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"The Soul of our Nation..."

Exhibit Home Page || Ethics in Government || Prayer Breakfast

Nunn spoke about television programming at a meeting of the  Cedartown Chamber of Commerce Meeting in 1975


Trash TV

"…[F]or a long time, I have been a strong supporter of efforts to improve the programming presented each evening to millions of Americans over network television."
-- Senator Sam Nunn, "Television's Family Viewing Hour", Congressional Record, November 12, 1975.

Nunn's speech in support of a Family Viewing Hour, 1977

You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to read the text of some of the documents in this exhibit. To download the Reader, click here.

In 1995, Senator Nunn joined former Secretary of Education William Bennett and Senator Joseph Lieberman in calling on television executives and corporate sponsors to help stop "cultural erosion" caused by programming featuring excessive sex and violence.

Senator Nunn and Senator Lieberman (r) greet Prime Minister John Major, 1995

Senator Nunn

"… [T]rash television, with its emphasis on sex and violence and its lack of civility and its lack of decency, is spreading the message that conflict should be resolved by emotional outburst and by violence. That's the message getting through to our children."
-- Senator Sam Nunn, December 7, 1995, press conference. (Click here to read this document)

During the 1995 press conference, Senator Nunn offered the following solutions: 1) Television executives and producers should ask themselves "What are we doing to the society we live in?" 2) Parents should exercise discipline over their children. 3) Corporate executives should take the time to watch the programming that they pay for and ask themselves "Would I want my own children and grandchildren to watch this program…, and, second, is this program contributing to America's moral and cultural erosion?" 4) The American public should speak out against trash television and stop buying the products made by the corporations that pay for such programs.

Click here to read a 1996 press release on "trashy daytime talk shows" by Senator Nunn, Senator Lieberman and William Bennett.

Senator Nunn

Program from Images of Ourselves Conference

In February 1996, Senator Nunn participated in a conference that brought politicians and entertainers together to talk about television programming.

"What we want in terms of absolute freedom for adults has a profound effect on children, and it's that balance that we we're going to have to have a dialogue about: how do we achieve that; how do we protect children from the effect of absolute freedom for adults?"
-- Senator Nunn, "Images of Ourselves" Conference, February 24, 1996. (Click here to read this document)

Senator Nunn

Nunn family, 1987

"The causes of violent crime are many and complex: economic and social. I think the number one cause, in my view, is the breakup of the American family. … How does dramatic violence in huge doses affect children in a society which is fighting a tide of family breakup, teenage pregnancies, school drop-outs, drug abuse, child abuse, murder, rape, and assault?"
-- Senator Nunn, "Images of Ourselves" Conference, February 24, 1996. (Click here to read this document)

For more information about the Sam Nunn Archive, contact Naomi L. Nelson at libnn@emory.edu