We asked readers to weigh in on our "Morality on TV" package, and here are just some of your responses.
'DANCING WITHOUT THEIR CLOTHES'
"My daughter loves dancing, but I can't let her watch 'Dancing with the Stars' because the women wear less clothes than the local hookers. I have to DVR any sporting events so I can fast forward through all the alcohol and erectile dysfunction commercials. How do you explain Viagra to a 4 year old?" --Nick, Ohio
TV AS AN ESCAPE
"I think TV is meant to be entertainment. My day to day life is full of reality and my parents taught me about morality growing up. As a fully functioning sane adult, I don't require television to tell me what is morally right or wrong, I need television to take me out of the constant weight of the reality of my life." --Lynda, Toronto
JACK BAUER AND HOUSE DON'T HAVE IT EASY
"I do not see Jack Bauer or House as 'dark heroes' but, as walking wounded. When I read or hear folks complaining about House or J.B. I laugh...they just don't get it... Do they really think its easy to take responsibility where others refuse to? To do what is necessary? How would you get past the confusion of lies most people live within in a desperate situation? Give them a time out? J.B. and House both live by the same code... They make the best choices they can... Then take full responsibility for them... There is no higher moral code." --Quom
INSPIRED BY TV TO MURDER?
"Mr. Shore and Mr. Phillips, God forbid, should never suffer the pain of losing a loved one by someone who was inspired to act out a scene from one of their amoral, adult TV dramas. You can try to rationalize what they are doing anyway you want but it all comes down to ratings and what you are willing to sacrifice for the "fix" of something you have not seen before. I think I hear the fabric of society tearing a bit more." --Anonymous
DON'T TAKE MORAL CUES FROM TV
"If people are going to take cues from a TV show concerning what moral code to look to then I have to question why they chose a morally corrupt medium as their source instead of the Bible." --Brandon, West Virginia
BETTER PARENTING IS KEY
"If someone is going to embrace cruel behavior towards other people it is not because they saw it on a television show. It is more likely rooted in other mental issues. They would most likely act the same way except without the minor details that a character in a show portrayed. So I would suggest better parenting! because no matter what I watch on TV the morals that were instilled in me by my parents will always dictate my personal conduct. Furthermore, my actions are my responsibility. Blame cannot be placed on anything or anyone else!" --Greg, New York
TORTURE AND TOLERANCE
"Insightful article. I do think there's been a lot of 'ends justifying the means' post 9/11. Torture in Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and moving 'suspects' to foreign soil for similar reasons. With our borders, legal due process seems to be ignored at times, people being denied access to legal council, wiretaps without court orders, (un)Patriot Act, etc. I think torture, and perhaps its increased tolerance is part of a pattern; keep the public fearful and tell them they'll be safer if they give the government more power and give up just a few rights here and there. Reminds me of Ben Franklin's insightful statement "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." --Darren, San Diego
DON'T BLAME TV
"For time out of mind there have been stories that challenge what it means to be moral. Indeed, there is no one definition that covers morality in all situations. This is never an excuse for those who are immoral. It is up to each person to monitor their own behavior, and to each parent to teach their version of morality to their children. Blaming TV is just another facet of the modern tendency to deny reasonability for our actions." --Brock, California
OBSERVE THE TV RATINGS
"The fact that these characters are moral or ethical in their actions is irrelevant. These shows are RATED appropriately so that kids shouldn't be watching them if they are not of a certain age. It's up to the parents to make sure their children are watch shows that are good for them." --David, Florida
TV DIDN'T TEACH US FAIRNESS
'Media critics might give credit to television for showing us how good a man of color could be as president on '24'. It's possible that it may have..... or not. Those with a working brain did not need a TV show to bestow that knowledge upon them." --Charlie, Tennessee
'HOME MAKEOVER' vs. 'BREAKING BAD'
"For me one of the shows with the greatest moral example is 'Extreme Home Makeover.' This really shows communities at their best, pitching in to help struggling families in their midst. It's such a feelgood show, it makes me cry almost every time. As for bad moral examples, one newer show that comes to mind is 'Breaking Bad.' I watched several episodes and just couldn't get my head around the fact that the hero was a chemistry teacher trying to learn how to make crystal meth because he was dying of cancer and wanted to leave his family with some money. Yes, sounds like someone in a very desperate situation, but even with the terminal illness dilemma, I couldn't agree with character's rationalization for manufacturing drugs." --Joan, South Dakota