Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Censor Censorship

Today Townhall appears to have decided to grapple with the tricky question of what people should be allowed to see. First of all Brent Bozell argues in favor of the FCC cracking down on Television indecency. Specifically he takes on a Libertarian named Peter Suderman's argument that we should stop letting the FCC run our television economy.
HBO is a pay cable network and therefore outside of the FCC's regulatory purview. What is viewed on that network is precisely what would appear on broadcast television if Hollywood were left to its own devices. One simply cannot dispute that Hollywood has coarsened the culture with its increasingly offensive programming.

So what to do if you're a "conservative" like Suderman? You yawn your disinterest and play make-believe in your commentary. Perhaps he'd feel differently if he came off his coastal perch at NRO and visited the real world.
So apparently Bozell is in favor of increased FCC regulation.

On the other side of the fence is Cal Thomas who argues, unsurprisingly, that Government Regulation isn't so great. Specifically he is taking on the proposed a la carte suggestion for cable TV.
In testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee, Martin is to be joined by at least one other commission member, one network executive and an advocacy group representative in support of legislation that would allow cable and satellite TV subscribers to select their programs "a la carte," meaning consumers could choose the networks they want to come into their homes and reject others. This cafeteria approach might sound good at first glance, but suppose someone didn't want to see the violence in Fox TV's "24," but did wish to see the violence of NFL football? Since Fox carries both, consumers who rejected Fox because of "24," would not be able to watch NFL football.

Not only is this a bad business model in that cable and satellite TV make money by telling advertisers they can reach a certain number of homes, it also takes away the privileges and responsibilities of individuals to make these decisions. I don't want - and you shouldn't either - any government official or bureaucrat deciding which cable shows are good for me, and which ones are not.
I have to say that Thomas's argument here makes no sense whatsoever. He describes a program in which individuals would have the choice of which networks they take, and then gets angry at the Government for telling you what you can and can't watch. What?

I guess he might be talking about his example of 24 vs. Football, but isn't that the networks call? Not the governments?

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