57.

    I think that adults are taking this out of all proportion. video games and sexy olent films aren't turning us youths into mindless violent hybrids, the only damage they do is when people get ddicted to them and focus on nothing else. and who is to blame for that? The supposedly responsible adult. don't make me laugh, if parents let their kids have a balance of video games, tv and sports etc, society would be fine.
    And if you would say why are all these kids getting murdered by other kids, well, i don't want to look like a racist but i blame immigration as none of the recent young murderers have english names. ponder on that one for a minute.

  • Comment number 58.

    I'm sick and tired of criticism of computer games thrown about in relation to youth behaviour by the uninformed press. Do they not realise that a majority of those who take part in the sustained sadistic behaviour of 'Manhunt' are not teenagers but men in their late 20s/early 30s with the expendable income needed to pay the £300 for consoles and £40 for a single game? Oh, and just because Grand Theft Auto is the only game you've heard of and you (that is uniformed adults) think you understand it because you've heard some murmurings about violence DON'T BLAME IT FOR EVERYTHING! Until you've played it you'll never understand it's extremely intelligent humour and parody of popular culture.
    Computer games are often labelled as killing simulators however they are not this in any way: playing Counter Strike online does not enable users to operate guns and bear arms. I do not understand how if computer games can be accused of this then activites such as paintballing can escape criticism; surely the act of shooting someone with any form of ammunition nurtures within those who take part a liking towards violence and numbs the process of inflicting it?

  • Comment number 59.

    I'd also like to add my complaint that the report on the program had 11 and 12 year old children playing a BBFC 18 rated game. As well as discussing their friends playing a different 18 rated game, without making this explicit to the viewer.

    Also during the debate segment there was no proponent defending video games. This is very sloppy reporting and I expect better from newsnight frankly.

  • Comment number 60.

    Penny dreadfuls, silent movies, radio, horror comics, TV, films, video games and now the 'internet' - like that's all bad

    Media gets blamed at every turn for society's ills.

    Maybe society is just more complex than our white picket fence, everyone is happy, everyone is fulfilled, view of the world.

    I'd hazard a guess that poverty is more to problem in society - ie people with very little struggling to get a share of scarce resources...
    ... but no one wants to blame that elephant in the room - far easier to side step it and point at the PC or TV screen.

  • Comment number 61.

    I believe that television, Radio and Books are there for us to enter a world that isnt usually contactable for most of us... I am apparrently related to Mary Whitehouse and im inclined to believe it. I do believe that we as a species so easily swayed in any direction that someone promises to lead are going to be influenced by what we read, look at and hear we are guided by our senses and as such learn by using them. However we are also blessed with some thing called free will, the choice to do what is right and what is wrong. Yes Tv, Radio and Books influence us but ultimately it is our very own decisions that make us do the things we do, and to say that the Tv or a book or the radio is what made you make the choice is wrong; that kind of an answer is a cop out, a way of saying i did what i did because i liked not holding back but i dont want to be held responsible for my actions. Mary Whitehouse wanted to stop that decision making problem and make sure we did what was right, what ever that may be to her.

  • Comment number 62.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm no prude, but my beef is the joke that is the 9pm watershed. I feel that the swearing, albeit the milder ones, have been allowed to creep into everyday speak before 9pm. Now i'm sure that there are worse things on tv than the words "Bl***y, P**s, Ar*e etc., but these words are routinely allowed to be aired when children can hear them. You may say "so what, most of the kids know these words because their parent etc use them all the time", but it still doesn't make it right to have nearly every American programme to use A** (Ar*e) several times per episode, even on the Simpsons. Dr Who with the words Bl***y and the Cockney phrase 'Bl**din' used the other night while my 8 yearold was watching, not to mention the scene of the two gays walking off hand in hand (I'm not Homophobic, I just don't think it's right to show this to kids!)
    The TV censors need to put paid to the gradual creeping in of swearing on ALL channels including SKY channels because if they don't, the producers to show how 'NOW' and 'edgey' they are will creep in and downgrade the odd 'F', 'B', or 'C' at 7pm. Quite why i'm asterisking the swearwords out is laughable because if the TV people see fit to allow them to be said, then i can print them, but I, unlike producers consider if kids will read this!
    My rule is if you wouldn't use this language in front of the kids and their teacher, then CUT IT OUT! It's not big or clever!

  • Comment number 63.

    For an important argument about this subject, I would recommend reading the article on the In-vironmental Disaster website entitled 'Sex and Advertising'. It can be found at https://invironmentaldisaster.com/?page_id=27

  • Comment number 64.

    There is a lot of far fetched rubbish on TV and this report and the interview afterwards displayed how out of touch people are.

    We live in a different world to that one of 40 years ago --it is faster, more enlightened, more open, more commercial, more money getting -- less deferential, less polite, less willing to give time to our neighbour, less willing to understand than to complain, moan or blame someone else.

    The modern family faces pressures that were only experienced by the rich 40 years ago. We can all go our different ways and sadly many do -- so we have fewer role models, less formative guidance, learning, instruction, and awareness of how to treat, handle, cope with others.

    Sitting in front of a TV, playing a games cosole or browsing the internet cannot be good if done in excess but if someone learns that there are more important things in life then they will probably seek them out and become rounded human beings.

    However not all this can happen by accident. We do need to learn how to inter-relate with others and in society itself. This is where other human beings become responsible -- they might be mums or dads, grannies or uncles, the family next door, the teacher or a childs older peers -- it probably is a variety at different times as children and young people develop.

    A modern word is respect -- if we all practised that on a daily basis we would no doubt be a more civilised, a more caring, a less violent or imature people and society.

    TV and the other impressionable forms of the electronic age cannot opt out of the need for practising respect, sensibility and awareness that being crude or highlightining violence is not good for individuals or society in general.

    That does not mean that we should not witness death, violence, sex or listen to obsenity but when it is out of context, unheathily excessive or just not natural then we are all being fed a lack of respect.

    Mary Whitehouse wanted to raise the draw bridge and hide behind a moat -- you could probably do this back in the fifties (when apparently everything was sweetness and light --excepting back street abotions, Suez, Hungaring uprising, the cold war, the loss of empire -- no probably no less violent or corrupt than now) -- in this age of instant communication and yet less appreciation of our social ills we need to educate our young to be aware, to act civily oh and to have more opportunity than we had forty years ago.

  • Comment number 65.

    In the Newsnight piece, the two young kids who claimed that their friends played Grand Theft Auto and turned into foul mouthed, violent terrors, did you notice that they were playing Mortal Kombat? As far as I can tell, all the versions of Mortal Kombat on Amazon are rated 18+.

    When parents take better care of what their kids are doing, then I will listen to them whining about how modern culture is affecting their children. Which is more harmful - Mortal Kombat, or parents who don't have the spine to tell their kids that they aren't old enough to play an 18+ game?

  • Comment number 66.

    If, as it claimed, that the case for tv violence having negative influence on the viewer is still not proved ( implying that 'no, it does not have influence' -- otherwise it would surely be more regulated ), then the corollary is surely that it is not proved that educational programmes -- eg. Open University, BBC Learning Zone, etc -- have any positive influence on the viewer .. ie. student' !
    So why are we paying for such pointless educational programmes in our licence fee ??

  • Comment number 67.

    When I was younger I thought that Mary Whitehouse was just an interfering busy body who was stuck in the past. Now with the benefit of hindsight, coupled with the development of my own maturity and life experience, I understand better that TV programs have contributed to this decline of standards. I'm witnessing the degeneration of our society, through programmes like East Enders. It normalises the worst behavioural traits that embraces dysfunctionality and vulgarity. We should have more programmes that seek to uplift people to achieve higher standards of morality and personal values.

  • Comment number 68.

    The truest statement I've ever heard on this matter is this. This stuff will only corrupt you if you let it, if you want it to. Violent people are attracted to images of violence. Everybody else recognises it for what it is and filters it out, or changes the channel.

    It's like alchohol. Being excessively drunk doesn't make people who don't use violence a solution to the situations they are in start being violent. It's the people who are violent even when sober that are made worse by alchohol. Banning alchohol doesn't change that.

  • Comment number 69.

    This Mary Whitehouse style argument seems to suggest that television and computer games should be used to make us better, more moral(according to who?), compliant, passive citizens. propaganda in other words. No she didn't have a point.

  • Comment number 70.

    perhaps when thinking of questionable media, mighty mary whitehouse would have agreed with the old doctor's diagnosis of:"diareahea of the mouth and constipation of thought."

    if hollyweird had a 1/2 dozen copies of mighty mary whitehouse, perhaps parents, and other sane people, wouldn't have to be so vigilent about getting out the teflon covered umbrella to protect innocent people from all the toxic fallout that spews out of the boob-tube and other hold your nose media.

  • Comment number 71.

    It is missing the point to say that Mary Whitehouse didn't like sex, minorities or homosexuality etc, she objected to their exaggerated, explicit and exploited portrayal through the media. The problem is today is that the breakdown in marriage/partnerships, underage sex, petty crime, boozing and taking illegal drugs is celebrated, humorous and something to be admired - Eastenders, Emmerdale and pop singers etc. This portrayal has only limited impact on children in secure family settings with good parents and role models, but disastrous on the burgeoning sector of children from homes with multiple step fathers and half brothers and sisters living off benefit where there is no other role models than what they see on TV.

  • Comment number 72.

    Mrs Whitehouse was little more than a dangerous bigot with personal problems about sex and sexuality.She came from a post war society riddled with repression and hypocrisy,and like many,used religion to justify her,even then, outdated notions of decency.More often than not,fundamentalist Christians seem obsessed with sex and she was no exception. Where she might have been right was on the subject of violence in the media and this has never really been addressed properly.

    If you want to ascribe anything to modern society's problems you have to look little further than our old friends,greed and selfishness. I do not think freer attitudes to sex and sexuality are really the cause of all our societies woes.

    I have fond and proud memories of protesting against her and even being dragged out of one of her 'Festival of Blight' meetings by suited thugs. Her meetings were nasty affairs,seething with hate. she was a rabblerouser and little different from right wing demagogues like Mosley.

  • Comment number 73.

    No she didn't. Personally, I wouldn't someone like her telling me what I can and can't watch, read or play. Are people getting less violent anyway? I mean we used to hang people publicly didn't we? All those nasty torture devices, burning people at the stake, etc etc...

    Also I watched violent programs, films played violent games but I've never been violent towards anyone else and nor would I be. Of course if the only thing to watch was songs of praise, I might start!!!

  • Comment number 74.

    Sadly

    I was far too young at the time to realise how right she was. But I have since thrown my TV into the skip and just use the Radio and Internet.

    I definately blame the BEEB (upper echelons) for most of our societies probs. Perhaps they will eventually learn that you can't throw good-morals out of the window without somesort of recompense

    :'(

  • Comment number 75.

    The TV she complained about is a symptom, not a cause.

    TV in a free country reflects the way a society is behaving, it does not lead it. If TV caused the problems we are seeing, then why are countries that censor or control their TV have exactly the same problems that we do?

  • Comment number 76.

    Mary Whitehouse wanted Censorship on TV.
    She wanted adult men and women never to see the harsh side part of life. She wanted to wrap everone in cotton wool and ignore the issues which affect us all.

    When the play "Romans in Britain" was presented to the public, she had hissy fits because of a male rape scene. Guess what, that play was fully booked up. And theatre management were laughing all the way to the bank. People do not like being told they can not see something which has been censor by one person who was offended by it.

    At the end of the day, Mary was blinded by her victorian/Christain values. It never makes sense to censor anything which is the normal part of life.

  • Comment number 77.

    She was substantially correct - - -

    We keep saying that kids learn by example from adults, we show them educational videos and expect them to absorb the content, food and toy manufacturers spend billions on advertising, we than say that violent TV, video and computer games have no affect on their behaviour.

    It does not stack up.

  • Comment number 78.

    Mary Whitehouse and the (tiny) National Viewers and Listeners association tried to view modern culture through the eyes of Victorian fundamentalist 'Christian's'.

    No surprise that they were frightened and confused by what they saw.

    Her instinctive reaction was to try and destroy what she didn't understand i.e. a changing world, by demanding censorship of everything that didn't accord with the narrowest worldview imaginable.

    Fortunately, 99% of the population saw her as an amusing sideshow.

  • Comment number 79.

    The main thing that comes over here is that most people think they can watch what they like and not be affected, but they aren't sure about other people - this is the same as everyone thinking they are the greatest driver in the world and the problem is all the others. It is almost impossible now to let adults see stuff and to keep it from kids - so we need a real good debate about how pornography, screen violence etc degrades women, and should it be allowed.

  • Comment number 80.

    Mrs Whitehouse was a force of reaction, vindictive and obsessed by a perverse view of sex and sexuality (she was the one who used the words dirty and filth) she added TV violence to try and bolster her support.

    Hugh Carlton Green was right to ignore her - some of the radio and TV of that time - Till Death do us Part, Round the Horn and some of the TV plays genuinely broke new ground.

    If anything Mrs Whitehouse helped make things worse in relation to TV violence but associating it with sex - a more focussed and more intelligent approach might have caused a more thoughtful debate.

    One final point - with more channels and remote controls - that switch is even easier to use.

  • Comment number 81.

    I was around when Mary Whitehouse and her good friend Lord Longford were trying to impose their views on the rest of us. I didn't, and I don't now, agree with their stance on sex (any gender). But I do believe, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that the violence we are now seeing in our society has been helped to spread by the irresponsible actions of all types of media. I don't mean ordinary folk rushing out after a violent pc game and killing the first person they come across. I'm talking about people who are already predisposed to violence being given extra lessons in how to inflict pain, I'm talking about lessons in violence from news bulletins and newspaper headlines. I'm talking about stronger censorship on sex than on violence, it's okay to kill someone but not have sex. It has become 'uncool' for the media to advertise people being nice to each other (see Eastenders). Apparently it doesn't get as many ratings as nastiness. In that respect Mary Whitehouse had her finger on the pulse.

    So what are the media going to do about it? Nothing, because they think they'll lose subscribers. Well, NEWSFLASH!, there are 65 million people in this country. What are they watching/reading if not your programme/newspaper? Have you got it wrong?

  • Comment number 82.

    After all these years I do beleive Mary Whitehouse did have a point. There is no doubt in my mind that if you are exposed to such morally corrupt media such as tv, newspapers/magazines, computer games, internet on an everyday basis that the weakest/vunerable in society will mimic and aspire to a lesser or greater degree to be what they see.

    I beleive that what some people see is also what they learn.

    Because this moral corruption within the media is so prolific, people will beleive that this is what life is about - it isn't, life is what you make it. But sadly for so many people the media world is a role model and their bad behaviour/habits affect everyone else.

    Just ask yourself this - were people anywhere near as morally corrupt before mass media came along as they are today?

  • Comment number 83.

    I have always believed that the BBC has been taken over by the Satan's people. Mary Whitehouse is right.

  • Comment number 84.

    If Mary Whitehouse had got her way, what's the worst that could have happened? It's not like it would have caused people to get killed or anything. The worst case scenario would have been that some couch potatoes would have got a bit bored watching telly - oh dear, what a tragedy!

    But with regard to the negative consequences of a society getting desensitised to violence, hmm, maybe the couch potatoes will have to explain to the mothers of youth stabbing victims that their children's murder was worth it for the sake of some entertaining telly!

    If Mary Whitehouse had got her way, our crime rate would have more in common with Japan than America.

  • Comment number 85.

    yes, tv may show some things that are not pleasing to all. but this is the sign of a free and fair society that allows programs for people from all walks of life and provides good representation of the world today.
    TV shows anything from songs of praise to Queer As Folk and i think this represents an accepting society.
    sex and homosexuality is real life, so too is voilence. if we see it on the news and in our towns why should it be taboo on our televisions?
    somethings especially need to be discussed, we should not hide from the world's problems.
    I agree with a previous comment that TV is a symptom not a cause of any percieved moral wrongs.
    Whether whitehouse could accept it or not, society has changed, Britain has a new modern identity and so too do the British people. Britain is more accepting of things like homosexuality so it will be shown on television because it is real life and i believe bbc is dedicated to portraying that. Britain also does have negative imagery in some areas such as sexualisation of young women but should we not be looking at other medias to combat this - for example newspapers. and women themselves who degrade themselves.
    As for religion, it is simply a fact now that British people are less religious, less christian maybe specifically. I do not think the BBC has any need to enforce christian ideals on to their programs. Though Whitehouse maintained that the BBC used negative (filthy, whatever) propaganda surely christian control of our television would be indoctrination. at least tv is currently free to document any religion.
    Most issues whitehouse was concerned with are simply change or sometimes problems within society.

  • Comment number 86.

    She was a puritanical, interfering busybody.
    Too many of this sort of person expect the government of the day to legislate for everything which appears to be immoral. This takes personal responsibilty away from the individual and encourages the "getting away with it" attitude which drives many of the more sordid and disgusting practises underground.
    We need responsible parents, who know what their offspring are reading or viewing, and we need schools to be places where kids learned respect for others and where teachers weren't called by their first names. Then there is the final solution; if you dont like what you read or see, then dont read, dont look, and turn the damn thing off!!

  • Comment number 87.

    "If, as it claimed, that the case for tv violence having negative influence on the viewer is still not proved ( implying that 'no, it does not have influence' -- otherwise it would surely be more regulated ), then the corollary is surely that it is not proved that educational programmes -- eg. Open University, BBC Learning Zone, etc -- have any positive influence on the viewer .. ie. student'"

    This is assumption stupid, unless you remove free will out of the equation. People want to learn, they can, it's not against the law - TV is good medium to help some people.

    Lets ban books too while we're at it because you can read books and learn; therefore violent fiction or erotic fiction is clearly a recipe for blood, thunder and debauch society - nonsense.

    There is so much violence portrayed in the mass media today that is viewed by billions of people, that empirical evidence would have been compiled by now to show the causal links between acts of violence and watching violent media. A day wouldn't go by without another person triggered by TV or film to commit a violent act - funny it doesn't work like that.

    Not surprisingly that database hasn't even started as there is no link - however violent people have been found to have been beaten as children, bullied, abused by adults and so on. Lets just stick to the facts and not perceptions dreamed up by the Daily Mail editorial team to help sell advertising space through breeding fear about the media's game plan to brainwash us all.


  • Comment number 88.

    I've always wondered why people like Mary Whitehouse seem to always link sex'n'violence likes its one thing.

    They must be doing something terribly wrong in the bedroom

  • Comment number 89.

    Funny how the anyone who criticises the media is ridiculed, lampooned, misquoted, and maligned by ... guess who ... the media! Mrs Whitehouse was never given a fair hearing.

    No doubt the liberal media clique patted themselves on the back for a job well done at stitching Mary Whitehouse up with their gross, one-sided caricature. Meanwhile the rest of us have had to pay the consequences.

  • Comment number 90.

    Funny how the anyone who criticises the media is ridiculed, lampooned, misquoted, and maligned by ... guess who ... the media! Mrs Whitehouse was never given a fair hearing.

    No doubt the liberal media clique patted themselves on the back for a job well done at stitching Mary Whitehouse up with their gross, one-sided caricature. Meanwhile the rest of us have had to pay the consequences.

  • Comment number 91.

    I think MW's views were far more prophetic than even she realised. I'm no prude nor too sensitive but I deplore the diet of antisocial, immoral, uncouth and sometimes criminal behaviour beamed into our homes every day. If TV could not influence peoples thinking we would'nt have commercial channels. So we do need to be thinking about the examples it sets to the gulible and the young. I got rid of my TV a while back and now enjoy the Radio where the images are so much better and less offensive. But certainly programs such as "Eastenders" have sponsored the "Stuff You - Me First" society we now have to bear. So yes, MW was spot on and still is.

  • Comment number 92.

    Arguably we live in one of the least violent times in history you were more likely to get murdered in 19th or 18th century England than you are today and 9 million Jews were murdered during the last war before we knew what Television was so the idea that it is responsible for all the ills of society is palpable nonsense. However anyone who says that Television does not effect peoples behaviour should ask them selves why companies spend so much money advertising on TV and ask themselves why after five years of broadcasting, Bhutan's government is considering legislation to regulate what the country's people can watch.

    https://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/3812275.stm

    But if anyone can explain what the lyrics to “I am a Walrus” mean and how they are responsible for corrupting the youth of 1968 and setting in train the series of events resulting in today’s “knife culture” then please let me know.

    "yellow matter custard, dripping from a dead dog’s eye.
    Crabalocker fishwife, pornographic priestess,
    Boy, you been a naughty girl you let your knickers down
    I am the egg man, they are the eggmen.
    I am the Walrus, goo goo gjoob g’goo goo g’joob

  • Comment number 93.

    happybrian123 which sky fairy do you worship ?

  • Comment number 94.

    I agree with Chris Dunkley it's too easy to blame the media for all society's ills. There seems to be some notion that in decades prior to 1960 Britain was a halcyon idyll and the 1950s in particular were a time when everybody ‘knew their place’ and nobody swore! This is nonsense. Blood sports and public executions had been the main ‘entertainment’ for centuries. Britain has a long history of being a violent (and drunken) society!

    After WW2 there were gangs of feral children roaming Britain’s bombed out cities, gangs and black-marketeers thrived and some were developing into organised crime rackets. The 1950’s Teddy boys had their knuckle dusters and chains; while domestic violence, prostitution, child abuse, and back-street abortions, had all been going on for decades! Thus for many people in 1960s Britain the new ‘experimental’ dramas actually reflected the lives they knew and alerted the more affluent to the ills in society. “Cathy Come Home” and “Up the Junction” showed the horrors of homelessness and the dangers of back-street abortions but Mrs W condemned them both.

    The breakdown of families is often deplored by those on the Right but let's not forget that it was a Tory government that oversaw the destruction of British industry much of it traditionally male (coal, steel, ship building) - thus forcing women to go to work because men were unemployed and the only jobs left tended to be low paid traditionally ‘female’ work. It was this same government that encouraged people to buy their own homes and mortgage rates have necessitated both parents working in order to keep up the payments. Hence more children are being left alone for periods of time and family time together is reduced.

    These issues plus poverty and poor education are the root problems – but they are too complicated to deal with so it’s easier to ‘blame the media’.

  • Comment number 95.

    If parents are so worried about what TV their kids watch or what videogames they play, they should take responsibility themselves instead of whining and expecting regulators to do it for them.
    The TV has an "off" switch and a variety of channels - use them if you don't like what your kids are watching, or put on a video or DVD, or get them to do something else instead of watching TV. Nobody is forcing you to watch!
    If young children have TVs in their own rooms... why? I don't think they bought them with their pocket money and carried them home! Don't buy your kids their own TVs and then complain when they watch them.
    Violent videogames are age-rated like films and aimed at adults. If underage kids get hold of them it is not the fault of the games or the people who make them - it's the fault of parents or other adults who buy them for their kids, or adults working in the shops who don't ask children how old they are. Just because some adults aren't looking at the age rating on the games and the age of the kids, it doesn't mean all these games should be banned - that would be like using a sledgehammer to smash a nut.
    If parents took more responsibility for their sprogs instead of expecting TV and videogames to do the childraising for them and then moaning about it, they wouldn't need any Mary Whitehouse types. Yes, she may have had a point about the more extreme content like pornography and violence, but I think that when it comes to what children watch, parents need to do the regulation themselves instead of expecting someone else to do it.

  • Comment number 96.

    whitehouse was an interfering, out of touch busy body!

  • Comment number 97.

    jayfurneaux comment 23:

    Spot on all the way through.

    Those who invoke god, most often the Christian god, in discussions such as this do not know their bible all that well. Many just remember the goodly bits cherry picked by the men-of-the-cloth and used as sermon topics time after time.

  • Comment number 98.

    Yes I think she did have a point, but she was to the extreme which got many people's backs up. It's easy to say it doesn't but everything we are ever exposed to effects us and the media here sensationalise everything and have a bias for bad news.

    Looking at the differences in crime and media reporting styles between America and Canada - which have similar gun laws and ownership - really highlights the power the media have on influencing social behaviour.

    Life is much nicer without a TV and bias newspapers which breed hatred.

  • Comment number 99.

    "Funny how the anyone who criticises the media is ridiculed, lampooned, misquoted, and maligned by ... guess who ... the media! Mrs Whitehouse was never given a fair hearing.

    No doubt the liberal media clique patted themselves on the back for a job well done at stitching Mary Whitehouse up with their gross, one-sided caricature. Meanwhile the rest of us have had to pay the consequences."

    You talk about the media like it's some cabal who rounded on her. By the 80s she knew exactly what she was doing in terms of the mass media market and how to work it... infact, the right wing, conservative elements loved her.

  • Comment number 100.

    Mary Whitehouse certainly knew what she was talking about and was no fool. She worked very hard for many years to fight the television, radio and film producers and the publishers of pornography. Do these people - and their supporters - think that we are all fools? If people - the young especially - are no influenced by what they see on television and films and read in books and magazines, why is it that billions of pounds are spent each year in advertising? Of course, we are influenced. Not only have moral standards in the UK plummeted over the years, we have become a nation of extremely self-centered and inconsiderate people who think of no-one but ourselves. Our MPs are doing absolutely nothing to uphold society and the state of our country is worsening by the day. Thank you Mrs Whitehouse, you did what you could; it is now our turn - before it is too late.

 

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