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10 Ways Television Has Changed the Way We Talk

Political Correctness

No one would consider Archie Bunker a poster boy for political correctness. Archie was a working-class stiff who held bigoted and conservative views of the world. He offended almost everybody he met. Archie gave each minority group a name, and blasted everyone who did not share his views. Yet, "All in the Family" was one of television's most watched and influential shows in history. The show did not shy away from controversial social issues [source: Museum of Broadcast Communication].

Television has often set the agenda over what is politically correct to say. When country music's Dixie Chicks blasted President George W. Bush in 2003 for going to war in Iraq, conservative pundits Ann Coulter and Bill O'Reilly called the group's remarks "treasonous," a view shared by many others [source: Rodriguez].

Comedian Bill Maher got into hot water after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. On his show "Politically Incorrect," Maher suggested the hijackers who flew the planes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon were not cowards. "Staying in the airplane when it hits the building is not cowardly," he said. White House press secretary Ari Fleischer responded by saying "people have to watch what they say and watch what they do." Maher's show was cancelled soon after [source: Rodriguez].

Yet, some shows, such as "South Park," "The Sopranos" and "Family Guy," push the limits of political correctness. All three readily make use of racial, sexual and religious stereotypes.

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