Jeffrey M. McCall is a Professor of Communication at DePauw University.  He is a recognized authority on media and journalistic ethics and standards, having been interviewed and quoted by over 125 newspapers. He has made over a hundred appearances on radio and television shows.  He is a contributing op-ed columnist on contemporary media issues, and is the author of the book "Viewer Discretion Advised: Taking Control of Mass Media Influences."

My Articles

September 18, 2019, 3:03 PM EDT
(Photo Illustration by Chesnot/Getty Images)
January 14, 2019, 4:03 PM EST
Recently released research affirms the concerns raised by parents, educators and critics regarding the controversial Netflix series “13 Reasons Why.” The dark drama about teen suicide, depression, and sexual assault is targeted at young people. It has been criticized because it addresses the real life challenges teens face in an “entertainment” format, clearly not the best manner in which to address such harsh topics.
June 8, 2018, 1:53 PM EDT
The nation has acted all shocked by the latest poisonous utterances coming out of the mouths and tweets of dullards such as Samantha Bee and Roseanne Barr. The nation, however, should hardly be astounded by such outbursts. The climate for such idiocy has been allowed to develop over several decades by the media establishment, the main cultural legitimizer in society. Sure, Roseanne and Bee are the disseminators of the toxicity and should be held individually responsible. The media outlets that empower them, however, must also be held to account for the disorderly cultural climate that exists today.
May 18, 2018, 10:45 AM EDT
Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings boldly threatened three years ago that broadcast television would be dead by the year 2030.  He seriously miscalculated.  Network television will be gone before then.  Network executives at CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox haven’t yet figured out their perilous condition, but their prime time lineups have already collectively hit the canvas and the referee is counting toward ten.
February 28, 2018, 11:54 AM EST
The nation struggles with how to address the presence of violence in the culture. Rightfully, people discuss gun laws, policing and mental health support. Citizens are protesting and gathering at government buildings to demand action. As the opponents of violence activate, they should make sure to demonstrate in front of the big corporate media towers in which decisions are made to saturate American culture with violent content.
February 13, 2018, 12:37 PM EST
A business model that forces consumers to pay for products they don’t want is headed for disaster. It doesn’t take a Harvard MBA to figure that out.  Such a misguided business model is especially doomed when the industry is known for weak customer service and for offending consumers. That’s exactly what is happening now as cable providers get ready to join the dodo in the annals of extinction.
January 11, 2018, 11:30 AM EST
The movie industry has well-earned its nicknames such as “Tinseltown” and “La La Land.” Over the years, Hollywood turned out dazzling and star-powered productions that entertained Americans and distracted them from the monotony of everyday existence. Films were bigger than real life, of course, but moviegoers liked dramatic escapism and were willing to spend a few dollars and two hours in a darkened auditorium for a unique experience.
January 3, 2018, 9:51 AM EST
The nation’s founders created a First Amendment to give citizens the right to express themselves freely, but even at that time, there was much confusion as to how such a provision would be operationalized.  All these years later, the nation still fusses over how free speech really works in America. 
September 22, 2017, 12:22 PM EDT
The freedoms guaranteed in the First Amendment have been the bedrock of the nation’s character for over two centuries.  The liberties guaranteed for speech, religion, press, assembly and petition have guided the nation through its historical challenges. The free expression principle is conceived as part of basic humanity, a controversial notion that still escapes the thinking of many other nations.
September 6, 2017, 11:42 AM EDT
National Football League and broadcast network executives are sweating more in this preseason than the players who must endure conditioning wind sprints in summer heat. The guys in suits and ties saw a big dip last year in television ratings for NFL games, and they worry another drop in viewership this season will start to hurt their wallets. A one year drop in ratings is one thing. A second year of decline becomes a trend.
August 17, 2017, 1:15 PM EDT
Responsible parents are rightfully concerned about the media content absorbed by their children.  It’s a tough job to monitor the many programs and devices through which inappropriate content can get into the eyes and heads of kids.  Sadly, parents get little help from the media giants that provide video content through the highly popular streaming and over-the-top video services.
July 18, 2017, 3:54 PM EDT
The content of American film and television “entertainment” has undoubtedly become more coarse and adult-oriented in recent years.  Some movies and television programs are not fit for kids, and many adults don’t want to absorb the bad language, skin and gratuitous violence that characterizes mediated culture today.  With that in mind, Sony Pictures last month started a “Clean Version Initiative.”  The idea was to allow consumers to buy and watch certain movies that were scrubbed of foul language, sexual innuendo and graphic violence.  Seems like a reasonable idea that would allow greater distribution of the movies and give viewers more control of the content they receive.
June 14, 2017, 4:18 PM EDT
The public sphere has become awash in outrageous, hostile and inflammatory messages. 
April 4, 2017, 11:45 AM EDT
Network television has run dry of ideas.
December 29, 2016, 10:52 AM EST
The year 2016 will go down as one in which Americans turned on the establishment and put a non-politician in the White House.