The next step in the nanny state:
Concerned about an increase in violence on television, the Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday urged lawmakers to consider regulations that would restrict violent programs to late evening, when most children would not be watching.
The commission, in a long-awaited report, concluded that the program ratings system and technology intended to help parents block offensive programs — like the V-chip — had failed to protect children from being regularly exposed to violence.
As a result, the commission recommended that Congress move to limit violence on entertainment programs by giving the agency the authority to define such content and restrict it to late evening television.
It also suggested that Congress adopt legislation that would give consumers the option to buy cable channels “à la carte” — individually or in smaller bundles — so that they would be able to reject channels they did not want.
“Clearly, steps should be taken to protect children from excessively violent programming,” said Kevin J. Martin, the agency’s chairman and a longtime proponent of à la carte programming. “Some might say such action is long overdue. Parents need more tools to protect children from excessively violent programming.”
The commission report, which was requested by Congress three years ago, was sharply criticized by civil liberties advocates and by the cable television industry for proposing steps that both said would be too intrusive.
“These F.C.C. recommendations are political pandering,” said Caroline Fredrickson, director of the Washington legislative office of the American Civil Liberties Union. “The government should not replace parents as decision makers in America’s living rooms. There are some things that the government does well. But deciding what is aired and when on television is not one of them.”
I guess that means reports of our impending victory in Iraq will have to be aired after David Letterman. Combined with our national dialogue on race, we sure are making the world a better place. Who knew that restricting all this stuff on television and radio would just make it all go away?
As if the netwrecks need to be told to black out the Iraq violence. The median answer to “How many Iraqis have been killed since their liberation?” is about 10,000.
I do not have children. I watch, on average an hour of TV every three months. But it seems to me that preventing children from seeing violence on TV is a simple matter of…what’s the phrase I’m looking for? Oh yeah, competent parenting skills.
Maybe I’m missing something. Maybe evil librulz break into homes and turn to The Sopranos when mommy and daddy are not around. Maybe there is some parenting rule out there that requires parents to leave the kiddies alone with the boob-tube. Maybe parents are compelled, by law, to have cable or sattelite TV. Maybe there is some force at work in the universe that prevents parents from excersing control over their kids. I don’t know.
My mom managed to keep my unruly arse in line while working full time but that was a long time ago. Maybe 9/11 really did change everything. Call me old fashioned but I think that if you can’t keep your kids from watching icky things on TV, you should stick to raising house pets.
This however, I have no problem with:
Not because I care if Mr. & Mrs. Doe are using the TV as a baby sitter and their parental concern abot Junior Doe starts and ends with him seeing two guys killing or screwing one another. But I might watch more TV if I could pick the channels I pay for rather than having to buy a package that includes 50 shopping channels.
I don’t think it’s incompetent parenting per se. I think most parents don’t mind that their kids watch violent programming. Congress just can’t accept the fact and wants to raise our children for us.
I still don’t get the whole violence is ok but sex isn’t mindset. The earlier my kids know about the humans out in the world, the faster they can become cynical and untrusting of people and government which is a good thing.
Of course the A La Carte system sounds good to me as well because I would not longer have to program my system to not show stupid ass religious channels.
I have two great kids, and I think this is bullshit.
Don’t care much one way or the other about requiring cable companies to offer channels individually. Would work for me. But still allow cable or satellite companies to offer package deals.
But I have a real problem with what content is ALLOWED into my home and when, or to others. Can’t stand that attitude from those on either side of any political aisle. Like idiots who think sports players should be required to be good Christian role models for their children, and get upset when they aren’t. That everyone else is responsible for their children.
Here’s a thought: Why don’t you work at and be responsible for being a role model for your children? That you’re accountable for what your children watch in your home. Yeah, a weird-ass concept for Bush Republicans: personal responsibility and accountability manifested in something other than a talking point.
Hopefully, the Democratic Congress won’t be too keen to jump right on this one on behalf of the Bush Administration. Then again, Hillary and Lieberman and a few others might decide it’s the perfect issue to tick off their own party with.
I further move we slap a gag on Tipper Gore right now.
Stop with the censorshit.
Sounds to me – knowing the way this Administration and its flunkies/enablers operate, that this is the true aim of the FCC’s proposals – that the “protecting cildredn from violent programming” rap is just the cover story. IIRC, cable providers (or at least the miniscule number of them that control most non-broadcast programming) can make a LOT more money by selling their veiwers their preferred stations “a la carte” – as opposed to the “bundled” sysytem in use now – but that they need some sort of regulatory change to able to do that. Hence the pious handwringing about “violent programming” – it’s all about the Benjamins; but even the Bush 43 Administration has to find some sort of figleaf for allowing consumer ripoffs: “Protecting The Children” is a perennial good excuse.
Only because most of the time it’s implicitly zero–i.e., totally ignored. But that ship has sailed, even Bush was estimating 30,000 a while back. Of course, I have no doubt that the real number is surely over 500,000 (and possibly over a million!), but don’t tell the media, it’d just be one more thing for them to not report on…
The Other Steve
Interesting. Let’s say Faux News get’s something like $1 per month from every cable subscriber who has a package that includes Faux News. So let’s say 75 million people.
But only 500,000 people actually watch them so in order to generate $75 million a month in revenue, they would have to charge $150/month per viewer.
Wow, that’ll kill a lot of networks. Maybe that’s for the better. You’ll still see USA, TBS, Nikilodean, but not some of the other smaller ones. Who will pay $10 a month for SciFi channel?
Essentially everything would become the HBO model, which might be good as it promotes greater creativity to attract subscribers.
Remember back when cable didn’t have commercials? Those were the days.
The Other Steve
you understand why, don’t ya?
It’s because the only technical way to do this ala-carte is with Digital Cable. Sales of digital cable have not been very brisk, because it costs too much. But it is highly desirable to the cable companies because they can reduce a lot of their operational problems.
It’s odd, you’d think they’d see the long term benefit, and move to promote digital to get rid of the old infrastructure. i.e. make digital cheaper than standard.
The digital cable stuff is great. As a user interface geek, I’m shocked by how good the DVR interface is for our local Time Warner cable. Probably one of the best pieces of consumer electronics I have ever had (rented for $7 a month).
Aren’t they the ones of small government, personal responsibility, and limited goverment regulation??? WTF?
Umm me. Sci-Fi Channel, Cartoon Network, Nikelodeon, Boomerang, Discovery/History Channels and Comedy Central are the only channels on my favorite list.
The Other Steve
Yeah, but I ain’t paying $100/month for cable television. Sorry, no.
I think $40 is too much.
The thing is, the cable industry is in desperate need of more regulation. There is no competition in the cable market, so cable companies just run roughshod over consumers. I’ve lived in a number of places and never had a choice other than Comcast. If they’re not willing to bust up these monopolies they should regulate the hell out of them until they beg for competition. If you had a choice of 4 or 5 cable companies, one would offer ala carte as a selling point.
I understand that programming your VChip might be hard. Hard like setting your VCR’s clock. So why don’t people learn to use their On/Off switch?
Shit like this makes me want to pull my hair out. You chose to have kids. Not me. If you don’t want to be a parent and monitor what you kids are watching, or surfing, or whatever, then you shouldn’t have had kids in the first place.
That only applies to things that can harm your body. Like contaminated food. The government must maintain a firm grip on things that can contaminate your precious soul and make it unfitting company for the Baby Jesus.
DON’T TAKE OUR GUNS! But you can take our TV, so long as you leave Football, Wrestling, NASCAR, and Glenn Beck.
What tv shows did little Attila the Hun watch? That was one violent dude.
I have 2 cable companies, 3 digital services, & gawdknows how many phone & internet providers to choose from – it doesn’t help. They all have teaser initial rates then jack you up to the sky. The only way to keep the bill down is to change services every 6 months.
Imagine waiting for a new cable guy every 6 months, plus change all your addresses & passwords….
I’d rather pack a knapsack, leave the key in the door, & head off to the Klondike.
I do agree with that idea. As far as changing the times of shows, I’m a bit torn. On one hand,I can totally understand and sympathize with the arguments from everybody who feels that it’s up to the parents, not the government, to decide what kids see on TV.
On the other hand, I finished watching the news the other evening. It was 6:30pm. The next show to come on was CSI, and in the first 90 seconds they showed an eviscerated corpse. I do agree that parents are responsible for what their kids see on TV, but what if my theoretical kid saw that in the 90 seconds I might have taken to go have a leak? I don’t think the whole scenario is as black-and-white as some people make it. Yes, it’s a parent’s responsibility to monitor what their child is watching. And yes, there are parental guidance warnings before violent or adult-oriented shows. But, to show very realistic-looking murder victims so early in the day — it just seems kind of…tacky. I could very well be wrong. But I sure as hell don’t remember Mom having to sit there and accompany me during every minute of my childhood tv viewing.
But don’t you know…it takes a village…
My Truth Hurts
Parents already have a tool to prevent their kids from watching programming they don’t approve of. It’s on the remote and it’s called the “Off” button.
Seriously fuck other people’s kids. I am not their parent and it is not my job to control what they watch any more then it is the FCC’s. I am sick of parents in this country abdicating their repsonsibilities.
On another note I do like the a la carte idea, but that is as a consumer and not a parent. I want just 4 more documentary channels but I have to buy a huge package with dozens of channels I don’t want. So bring on the a la carte.
a) Violence on TV = Violence in the streets
b) The amount of violence on TV is increasing
c) The crime rate keeps getting lower
Only one of these affirmations can be verified as truth.
Hug it tightly, because you may not have it much longer. TWC has a new OS for their DVR boxes that they developed in-house. They’re currently testing it in a few markets around the country, mine being one of them. My three-word review: It sucks. Royally.
There’s been such an outcry here that they’re making noises about rolling back to the old software, so there may still be hope. Except they’ll probably use it as an excuse to raise prices, since the new OS was developed on an open source model to avoid licensing fees.
I love the cable company.
As a somewhat reluctant user interface geek (professionally), I would like to hear more about what’s good and bad about DVR interfaces in general.
I have a major pet peeve with mine the cable companies digital cable box (just a DVR with out a hard drive) its a sony I believe. Completely doesn’t work when you on high def channel. Whats up with that? To see whats on a high def channel while viewing a high def channel you have to change to a non-high definition channel.
Heck, the only reason I’d ever get cable is if I could start to get foreign TV channels. Where’s my NHK, Chinese gummit channels, boring Austrian politicial heads talking channels?
Best way to kick up your language ability if you can’t find a teacher.
They have been editing out some of those parts from the old bugs bunny cartoons showing some so called violent sciens you know like the one with the bull and how bugs rigs up the trap and ends with the bull crashing into the wall at the bullfight in mexico?