Wrong Focus: Real Indecency Reform is Competition

by on April 27, 2006 · 8 comments

Technology Daily (subscription) reports that several conservative groups blasted Senate leaders Tuesday for not acting on legislation to increase broadcast indecency fines, and “failing to deliver an issue to values-oriented Republican voters”. Said Amanda Banks of Focus on the Family: “[t]here is no reason why in 2006, just months before this Congress is going to be out of session, it has not passed the Senate and moved on to the [president's] signature.”

But Focus’s focus is wrong here. Increased fines on broadcasters would do little to help parents protect their children from programming they see as offensive. Broadcast TV, remember, is only a small part of TV viewing–most is now on cable channels not under the FCC’s authority. And that authority, for good constitutional and policy reasons, is unlikely to be extended. If anything, given the legal challenges recently filed against the FCC’s latest round of indecency fines, that authority will be pared back.

Rather than the dead-end of goverment content regulation, the real goal should be to increase the ability of consumers to themselves control the content of what appears on their TVs. Congress this week took a giant step toward that goal yesterday–as the House Commerce Committee approved legislation to speed the launch of new, Internet-based, video TV services developed by Verizon, AT&T and others. Not only will these new offerings provide welcome new choices for consumers, but the technologies they use promise to make it easier for individual consumers to get individualized TV programming packages.

Such service would be a boon to beleagured parents. Rather than criticize Congress for not increasing the FCC’s power, conservatives should be cheering on this very real step toward consumer choice.

  • http://www.blindmindseye.com MikeT

    Maybe if more parents were focused less on materialism and more on working to provide the essentials, they wouldn’t have to work so hard that they cannot monitor and interact with their own kids.

  • http://www.blindmindseye.com MikeT

    Maybe if more parents were focused less on materialism and more on working to provide the essentials, they wouldn’t have to work so hard that they cannot monitor and interact with their own kids.

  • April

    Television and lack of parental monitors is the culprit here. What do parents expect when they plunk their kid in front of the “electronic babysitter” and expect kids to entertain themselves? A good number of kids in America today can’t read, but they can recite every theme song for tv shows that come on during the daytime. I think television should be abolished altogether. It lessens attention spans, likely contributing to the ADD epidemic in America, and gives absolutely no advantage over print news.

  • April

    Television and lack of parental monitors is the culprit here. What do parents expect when they plunk their kid in front of the “electronic babysitter” and expect kids to entertain themselves? A good number of kids in America today can’t read, but they can recite every theme song for tv shows that come on during the daytime. I think television should be abolished altogether. It lessens attention spans, likely contributing to the ADD epidemic in America, and gives absolutely no advantage over print news.

  • PS777

    Parents definitely should not let the TV set become an electronic babysitter. No question about that. However, the promotion of new content-blocking technologies is a family-friendly policy. By using these technologies, parents have the opportunity to take constructive action and explain to their children exactly why they don’t want them to see certain TV programs. Compare that to a parent who says (in effect): “Well, I’ll let the FCC act as parent to my children by fining programs that I think should not be aired.”

    For a full description of how using content-blocking technology is family-friendly, see this special link at TV Watch — an organization that was founded to add balance to the TV indecency debate by promoting parental and individual responsibility, not government intervention, when it comes to deciding what Americans will watch on TV.

  • PS777

    Here is the full link from the previous post. My apologies!

    http://www.televisionwatch.org/site/c.hrLQKWPGLuF/b.1368261/k.9605/Tips_for_Parents.htm

    Also, be sure to visit the TV Watch main page at http://www.televisionwatch.org.

  • PS777

    Parents definitely should not let the TV set become an electronic babysitter. No question about that. However, the promotion of new content-blocking technologies is a family-friendly policy. By using these technologies, parents have the opportunity to take constructive action and explain to their children exactly why they don’t want them to see certain TV programs. Compare that to a parent who says (in effect): “Well, I’ll let the FCC act as parent to my children by fining programs that I think should not be aired.”

    For a full description of how using content-blocking technology is family-friendly, see this special link at TV Watch — an organization that was founded to add balance to the TV indecency debate by promoting parental and individual responsibility, not government intervention, when it comes to deciding what Americans will watch on TV.

  • PS777

    Here is the full link from the previous post. My apologies!

    http://www.televisionwatch.org/site/c.hrLQKWPGL

    Also, be sure to visit the TV Watch main page at http://www.televisionwatch.org.

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