For the cause

For the cause

: Stephen Waters writes an excellent editorial in the Rome (NY) Sentinal supporting free speech against the FCC. The New York Times should editorialize half as well:

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has acted just as dangerously towards freedom as the Iranian mullahs who, according to Reporters Without Borders, have arrested the fifth Iranian Internet writer in two months. Following their belief of decency, mullahs can demand women cover-up with chadors or burqas the same way the FCC can demand broadcast media cover up. The FCC censors according to its beliefs, but they are poor surrogates for your own judgment. There are other tools, all of which are more certain and Constitutionally safe. And they are in your hands: Turn it off.

: Refuse to buy the sponsor’s product.

: Complain to friends and neighbors.

: Complain to the network.

: Express your distaste.

: Censure.

Censure is a personal choice. Under censorship, you risk damage when censors turn around on you. Censoring opens the door for the few to impose their views on everyone else.

  • The FCC has acted “just as dangerously”? Rubbish. How many American bloggers/writers/broadcasters have been arrested? Iranians require women to wear a burqa and the FCC requires broadcasters to restrict the most indecent of their programming to the hours when children are most likely in bed.
    Inflammatory and specious arguments like this give weight to Powell’s words that overheated words obscure the important debate.
    There’s a serious debate to be had and both sides have significant contributions to make to the discussion (that you demonize all those who want some minimal decency standards on the public airwaves continues to baffle me…disagree with them fine, but don’t demonize them).

  • Brian: The point is, that is not government’s job. The slope is slippery no matter where it is.
    Of course, the mullahs are more dangerous. In my post above, I addded the words “in this respect” to a similar sentiment to make it clear that in the sense that the FCC would strangle speech over the complaints and standards of a few, it is all too unfortunately similar to the views of such censors as the mullahs.

  • Don Mynack

    Yeah Jeff, I heard Stern’s show this morning, broadcast from the prison he was thrown in when Powell showed up with his religious police and dragged him away several months ago. This is just like Iran. Exactly. Why didn’t I see that before your enlightening post? Thanks for opening my eyes.

  • sbw

    Brian. Dangerous now? Dangerous later? Your observation relates not to whether one is ON the slope but whether one is nearer the top or bottom.
    If the end result is loss of freedom to speak freely, are you going to tell me that slightly muffled is okay?
    Gosh, I hope you’ll overlook my comparison for the sake of the ultimate editorial point.

  • Get ’em, Jeff! I can’t figure Powell out. He looks forward when it comes to new wireless technologies, VoIP, broadband and the like, but he paddles backward when it comes to the medium that matters most under the FCC’s domain.