Senator Misunderstands Purpose Of The FCC

from the regulatory-creep dept

The FCC is supposed to regulate public airwaves used for communications purposes. The point was that this was a shared resource owned by everyone, and the purpose of the FCC was so that it wasn't misused. With that in mind, you can make an argument as to why the FCC should have some say over whether broadcast TV is used for "indecency" -- though, for many of us the whole issue seems sort of silly. The basic argument is that indecency can be seen as a misuse of the airwaves, thus putting it under the thumb of the FCC. However, it appears that some politicians are confusing issues here, assuming that the FCC has some mandate over indecency, rather than over the airwaves. Thus, we get stories about a Senator complaining that because he sees more of what he considers indecent on cable, the FCC should regulate indecency on cable as well. When told that this is outside of the FCC mandate, his response is that he disagrees "violently." Personally, public violence against those who disagree with you seems a lot more "indecent" than what people want to watch in the privacy of their own homes. His only argument really seems to be that he finds cable TV (and satellite radio) not to his liking. The Senator should realize there's a simple solution to all of this: don't buy cable TV or satellite radio. Or, if you still want it, just watch the channels that you don't consider indecent. Problem solved, without having to trouble everyone who does want cable TV and satellite radio.
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  1. identicon
    Oliver Wendell Jones, 1 Mar 2005 @ 2:26pm

    Its all about baby-sitting

    With indecency on the public airwaves, there isn't much you can do to "protect the children" short of taking away their TVs and radios, which also deprives the child of all the wonderful educational television that is available. The FCC can (and does) step in and set limits on what is allowable and when.

    With subscription services, there is no way for a child to accidentally be exposed to indecent material unless the parents are negligent. It's very easy to block almost any channel on either a cable TV or satellite TV system and control what the children have access to and when. These systems exist now and are voluntary and most intelligent parents appreciate them and use them.

    Then you run into the parents who don't want to accept responsibility for the way their children turn out, who don't want to have to learn how to "program that technical gobblety-gook" and filter out inappropriate material - it's up to the government to take care of these things!

    After all, the government (i.e., FCC) has been protecting me, my parents and grandparents from the smut and filth that's running amok these days for generations, why shouldn't they be responsible for protecting us from the kind of stuff that we specifically requested and pay a premium fee to see/hear each and every month!?!?

    It seems to me that the government in general is trying to assume responsibility or control everything in this country that might possibly offend someone else - and personally, I find that offensive. :-)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    TJ, 1 Mar 2005 @ 7:02pm

    What does business want?

    Yes, the senator's idea is clearly pointless as one can choose not to subscribe and the V chip was supposed to give parents finer technological control and it works if used.

    As far as the chance of his whim becoming law...
    Corporations now seem to have much more influence on the law than the public. While the government has thrown the 'nanny society' base a bone in the way of drastically larger indency fines on broadcast tv, as well as sent the corporate broadcasters a message not to sh*t where they eat as happened during the superbowl. But the big broadcasters are all intermixed with the companies that broadcast cable/sat-only channels, and regulating cable content to the same extent as broadcast would make their jobs more complicated and be bad for their business. Not to mention cable companies, which are said to make money hand -over-fist on sexually-explicit channels.

    Bush is said to be supporting the house's companion version of the bill this Alaska senator is trying to amend, which is a clear strike against his chances also. But if he is pandering to his constituents then he can tell them he tried his best to "do good" even if he accomplishes nothing. Prick!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    P&T Fan, 2 Mar 2005 @ 12:33am

    Check it out...

    Penn & Teller's Bullshit Season 2 now on DVD!

    Includes the episode entitled "Profanity" which has a whole section devoted to this issue.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Steve Garriott, 2 Mar 2005 @ 12:30pm

    As much as we'd like it to be about Morality...

    It's interesting to see how quickly people jump to the conclusion that this is some kind of attempt by politicians to regulate morality. I understand; it's the easiest way to get people incensed and finally get them to contact their congress-person to try and get something done about it. While I agree that that's how it's being sold, I think the real reason for this attempt to broaden the FCC's role to include pay TV and radio involves who would benefit the most from such a situation. As in All the President's Men, "follow the money." Right now, network television is struggling under diminished revenues and lost viewership. The real reason is that the networks can't compete. I think you'll find that the networks are behind this and not the religious right, though they will willingly lend their muscle to this. The networks want a level playing field. They want everything to be "fair" (which basically means that we'll do what the public schools are doing and pander to the least common denominator and the least offensive content--to me, the content on television in general is pretty offensive; maybe I should contact the FCC! ;) ). There's the real dark side of this issue.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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