Reasoned Audacity on CNN — the Cable Industry and Indecency

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I didn’t know that the CNN show that I taped awhile back did finally make it on air. Today I stumbled across a transcript over at

SpeakSpeak.org that Amanda Toering has posted under “Stupidity Affects Us All.”

The “stupidity” she refers to? I believe that would be me.

See what you think.

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(“SpeakSpeak was created in a response to the right-wing’s stranglehold on the FCC.”)

Filed under “Right Watch” by Amanda Toering — 07/06/2005 — 12:12 pm

CNN’s “Wolf Blitzer Reports” aired a piece yesterday about broadcast indecency and, specifically, the engorged content descriptors now shown at the beginning of most broadcast segments.

During the report, a spokesperson for the Family Research Council states explicitly what the FRC and Parents Television Council regularly imply implicitly: We Americans are so fragile and impressionable that the government ought to protect us from naughty words, racy images, and the like.

JOHN KING (HOST): Have you noticed something different recently while watching cable TV? No, not that Wolf actually took a few days off. That ratings box, in the upper corner of your screen, has gotten bigger. The cable industry says it’s an effort to give parents more control over what their kids watch, but it’s part of a broader campaign to keep the government from having remote control. CNN’s Mary Snow reports.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It started with Janet Jackson’s bare breast during the 2004 Super Bowl network broadcast. A curse during a televised awards show by rocker Bono heated things up, and complaints grew about indecency and sex on network TV.

That was on the networks, but a year and a half later on cable, you’ll now see this [graphic]. And this [graphic] on cable.

The cable industry has tuned in to the complaints about indecency, and spent $250 million to educate parents on how to control what their kids watch on TV.

Part of the effort: An enlarged ratings system on screen, similar to the one used in movies.

Have parents noticed? Some industry observers say, not so much. But politicians did.

BILL MCCONNELL, BROADCASTING AND CABLE: A lot of lawmakers were threatening to hit cable — cable networks with the same type of indecency restrictions that broadcasters face. A lot of that talk has died down.

SNOW: While the talk may have died down, it hasn’t died.

CHARMAINE YOEST, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: Putting a warning label on something is not a license for them to just dump raw sewage into our culture.


SNOW: The clash over culture has put the media industry overall on guard.

JIM DYKE, TV WATCH: When they talk about “smut” and “pornography” and “sewage” on television, they’re actually talking about some of America’s most popular shows. [Full disclosure: SpeakSpeak is a member of the TV Watch coalition.]

SNOW: Shows like “The Simpsons,” that a group called TV Watch says may not be for every kid, but certainly shouldn’t be banned.

[ed.: Just for the record, I wasn’t talking about “The Simpsons,” I was thinking more MTV and Co. And in a comment they didn’t include I made that clear.]

The group is a coalition recently formed of media companies like Viacom and NBC, along with conservative and liberal groups. Their message — parents, not the government, should control the remote. They say complaints to the Federal Communications Commission about indecency don’t represent the majority views of Americans.

DYKE: The FCC is almost being controlled by a heckler’s veto at this point.

[ed.: A heckler’s veto??!! I like that one!]

SNOW: Others say, though, that the government needs to be more involved in TV regulation, and they compare it to monitoring the environment.

YOEST: It’s something that affects all of us, and so we need the government to be involved in policing what the television industry is doing.

Amanda apparently doesn’t think too highly of my argument and has come up with “other things that ‘affect us all’ and therefore need government policing.” These include: 1) Cell phone talkers in public restrooms; 2) Nineteen-year-old girls with tattoos on their lower backs; and 3) Solitary shoes on the side of the road.

She may be wrong; but she is funny. And gotta hand it to her: She’s got a point about the tattoos. . .

***

Thanks to Open Post at Mudville Gazette!!

Outside The Beltway more than decent at Traffic Jam.

Also see TVWatchblogger

July 07, 2005

Content Police

If there ever was a doubt in your mind about the intentions of groups who email complaints about some of Americas most popular television shows to the FCC and try to convince parents that the television tools are too hard (you’re too stupid to use the v-chip) and don’t work — the doubt exists no more.

In an interview on CNN, Family Research Council representative Charmaine Yoest made it abundantly clear that you have more to worry about than losing your favorite show because of low ratings. Next time you wake up and your favorite show is gone it just might be because the content police didn’t like it.

“It’s something that affects all of us, and so we need the government to be involved in policing what the television industry is doing.” –Charmaine Yoest

Is that clear enough for you?

To watch the full clip, click here

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