Fighting for the First Amendment

Fighting for the First Amendment

: I signed onto TV Watch, an organization unveiled today that “opposes government control of television programming and promotes the use of parental controls” — or as I would put it, opposes the FCC/religious-fringe jihad against the First Amendment.

All I’m really doing is lending my name and quote, along with others on a bipartisan list, in the cause of defending free speech. But I am delighted that someone is finally stepping forward to give Congress and the FCC cover to defend the First Amendment against assaults from the so-called Parents Television Council and others who would use government to censor what we can see (and hear and read and click on).

TV Watch released a survey that says Americans prefer to chose their own entertainment and don’t want government to do it:

: 86 percent of Americans say more parental involvement is the best way to keep kids from seeing what they shouldnít see. 11 percent say the government should increase control and enforcement of network television programming.

: By nearly four to one, Americans say more government regulation is not the solution, personal responsibility is.

: 91 percent of Americans ñ and 80 percent of those who say they ìoftenî see things they feel should not have been aired ñ say that ìsome people will always be able to find something on the television or radio that offends them. But the sensitivities of a few should not dictate the choices for everyone else.î

: Even among the most sensitive viewers, those who ìoftenî find television content objectionable, 74 percent of respondents said they prefer ìpeople exercising personal choice over what they watch on television,î and not ìgovernment regulation of what is appropriate.î

Here are some quotes from fellow signatories (some of them roped in by me):

: ìFreedom of expression is more than the sum of individual free speech rights. It’s part of a larger culture ñ a democratic culture ñ with a robust public sphere of inquiry, learning, art, and political debate. To protect freedom of expression we must do more than prevent government restraints. We must encourage and support the institutions and practices that make the public sphere healthy and vibrant, and that give everyone, rich and poor alike, a chance to participate.î

– Jack Balkin, professor, Yale Law School

ìThe solution to the problem of objectionable content for some is not heavy-handed government regulation that chills free expression for everyone. Rather, parents and consumers need more choices ñ better choices ñ and better information about those choices, so they can decide for themselves what to watch and what to avoid. Thatís not just better for creative artists ñ itís better for all Americans.î

–Jonathan Rintels, executive director, Center for Creative Voices in Media

ìWhy would we give more control to government when consumers have all the control they need over their individual TV sets? If the FCC has the power to remove or alter programs that you don’t like, it also has the ability to kill programs that you love. Thatís why it makes no sense to empower Washington bureaucrats when we can use the tools we have to decide for ourselves and our children which programs we watch.”

– Braden Cox, Technology Council, Competitive Enterprise Institute.

“One of the FCC’s original missions was to promote cultural diversity. But the indecency warriors threaten that mission. Creativity flourishes in an environment of free speech.”

– Susan Crawford, professor, Cardozo Law School

ìInstead of forcing yet more government regulation on the American public, it is time we find a solution that respects the rights of private citizens, the intelligence of the American consumer and the role of a limited government.î

– Nick Gillespie, editor Reason magazine

“Right now, the FCC only hears from a few well-funded, politically motivated groups. Despite their claims, they donít speak for the majority of Americans. Itís time for the rest of us to speak up and tell the government that we donít want them limiting free expression based on one groupís idea of ëgood taste.í”

– Amanda Toering, director of SpeakSpeak

îI donít like many things on television, but I also donít want the government determining what I can watch. A fundamental conservative principle is at stake here ñ protection against a big government dictating how we should live.î

– Stacie Rumenap, deputy director, American Conservative Union

îThis is about individual rights and responsibilities. If we increase government control over this powerful medium, politically correct enforcement of TV will follow the next liberal into the White House. We don’t need the PC police deciding what is appropriate programming.î

– Grover Norquist, president, Americans for Tax Reform

“We must protect the First Amendment and our right to free speech from efforts to regulate media ñ television, cable, satellite, or internet ñ that try to silence anything that could offend anyone. This lowest-common-denominator approach is driving the best creativity off TV, it is putting a chill on public discourse, and most important, it is interfering with parents’ rights to set our own standards for or children. The remote control gives us all the power we need. We don’t need to give that power to the government.”

– Me

The survey was funded by media companies (members include News Corp. and Viacom — both of which are fighting FCC fines, at last — and NBC Universal). No one is paid to be involved.

The organization promotes more information, ratings, and use of the V chip. I’ve said in the past that I’m not a great fan of the V chip (because it, too, allows the nannies to complain and get content that offends them marked with the scarlet V). But it’s what we have and so I certainly agree that information and the chip beats the hell out of government censorship.

And I strongly believe that it is time for Americans to rise up and oppose the fringers and nannies and defend the most precious principle of American democracy: free speech.

: More of my posts and rants on the topic here.

: Reuters story on the launch here. Broadcasting & Cable’s here.

  • http://michaelzimmer.blogspot.com/ Michael Zimmer

    The survey can be found here (PDF).

  • http://www.drcookie.blogspot.com JennyD

    Okay, I’m with you. I am a big believer in the First Amendment and marketplace of ideas. But as a parent, I do want a couple of things.
    I want to know that there is a time during the day when my kids can be flipping channels without hearing the F-word. I want to know what time that is, and when it ends so I can turn off the TV then.
    On television, I want choice. I want to pick and choose my channels. I want the History Channel. I don’t want MTV. I don’t want Spike. I don’t want the Style Network.
    I want my television to work like a newsstand. I know what the offerings are, but I don’t have to buy them all and read them. The First Amendment ensures that people can say what they want. But I don’t necessarily have to listen. Unfortunately, the way TV is designed, I don’t have as much control as I’d like to make choice about what my family and I listen to.

  • http://www.vaguespace.net Bill

    Those poll results are certainly refreshing (even though they will get debated by critics who claim that being funded by media companies invalidates them). They certainly agree with my own personal experiences – that almost everyone I know, even those that think there are too many “objectionable” things on TV, do not think government regulation is needed or helpful, and that the responsibility for preventing children from seeing this material lies first and foremost with the parents. Many in the news media and those at the FCC have either fallen prey to the propaganda by a small minority on the religious right and the PTC, or are using that minority to advance their own agendas. Either way, I’m glad a current of fighting back is making its rounds.

  • paladin

    Why only mount a “religious fringe jihad” on the right? Why not a jihad on the left-wing PC police also? The PC crowd has done more to harm the lst Amendment and suppress free speech than any right winger has so far. Let’s stop both, otherwise, it’s just petty partisanship. Sure you can say Murdoch is in on this, but his concern is $$$$$ and not just free speech, lst Amendment, etc.

  • Brian

    I agree that the right-wing is not the only side trying to stifle free speech in America, but in the “FCC and what is allowed on television debate” that Jarvis is referring to, it IS the “religious fringe jihad” leading this fight, almost exclusively. The “left” isn’t exactly out there fighting them, and shame on them, but they’re not the ones complaining about an F word on the Golden Globes. Focus your rants on the “PC police” on a site that is dealing with that issue.

  • Gregg

    As is typical with surveys funded by interested parties, some of the questions (and their pairings) appear to be troublesome. Take this example:
    Which of the following statements do you agree with more?
    -More parental involvement is the best way to keep kids from seeing what they shouldnít see
    -The government should increase control and enforcement of network television programming
    I can appreciate that they’re asking a question of which do you agree with relative to the other, but the two questions are hardly mutually exclusive. The first asks about the “best way” to keep “kids” from seeing content. The second simply asks if you think the government should “increase” (or decrease) their role in TV programming. No mention is made as to whether it is for kids benefit or not.

  • Epitome

    “Why only mount a “religious fringe jihad” on the right? Why not a jihad on the left-wing PC police also?”
    How about we just oppose any faction trying to stifle free speech and lose the juvenile attempts at partisanship?
    “Sure you can say Murdoch is in on this, but his concern is $$$$$ and not just free speech, lst Amendment, etc.”
    Not that there’s anything wrong with being concerned with money but even if his concern only was money (Which I doubt) his alleged motives don’t invalidate his stance on the issue.

  • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    Both sides of this fight are bipartisan. The FCC commissioners who have kneecapped the First Amendment are both Democrats and Republicans; the Democrats are the more frightening members of the commission. Congress is rushing to pass censorship legislation and it has unfortunate bipartisan support — from Brownback to Lieberman. But this effort to fight back is also bipartisan, purposely bipartisan; look at the organizations. This isn’t about left v. right; this is about rights vs. censorship.

  • Ben Sparks

    You may want to get out of that Sirius stock now:
    http://moneycentral.msn.com/content/P116156.asp

  • http://michaelzimmer.blogspot.com/ Michael Zimmer

    Jeff – can you point to a country who has a media regulatory regime that you wish for, i.e., lack of any government regulation of media content. Just wondering what it might look like, and see if we can observe any social implications (good or bad) of such a scenario.
    On a different point, I would agree that parental supervision is much more important than government intervention when it comes to protecting kids from media content. But it seems to be a valid argument that gov’t should have some role in those cases where parents fail to meet their obligation. We don’t rely wholly on parents to make sure that kids don’t buy Hustler; we also allow gov’t to regulate access via zoning laws, etc. Is there a similar case to be made for broadcast content?

  • http://michaelzimmer.blogspot.com/ Michael Zimmer

    Reflecting on my post above, one could claim there’s a difference between the gov’t restricting access to Hustler and the gov’t restrictiong content of broadcast TV/radio.

  • http://www.drcookie.blogspot.com JennyD

    Here’s what I want government to do:
    Set up boundaries, then tell me where they are. Tell me that I can expect ewvery television show to have people yelling Fuck at each other. Or tell me they won’t do this on these channels during 8-9pm. Or tell me where I can turn to where we won’t see people having sex.
    Also, make my cable company give me a menu that really gives me choice. They charge enough–the cable folks ought to be able to do that.
    Then I can be a good parent. And everyone else can screw and swear at will. I don’t to stop them–I just want to know where they are and when they do it so I can have my kids avoid them.

  • Evan

    I thought I might post again about the idiocy of Jeff throwing around terms like ‘jihad’ for in regards to media indecency, but then I found this article in the Washington Post that said it better than I ever could have. Here’s hoping Jeff reads it and recovers a little sanity.
    “When Columnists Cry ‘Jihad’
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/05/03/AR2005050301277.html?sub=AR

  • http://submandave.blogspot.com submandave

    Jeff, I support Freedom of Speech butam also not opposed to reasonable restrictions that conform to local standards. That said, I have to support Gregg’s contention that the questions asked and the responses gathered do not necessarilly merit the analysis offered by TV Watch. That a vast majority agreed that parental involvement is the best way to protect children (no duh!) says nothing at all about their opinion on the second choice. From a statistical standpoint, it is entirely possible that most people want more governmental involvement but just felt the parents were the best solution. As an engineer, anytime I see surveys and statistics being so obviously gamed I immediately subtract several points from the source’s assumed honesty pool.
    If you and your group really want to do something that both protects Free Speech and empowers parents, listen to Jenny D and support manditory decoupling of cable channels. This both places final control in parents’ hands as well as allows the true market for edgier programming to be more accurately evaluated.

  • Tom

    Remember family hour? Once upon a time, in the dark ages that were called the 1980s, the “edgy” shows such as Cheers (let that roll over your brain for a sec) didn’t come on until 9 when presumably the kiddies were asleep. And somehow, it didn’t seem at the time like we lived in a theocracy.

  • RJGatorEsq.

    The government wants to regulate indecency on TV?
    Terrific. Regulate away.
    I took my daughters, ages 6 and 2, to a bagel shop Saturday morning a while back for breakfast (Manhattan Bagel, US 41, Kennesaw, Georgia). The shop had a couple of TVs going; CNN on one, ESPN on the other. Just a Dad and his little girls; a real Norman Rockwell moment.
    Then the TV showing ESPN airs some ad for a “Girls Gone Wild” or “Spring Break Coeds” video. The video is some chick, stoned to the gills, dancing and pulling up her top.
    I look over at my eldest daugter: she’s staring at the TV, mouth half-open.
    In other words, I can’t even take my kids out for breakfast without them being subjected to smut.
    I posted about this on this weblog when Michael Powell was floating ideas about further regulation. I thought, “How can anyone NOT think this is just flat wrong?”
    I got called about every name in the book for daring to suggest that ESPN was wrong to air the ad at 9:00 am, that the bagel shop was wrong to show it, etc. I was mocked as a prude. I was even told that I was wrong to take my daughters to breakfast. It was made very, very clear that the lowest elements of our culture (that would be most of you) would fight anyone who would try to interfere with their “right” to see boobs on ESPN at 9:00 am.
    Could I ask the bagel shop owner not to show ESPN? Sure. But you know what? People should be able to watch ESPN without having to worry that their kids are going to be subjected to smut.
    You should be able to walk through a Circuit City or a Best Buy without running ahead to see what crud is showing on the TVs.
    You want your tits? Fine. That’s what DVD’s are for. Watch away, since that is as close as most of you are going to get to the real thing anyway.
    As for broadcast and cable TV, I hope they regulate it back to the 50′s.
    _________________

  • Evan

    Family Hour ain’t half of it.
    I was watching the Ferguson show who had Bill Maher as a guest last night, which has unintentionally hilarious.
    In answer to a question about what bothered him the most these days, he offered the canard about the ‘US becoming a theocracy’.
    A few moments later when discussing his view on cursing on his new HBO show, he stated that when he started on the Tonight Show back in 1982, he wasn’t allowed to say the word ‘ass’ on the air even at 11:30pm on that show.
    Yes, we are just screaming towards a theocracy and a loss of free speech, aren’t we?

  • ScottFromModesto

    RJGatorEsq.
    ESPN was not showing “boobs” at 9am – they showed a censored ad for a tape of beautiful young girls frolicking as they are known to do on Spring Break. What you saw was no more explicit than if you took your little darlings to the beach (the uncensored tape is another matter). There was no nudity and it was not smut by any reasonable man’s standard, so yeah, whoever called you a prude nailed it. If you want to go through life being the dad from Footloose, that’s you’re problem – but be warned, I’ve never met a girl raised by an uptight daddy who didn’t turn out to be a rebellious, emotionally disturbed slut. Thanks in advance!

  • http://www.411mania.com/politics/indextopic.php?comiccode=502 Stephen

    But I am delighted that someone is finally stepping forward to give Congress and the FCC cover to defend the First Amendment against assaults from the so-called Parents Television Council and others who would use government to censor what we can see
    A simple question: do you, or do you not, think it should be legal for hardcore pornography to air over network television any time, day or night? I’m talking any kind of sick (but otherwise legal) fetish you can think of, available over cable, satellite, or rabbit ears, at 7 pm?
    If the answer is yes, then we’ll have to agree to disagree (you’ll also have to agree to disagree with the vast majority of Americans). If the answer is “no,” then your problem isn’t with censorship but with degrees.

  • Sandy P

    –There was no nudity and it was not smut by any reasonable man’s standard, –
    I’m not a man.
    Where’s mine? How come no boys gone wild w/ crotch shots?
    How about stuck @ 30K feet on the way to Disney w/a 5 y.o. and watching Friends? The 1st 5 minutes, sex on the law library floor and then some babe in a bath robe w/Ross and Rachel appears?
    This is the 7 pm show.
    And SuperNanny is at 9 CST. Go figure.

  • Sandy P

    Until I actually have control of my cable and get to pay for the channels I want, we will agree to disagree.

  • http://www.elflife.com/ carsonfire

    Well, here in Texas, we’ve got a ludicrous bill working its way through the legislature that would regulate sexy cheerleader routines. Its author is — a Democrat! So prudery certainly is bipartisan.
    But JennyD has it exactly right. TV broadcast is a big exception. Leave books alone, leave magazines alone, leave teenage cheerleaders alone… but the public airwaves are *public*, beamed straight into households, and subject to *public* constraint, i.e., most of us demand that families are shown a great deal of consideration.
    JJ doesn’t pick great company to keep, here. While the needs and desires of parents like JennyD are perfectly reasonable, JJ’s siding with people who say incredible things like “one of the FCC’s original missions was to promote cultural diversity.” The FCC was created in 1934 in order to regulate the airwaves (radio), and its mission had nothing to do with diversity — in fact, it could be argued that by clamping down on the airwaves and making the business environment stable for the big networks, they were a force that initially *impeded* diversity. The only reason I can think of for a *professor* (who presumably knows better) to say something like that is to trick younger people, who don’t know that “cultural diversity” is a far more recent concept, into thinking that the FCC has only recently been corrupted by rethuglican fundies.

  • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    RJ… You’ve told that exact same bagel store story here before.

  • RJGatorEsq.

    Jeff says-> “RJ… You’ve told that exact same bagel store story here before.”
    Yeah, Jeff. Just like I said IN MY POST. Read much?
    Scott says-> “they [sic] showed a censored ad for a tape of beautiful young girls frolicking”
    It showed some chick, stoned to the gills, dancing and pulling up her top.
    Scott says-> “I’ve never met a girl raised by an uptight daddy who didn’t turn out to be a rebellious, emotionally disturbed slut. Thanks in advance!”
    Thanks? Scott thinks he’ll lose his virginity with my daughter? Mr. Heckler and Mr. Koch have exactly .45 reasons that won’t happen. LOL.
    _____________

  • Andy Freeman

    I suppose it’s an improvement that Jarvis has stopped arguing that porn-speech should be protected as a bulwark against attacks on my political speech, speech that lost its protection due to media activity.
    The porn-speech that gets Jarvis excited got its First Amendment protection under the penumbra of protection for MY political speech, protection that media has killed. The penumbra should follow, even if that costs media types money.
    Why should anyone work to protect the porn-speech rights of folks that worked to destroy said anyone’s political speech rights?
    > And I strongly believe that it is time for Americans to rise up and oppose the fringers and nannies and defend the most precious principle of American democracy: free speech.
    Jarvis should look in the mirror. Media continues to be the greatest threat to free speech.
    I think that porn-speech should be protected as a bulwark, but you can’t start there. And, it can’t end there, as Jarvis would have it.
    You want free-speech – support other folks’ free speech. If you won’t do that, why should anyone give a damn about your porn-speech?

  • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    Andy: English, please? What the hell are you trying to say? FEC? It took me awhile, but I came to agree that political speech regulation is also wrong. Is that what you’re driving at?

  • Jimmy Robinson

    “It showed some chick, stoned to the gills, dancing and pulling up her top.”
    I’ve seen all these ads, and they don’t show the act of getting “stoned” so that is an assumption on your part (reasonable, but as long as they don’t show the act there is nothing to complain about), and when these girls pull up their tops all the good parts are cubed out exactly as Scott says – no nudity and again, nothing to complain about. There are plenty of cultures where sexuality is not celebrated, maybe one of those will suit you better.

  • RJGatorEsq.

    Jimmy says->”There are plenty of cultures where sexuality is not celebrated, [sic] maybe one of those will suit you better.”
    Right back at you: there are plenty of cultures where the kind of crap you love is celebrated. Maybe one of those would suit you better.
    But, for the time being, you have the crap. It is as close as you’ll probably ever get to a real woman, so enjoy.
    In contrast to you, I’ll continue to try my best to be a decent man and father, raising decent daughters.
    _________

  • Jimmy Robinson

    “Right back at you: there are plenty of cultures where the kind of crap you love is celebrate.”
    Yeah…this culture. You’re the one that’s complaining so your little hack “right back at you” retort doesn’t even make sense, stupid.

  • RJGatorEsq.

    Jimmy says->”Yeah…this culture. You’re the one that’s complaining so your little hack “right back at you” retort doesn’t even make sense, stupid.”
    Ummm….the thrust of the article at issue IS how the “First Amendment rights” of knuckle-dragging mouth breathing mucus-braiders (a category of people that, sadly, includes you, Jimbo) are being infringed by people who are pressing for some mature judgment and decency in society (a category of people that, sadly, does not include you)….
    Let’s see…I give it two more posts before you bring Godwin’s Law into play.
    LOL
    ___________

  • http://unclehenry.blogspot.com Mario500

    Greetings,
    It’s nice to see that the issue of censorship in television (in fact, any type of medium) and its content being regulated still has two sides, but I must address something else in relation to these issues. Since the TV ratings became a fixture of our TV screens back in 1997, the Federal Communications Commission and groups in support of the commission knew they had TV’s so-called lack of “wholesome” programming in a corner pocket, but was this “helping hand” for protective parents ever necessary? Folks, these parents, parental organizations, and the FCC must accept the realities of today’s programming content and quit trying to force upon the public through media itself the biggest mistake since the Motion Picture Association of America’s ratings. TV and movie ratings have actually allowed the makers to go as far as they want with his or her picture. Unlike the MPAA and Entertainment Software Ratings Board ratings, TV ratings and their partner “The V-Chip” are a distraction for a population of those who use the VCR for recording purposes and/or viewers (adults and children) who are immune (or open minded) to elements of television that may be considered “inappropriate”. This may seem unimportant to y’all, but TV ratings in its respective medium is nothing more than extra clutter in a medium already obsessed with permanent on-logos, promotional graphics, and tickers. Ratings may have done the positive thing of allowing movie makers to express themselves, which must be acknowledged by the MPAA and its supporters, but the TV ratings are actually more of a nuisance and represent those in a continous effort in controlling what we all watch.
    In conclusion, I would help any organization that keeps the federal government out of both the business of TV users/viewers and the folks behind the industry trying to appeal to anyone interested. “Interested”, as in those with his or her own choice. As for promoting parental tools like “The V-Chip” and on-screen TV ratings, let humans teach their young ones about television content others may find offensive. Now if y’all excuse me, I’ll be watching reality in action on the local & national newscasts, and later I’ll be viewing programs I believe should appeal to anyone despite any objectionable content, “Match Game”, “Mama’s Family”, “Lupin the Third”, “The Price is Right”, “SCTV”, “Tom & Jerry”, “Merrie Melodies/Looney Tunes”, any uncut movie on non-premium television, and a little C-SPAN.

  • JH

    RJ:
    You said, “People should be able to watch ESPN without having to worry that their kids are going to be subjected to smut.”
    The problem with that sentiment is that ESPN is supported by advertising. Girls Gone Wild is an advertiser that allows ESPN to continue to produce content. They made a value judgment on what they should air as an ad, and they got money for it. ESPN is a business, like any other.
    If you don’t agree with the advertising choices ESPN is promoting, I suggest contacting them, as viewers are the ones holding the power over what ESPN airs, especially in advertising.
    But there is no special hold ESPN has over you or anyone else. Yes, your kids saw a Girls Gone Wild ad on a television during breakfast. If that broke down their moral compass, then you aren’t doing your job. It’s hardly a matter for Congress to be involved in. It’s akin to passing a guy with a laptop that has porn on the screen. Are we banning laptops in public then? One of the consequences of living in a free society is that we are annoyed by things that we don’t like. The guy who is playing rap music in the car next to you, the woman giving some public displays of affection to her boyfriend (or, as the case may be, girlfriend), etc. These are things that may annoy us, or may be things we don’t want our children to see, should they happen to be in the vicinity, but such is the consequence of freedom. The amount you are annoyed in a day is directly proportional to the freedoms you and the rest of us enjoy. Don’t take your annoyance to mean you get to decide how the rest of us get to live our lives.
    I mean, honestly, regulating cable because there was a Girls Gone Wild ad on that you happened to catch with your daughters while eating breakfast? That’s a hell of a stretch, and it makes a big leap to allowing the government further access into areas of our lives.
    JennyD:
    Pick-and-choose television would be preferable to the all-for-one system, but until such technology is not feasible from an economic and implementation standpoint, it remains that you have the V-Chip to block certain programs, including certain channels altogether, to make your family listen to whatever you wish.
    Also, a rule in the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (ß504) requires that “[u]pon request by a cable service subscriber . . . without charge, [to] fully scramble or otherwise fully block [any channel the subscriber does not wish to receive.]” So if you REALLY don’t want those cable channels you loathe so much, call up your cable company and tell them to block them out.
    Stephen:
    “A simple question: do you, or do you not, think it should be legal for hardcore pornography to air over network television any time, day or night? I’m talking any kind of sick (but otherwise legal) fetish you can think of, available over cable, satellite, or rabbit ears, at 7 pm?”
    What a slanted and unfair question. Just cause one assumes there could be, doesn’t mean there is. Cable already could air hardcord pornography at any time of the day, should it so wish (no FCC regulation, remember?), but it doesn’t. There are stations offering that (like the Playboy channel, and Cinemax on slow content days, and that includes any time of day), but hardcore porn isn’t a viable model in the way television works, namely advertising.
    I could imagine it now… “Oooo, baby, I wanna suck your–” [cut] “–whoa, now THAT won’t save you money on your car insurance.”
    It’s absurd to think sudden freedom would deluge all the channels with porn, which appears to be that leap you are making.
    If you are saying that hardcore porn doesn’t air at 7 PM already, then you are mistaken. The Playboy channel got a ruling from the Supreme Court in 2000, saying it could very well air porn at whatever time it wants, and that restrictive government regulation of “scrambling” was an absurd and unfair rule that had no basis or effectiveness.
    And, as I mentioned to Jenny above, you can readily block channels, either through the television or through your provider.
    ———-
    Voting with the remote is still the best way to tell networks just what you don’t want to see, and no further knee-jerk reactionism calling for the government to regulate it is going to result in a positive net outcome for anyone.

  • Andy Freeman

    > Andy: English, please? What the hell are you trying to say? FEC? It took me awhile, but I came to agree that political speech regulation is also wrong. Is that what you’re driving at?
    That’s a minor part.
    Jarvis is asking for porn-speech protection. I like boobs as much as the next guy, but what’s in it for me?
    Thanks to MSM, porn-speech is not a bulwark/canary in the coal mine for political speech by ordinary people. Thanks to MSM, political speech by ordinary people is not protected, so protecting porn-speech doesn’t matter to us.
    Note that porn-speech got its protection under the penumbra of protection for political speech for ordinary people. Now that said protection is gone, what’s the justification for porn-speech protection? Sorry, but market share doesn’t count.
    Why should I spend any of my limited-thanks-to-MSM political speech on MSM’s benefit?
    If MSM wants free speech, it can start advocating for free speech for others. As long as MSM is working against free speech for others, it has no claim to its own.

  • RJGatorEsq.

    JH says->”I mean, honestly, regulating cable because there was a Girls Gone Wild ad on that you happened to catch with your daughters while eating breakfast? That’s a hell of a stretch, and it makes a big leap to allowing the government further access into areas of our lives.”
    First, you use the word “honestly.” Apparently, you are not well acquainted with that word. To wit, would you please state each and every step in your reasoning process that leads you to conclude the only smut I object to on TV is a single Girls Gone Wild promo? I had thought that I made it clear that the promo was simply a single installment of the trend toward, to paraphrase Robert Bork, America’s “slouch toward Gomorrah.”
    Second, with respect to government access into our lives, one would hope that ESPN and other broadcasters would behave like mature, responsible, decent adults. If they do not, I have no problem regulating them. The federal, state, and local governments regulate huge amounts of our lives; I find much of their regulation far more intrusive, unnecessary, and otherwise objectionable than I would find reasonable broadcast decency standards.
    Third, in an earlier post, I said that I would be happy to regulate TV back to the ’50′s. I was alive during the ’50′s. It wasn’t exactly h*ll on earth, even though we didn’t have the dubious good fortune to see a middle-aged boob being flashed during the Super Bowl, the word “f*ck” being uttered an average of 68 times per episode of a popular TV program, mind-numbing violence, crotch-grabbing….should I continue?
    Fourth, how far do you want America’s slouch toward Gomorrah (apologies to Judge Bork) to go? Violence on TV is alrady so numbing that you have to have something like the blood spraying in “Kill Bill” just to evoke even mild interest. The word “f*ck” being uttered an average of 68 times per episode of “Deadwood” doesn’t even register anymore. Are we better off? Where do we go from here? Where does it stop?
    __________________

  • Eileen

    “Slouch toward Gammorah.”
    With all due respect, I’d call it a race.
    RJ calls a spade a spade. I don’t want to even know where we go from here, because the problem is, ‘it’ DOESN’T stop.
    Those who push for Gammorah will arrive where you’re meant to be. So very sadly…
    2012. Only a very few years away.

  • RJGatorEsq.

    I asked three questions (above), with regard to the increase in smut and violence (lump it all under the heading of “indecency”) on TV:
    1) Are we better off?
    2) Where do we go from here?
    3) Where does it stop?
    No answers yet.
    __________________

  • Karen
  • Chap
  • Mark