Cai Wu said many Chinese publications were full of gossip and sensational stories advocating money-worship.
He accused regional governments of spending money on "vanity projects" instead of basic cultural facilities.
Mr Cai, formerly the head of China's information office, blamed the changes on China's move to a market economy.
His comments came in an interview with state news agency Xinhua.
[Cai Wu appears to be taking cues from President Hu Jintao who lamented two weeks ago that the country's cultural scene was filled with 'vanity, vulgarity, and kitsch'.
Since then, some popular TV shows such as Take Me Out and Run For Love have been stopped.
And this week many top state performing arts teams have gathered in Beijing for a month of cultural programmes.
Now that China has become the world's number two economy, its leaders are turning their attention to the country's cultural influence. Shirong Chen, BBC China Editor]
He lashed out at what he called "vulgar productions" that advocated money-worship and consumerism.
"We publish more than 300,000 books every year, but how many of them could be compared with the scriptures inherited from our ancestors?" he asked.
"We produce some 400 movies and hundreds of TV drama programmes each year, but how many of them will be recognised as classics?"
He added: "In today's world, a country's culture and economy are inseparable. A government must pay more attention to culture and originality if it wants to improve the quality of economic development."
Mr Cai said "vulgar publications" were a negative result of China's move to a market economy.
In June, China's media watchdog issued guidelines following concern over racy dating shows on television.
Programme makers have been accused of provoking contestants to spice up the programmes.