Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The FCC Cometh...

The Federal Communications Commission is getting ready to make a recommendation to Congress to pass legislation aimed at restricting the airing of violent television shows before 10:00 p.m EST (9:00 CST).

According to the Washington Post, the legislation would give the FCC the authority to levy fines on broadcast television networks and stations that air violent programming in the same manner that it does in cases of so-called “indecent” programming.

It’s clear that a First Amendment battle seems to be building-up between DC and the television industry, and the children seem to be in the middle of it all.

The looming request to Congress just happens to come the same week the FCC will release the results of a TV violence report that was commissioned by a group of lawmakers back in 2004.

According to the Post story, the FCC has concluded in the report that allowing the government to regulate "excessive violence" on TV is in the public interest, especially between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., when kids are likely to be watching.

How exactly does one define "excessive violence"?

And even if the FCC can come up with an acceptable definition of violence, how do you objectively determine what’s excessive?

You can’t, of course, because the question of what is and what isn’t excessive is entirely subjective and open to interpretation.

What I think is excessive could very will be different from what you think is excessive.

Not to mention that this ploy by the FCC essentially says that all of us are incapable of doing our parental duties and can’t be trusted to decide for ourselves what is appropriate viewing materials for our children.

Before this piece of legislation is passed, I’d like to see proof that the government can do a better job than parents at monitoring what our children watch... oh wait, that’s right, no such proof exists.

Said FCC Chairman Kevin Martin; "I think it would be better if the industry addressed this on its own, but we can also give parents help through regulation." Or... we could let parents be parents and have them monitor what their children watch... or would that make too much sense?

Here’s what I want to say to Mr. Martin; I don't need your help and I certainly don't want any help.

Monitoring what is watched by our children is the job of the parent and not the US Government. My wife and I choose what they watch and when they watch, and they are not allowed to watch any shows unless we approve it first.

Mandating what we are allowed to watch is another form of Government censorship even if it is done under the guise of protecting children from violence.

Aren’t there more important things our government should be focusing on right now?

Cross-posted as a diary on Daily Kos

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