Posts from April 19, 2005

Media on Media

Media on Media: Papal edition

: Scheduled to be on MSNBC at 3:40p ET and again between 5-6p ET on — what else? — the new pope. Click more for the links I plan to discuss (sorry: not hot until I get time later)

I suggested Kathy Shaidle for the Connected hits and she’s going to be on at the same time.


They have their man

They have their man

: After much debate about the hue of the smoke, there is a new pope.

: It is Ratzinger.

: There’s a Ratzinger Fan Club blog.

: Wikipedia had his new name in immediately.

Tube boobs

Tube boobs

: This is incredible: The head of the National Association of Broadcasters selfishly argues for extending indecency regulations to cable just because if he has to suffer under unconstitutional FCC censorship of free speech, he wants his competitors to as well. If the man likes censorship so much, he would have done well to have stuck a gag in his own mouth before he delivered that idiotic and dangerous speech.

President and CEO Eddie Fritts, speaking during the opening ceremony of the NAB’s convention in Las Vegas, said broadcasters prefer ìresponsible industry self-regulationî to government regulation. ìBut I must ask: if Congress decides to regulate broadcasters for indecency, does it make any sense for cable, satellite TV (and) satellite radio to get a free pass?î Fritts said.

But it’s not just one fool. This is apparently NAB policy:

“If you are going to regulate broadcasters, the same rules ought to apply,” NAB spokesman Dennis Wharton said.

Note that even Bush is not pushing for indecency regulation creeping into satellite and cable.

: The Boi from Troy says it wonderfully:

This issue is not new. In fact, it reinforces my belief in Nineties Nostalgia. Rather than seek to regulate cable and satellite content, Bill Clinton pushed the market to adopt the V Chip and a ratings system. That way, even if a parent were not around, they could choose which programs and stations to which family members had access.

What we’ve got here is a question of personal responsibility–a theme George Bush highlighted in his 2000 Presidential Campaign. With 200+ stations across the dial–appealing to animal lovers, women, history buffs, motorcyclists, and soon, homosexuals–you pretty much know what to expect whenever you choose to watch a certain station. If seeing kimodo dragons bite off water buffalo testicles is not your kind of thing, don’t watch Animal Planet!

By suggesting that the federal government should regulate cable and satellite content, he is saying that the “Responsibility Era” is not about taking personal responsibility…it’s about the federal government taking responsibility for the rest of us. And in this case, I have to say I prefer Clinton’s approach to Bush’s.

: Pieter Dorsman says that the government and the industry are moving past the V-Chip to the N-chip.

: Brendan Loi agrees with Boi from Troy as does Roger L. Simon; ditto Nobody’s Business.

: An archive of many of my recent posts on the topic here.

: On the V-chip: I actually opposed the V-chip when it was proposed years ago and, back when I was a TV critic, I got into a loud argument about it with Democratic Rep. Ed Markey on John McLaughlin’s old cable show.

My argument was that by enabling this technology and empowering networks to decide what content gets the scarlet V, we also enable government to argue that the ratings aren’t right and to decide what content should be tagged with the label.

Note that, of course, the so-called Parents Television Council is arguing that the networks aren’t labeling content properly [via TVGeekSpeak]. We can see where this heads. Slippery, that slope.

Then and now I still favor (1) the First Amendment, (2) the marketplace, (3) parents’ authority, and (4) the off-button. But the V-chip already exists and so it is being used as an argument against further government regulation.



: President Bill Clinton at the Oklahoma City memorial today:

By the grace of God, time takes its toll not only on youth and beauty but also on tragedy.

It is relative

It is relative

: Cardinal Ratzinger issued his attack against “relativism” as the cardinals went into their conclave. Of course, one can easily turn that around and say that he was merely defending orthodoxy — his orthodoxy:

“We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism that has at its highest goal one’s own ego and one’s own desires,” Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger told his fellow electors….

In his sermon, Ratzinger called on cardinals to defend Catholic orthodoxy and reject attempts to update or change church teaching. He did not cite any specific teachings under fire, but the church is struggling to deal with demands by many Catholics for changes in the rules banning contraception, married priests, ordination of women and expanded rights for gays and lesbians.

“Adult faith is not one that follows tides of trends and the latest novelties,” Ratzinger said.

He saved his harshest condemnation for “relativism,” which he said denies absolute truths. “Relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and swept along by every wind of teaching, looks like the only attitude acceptable by today’s standards,” Ratzinger said.

He also defended fundamentalism, saying it was under attack because it was based on “clear faith.”

I harken back to a post I wrote a few days ago, saying that we are still going through the Reformation as Ratzinger et al defend an orthodoxy of (their) institutional authority and the religious right defends an orthodoxy of (their) reading of the word. Meanwhile, the reformers — myself among them — argue that we each must work to discern morality and God’s will the face of life (and if we did not, then, as someone pointed out on the radio this morning, the Catholic church would still be against usery and not against slavery and regarding slavery, the same could be said of many Protestant denominations).

This is not moral relativism. This is moral responsibility.

These are three radically different worldviews, so different that adherents to one have trouble understanding or even tolerating adherents to another. And the conflict is getting greater as the forces of orthodoxy and fundamentalism in many cloaks face an era of

This is an age when the individual is more empowered than ever. You can publish your message to the world from anywhere in the world. You can learn and start a business and organize a cause the globe around thanks to the internet. You can question authority.

In many spheres, we see the bearers of authority and orthodoxy fighting against this trend of empowering individuals. It’s happening in religion, journalism, media, politics, world relations, academics. And the dinosaurs roar.

: At NRO, Michael Novak praises Ratzinger’s speech:

This, Ratzinger fears, is a move back toward the justification of murder in the name of ìtoleranceî and subjective choice.

Along with that move, he has observed (havenít we all?), comes a dictatorial impulse, to treat anyone who has a different view as ìintolerant.î For instance, those (on the ìreligious rightî) who hold that there are truths worth dying for, and objective goods to be pursued and objective evils to be avoided, are now held to be ìintolerantî fundamentalists, guilty of ìdiscrimination.î

In other words, the new dictatorial impulse declares that the only view permissible among reasonable people is the view that all subjective choices are equally valid. It declares, further, that anyone who claims that there are objective truths and objective goods and evils is ìintolerant.î Such persons are to be expelled from the community, or at a minimum re-educated. That is to say, all Catholics and others like them must be converted to relativism or else sent into cultural re-training camps.

Charles Norman Todd at Freiheit und Wissen responds forcefully to Novak:

Novak argues that the success of the Nazis depended upon a culture that embraced relativism. Shocking, isnít it? Novak claims that in order for the Nazis to succeed, the people had to dismiss truth or meaning and embrace the individual will as the only source of significance.

Now, Novak is being sly here and he knows it. He knows that many on the Left see a tendency towards fascism in the current Bush administration. He also knows that many self-identified liberals think it would be dangerous to further integrate Christianity into the workings of the federal government, particularly into the judiciary system. And so, Novak attempts to rewrite history by saying, no, no, no, the real success of the Nazis had nothing to do with authoritarian rule or the merging of Christian rhetoric with politics, they were just modern day liberal relativists! And so, implies Novak, if you want to keep the dangers of Nazism out of this country, then you better reject relativism and embrace the absolute will of God. Scary, huh?

I cannot believe that Novak would have the balls to write something so perverse on the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing in which a right-wing Christian terrorist massacred 168 people. It wasnít relativism that led to that bombing, but fanatical Christian extremism and the belief in an absolute truth.