Miley Cyrus and the Media

I came across an interesting quote from Miley Cyrus about what is and is not allowed to be said and shown in the media. While Cyrus has been questioned about some of her own choices in the media recently, what she has to say about what is and isn’t said or shown in the media brings up an important topic for debate.

In the quote, Cyrus questions why certain words cannot be said on television, but TV shows, like the wildly popular Breaking Bad, are allowed to show illegal behavior.  Cryus also makes a good point in criticizing her own behavior. She says. “It’s like when they bleeped out ‘molly’ at the [MTV Video Music Awards]. Look what I’m doing up here right now, and you’re going to bleep out ‘molly’?”

I think Cyrus raises a really important question: Why does our society deem certain words as wrong, but actions seem to be socially acceptable? According to the Federal Communications Commission, they define profanity as “including language so grossly offensive to members of the public who actually hear it as to amount to a nuisance.”

If you look at many reality television shows, like Jersey Shore for an example, they capitalize on young adults in the party scene. I personally know many people who find this show, along with other television shows, offensive. But as long as the profanities that they yell almost every other word are bleeped out (which most of the time you can read their lips and know what they’re saying), the show is allowed to run on air at any time of the day.

Now I’m not saying that all shows with material that the public could see as offensive to be pulled from the air. If that were the case, there wouldn’t be too much left on television, plus it would bring up a lot of issues about our First Amendment rights. But it does make me want to research more about censorship in the media, and wonder if in our lifetime censorship laws will change.

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2 Responses to Miley Cyrus and the Media

  1. rwrollin says:

    I read this quote too and it made me think about the same things. It is interesting what the media deems acceptable. Whenever you look at how the media is managed, you will never be able to come to a clean solution for any issue. I think the medias job censorship wise is too try to appease as many people as possible.

    In media you have the producers, who have rights, and a purpose that they are trying to accomplish. You also have the consumers, who also have rights, and they want their media a certain way. The media corporations have to work a fine line to try to make everyone happy.

    In Miley’s case, maybe bleeping out the word ‘molly’ was a way for MTV to try to walk that line. Her performance was just as, if not more offensive as a word that represents an illegal drug. I think MTV especially is good at doing everything by the book as far as censorship so that they can push the limits in more ambiguous ways.

  2. kpodorefsky says:

    Media censorship is a really interesting topic. We are all entitled to our own opinion and have the option to view whatever we want. That being said, it should be fair for us to have the option of seeing, reading, or viewing profanities. However, it being open on the air runs the risk of children or someone who is unaware that it is going to happen to see or hear something inappropriate. As hard as you try to stay away from it, there is always the possibility of it coming into your view. Is this fair to the people who try to avoid it but can’t?

    Since Miley has come out with her new music, she has often been ridiculed by the general public about how as a Disney star, she is a bad influence on children. I believe that is a valid point, but she is no longer on shows on Disney Channel. They say “once a Disney star, always a Disney star,” but if there is a new generation of Disney fans, they might not even know who Miley is. If they do, the difference between her acting in Hannah Montana and now as this short-haired pop star are very apparent, enough so they would hopefully know who to act like and consider a role model.

    The problem isn’t only on TV and other media outlets, it’s in person too. You can’t control what people do because it is their freedom, to an extent. People act and dress inappropriately in every day life, and that is just as hard, if not harder, to control than what goes online and is performed. In Miley’s case, it is because what she does is an individual choice. How one goes out and portrays themselves is their own decision. The problem is that a kid could be walking down the street and encounter something that they shouldn’t, for example a derogatory comment full of swears or people doing drugs.

    So, what’s the difference between these? Television and media can be controlled, however like you said, “I think Cyrus raises a really important question: Why does our society deem certain words as wrong, but actions seem to be socially acceptable?” There is no way to censor what people do on their own time, but we are theoretically able to censor what they view, which makes sense because producers have the power to decide what goes out on the media. Beeping out a word is the closest we have so far without completely taking the line out while editing. It is about keeping the entertainment factor and making sure that media businesses aren’t wrecked due to these factors and public concerns. People have the choice to watch the show or not. If they think it is offensive, then they can turn it off, but I understand why people find it a possibility to take it off air because it could give the company a bad aura.

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