(Originally posted as a comment on this blog, I thought it was long enough to warrant its own post here.)
It’s hard to regulate media content (on a federal level) without straying into censorship. Perhaps the reason why lawmakers or the FCC are so reluctant to make policy changes is because they don’t have the power to bar certain types of content from airing, as that would be an infringement of freedom of speech. If the government had the power to remove TV programs deemed “unappropriate” for moral reasons, you can see what could potentially result from that.
Therefore, it is up to the TV networks to decide what content to show. The government could probably give “guidelines” or “suggestions” but banning specific things from being shown (“no excessive violence,” “no anti-religious themes,” or “no homosexual relationships”) could potentially be problematic as well as an overreach of government power.
But the 1st Amendment also gives us the right to complain about content that is racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. One of my favorite quotes is “freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences.” While the government cannot (and should not) restrict what people choose to say, we as viewers/consumers of content are free to criticize content (and creators) we disapprove of, as well as support content/creators that promote messages we agree with.