Paper Charts Values Gap: Red States Love ‘Desperate Housewives’ and ‘Playboy’

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By: E&P Staff

Much of the post-election analysis in the press has centered on so-called red state values and the alleged “values gap” in America. Perhaps with that in mind, The New York Times presented two stories which seemed to give lie to some of the post-election chatter concerning superior values in the red states.

On Monday, an article by Bill Carter showed that network TV execs remain unworried about any backlash to racy dramas in red states. In fact, the sex-obsessed “Desperate Housewives,” which now ranks second nationwide, is doing very well indeed in Tulsa, Okla, where it ranks 3rd; Orlando, Fla. and Salt Lake City, Utah, where’s it’s 4th, and in Atlanta, Ga., where it’s #1.

“We say one thing and do another,” said Kevin Reilly, president of NBC Entertainment.

On Sunday, the Times presented a map and chart ranking states in what it called “random” categories, again throwing doubt on red state piety. For example, the states with the three highest divorce rates are all red (Nevada, Arkansas, Wyoming), while Massachusetts has the lowest rate.

Top three states for readership of Playboy magazine? Again, all red (Iowa, Wyoming, North Dakota), and they all top heathen New York by 2-1 margins.

Suicide rate? Once again, all red (New Mexico, Montana, Nevada), with the lowest rates all-blue (New Jersey, New York, Massaschusetts).

Murder rate? Again, reds in the lead, with two of the three the worst (Mississippi, Maryland, Louisiana). Blues hold two of the three with lowest rates (New Hampshire, Maine, South Dakota).

The top three states for abortions, however, were blue: New York, Delaware, Washington. Blues also topped the list of readers of The New Yorker and percentage of people holding bachelor’s degrees or higher.

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