Two federal agents stand on a desert highway in front of an open van, reviewing the scene of a massacre. Blood splatter and spent bullet casings litter the asphalt, as one agent describes how the van driver was shot in the back of the head.
“Just another Sunday in paradise,” the other agent says.
And it’s just another episode of the CBS drama “NCIS: Los Angeles,” complete with the graphic violence that has become routine for broadcast and cable television, according to TV watchdog groups.
Now those groups are cheering a directive tucked into Congress’s recent spending bill that requires the Federal Communications Commission to review its ratings system for TV content for the first time since it was implemented more than 20 years ago.
“We’re absolutely thrilled,” said Tim Winter, president of the Parents Television Council. “Never, ever once has there been any oversight as to whether this system is doing what is promised to parents.”
The 2019 federal spending package orders the FCC to report to Congress within 90 days on the status of TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring system, which went into effect in January 1997 to provide information about the content of television programs.