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Quote of the Day

And, just maybe, a Bush quote that everyone can applaud.

"As a free-speech advocate, I often told parents who were complaining about content, you're the first line of responsibility; they put an off button (on) the TV for a reason. Turn it off," Bush told C-SPAN interviewer Brian Lamb.



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» Public v private -- the FCC from Darleen's Place
The FCC continues to be a lightening rod pitting "absolutist free-speech" advocates against "responsible/appropriate broadcasting" advocates. We've all witnessed the dust-up Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" [guffaw] caused last year, with one gro... [Read More]


It is a good quote. The problem is he says it and then lets the FCC do whatever it wants to limit what is on TV.


Man is earth's Choicemaker. He is by nature and nature's
God a creature of Choice - and of Criteria. His unique and
definitive characteristic is, and of Right ought to be, the
natural foundation of his environments, institutions, and
respectful relations to his fellow-man. Thus, he is oriented
to a Freedom whose roots are in the natural Order of the

an American Choicemaker

I love my satellite and the ability to block channels that I don't want my 12-year-old to watch and I love the parental controls on our computer to keep her from adult websites! At the moment, she has no Internet access at all and I would actually like to keep it that way! My oldest is SO conservative that I don't worry about what she is watching because she'd turn the channel on her own...not that she watches TV, but she is very conservative about her computer habits, too. I've seen where she hangs out online and it doesn't bother me because it's a place where most her friends all hang out...the virtual hang out!

Not everyone, I'll bet. "Unfortunately, Mr. Bush, Iraq has no such off button!" I'll just bet somebody says that, or similar.

It's a great quote but then he lets the secretary of education tell PBS they can't show an episode of Buster cuz there are 2 lesbians in it making maple syrup.

Lesbian Maple Syrup would be a kick-ass band name.

2 lesbians in it making maple syrup

Is that what they're calling it these days?

Har har :)

Do you really think this is a statement everyone will agree with? There are liberals and conversatives who hate it when people want them to accept personal responsibility. They want and demand that the government free them from having to tell their children "no." They want the government to be the nanny.

And if Mr. Bush feels this way, why is his FCC leveling record fines for minor infractions like Janet Jackson showing her pasty-covered nipple for such a short persio of time, most viewers watching the show didn't see it?

Bush is en enabler.

The problem is he says it and then lets the FCC do whatever it wants to limit what is on TV.

I was actually going to tack something on to the post about this, but Bill K. said it first.

Action...words, etc. But it's still good to hear him saying that. Maybe it's a start?

God yes, I can agree with that quote. But yeah, I'm with both Bills and kat, as well. It would be nice to see that quote reflected in the administration's actions.

Y'all treat the FCC like it has complete autonomy as an executive branch... it doesn't. Congress has much to do with the regulations as any Presidential administration does. Similar to the homeless plight, it's much easier to pile on the FCC during a conservative administration because it fits a perceived stereotype.

He was talking about Fox News, right ;)

Oh yeah, what I wanted to mention before I got distracted by my own wit, was that you neglected the rest of the interview, like when he said:

"My answer would be, if I were interviewing an FCC chairman, please tell me where the line is, and make sure you protect the capacity of people to speak freely in our society, but be willing to -- if things get too far, call them to account. I think Michael did a good job of balancing that."

This gives quite a different impression of where Bush stands on the FCC's regulatory role.

As long as the airways are "public" domain, then we are going to have a FCC that will draw a line >>here<< or >>there<< which will tweak someone's vested interest or another. Kinda like park rangers who enforce noise ordinances in campgrounds after 10 pm. With licensing comes regulation.

Such is the inherent conflict when dealing with public v private. Janet's pierced nipple wouldn't even cause a raised eyebrow in a Vegas show, but during the Superbowl halftime show it was entirely inappropriate.

Also, the FCC is directly responsible to Congress, not the executive branch.

Darleen, this where we part ways: you view the fact that the airwaves are public as reason for moderation. I view the fact that they are public as evidence that the first amendment applies and any attempt to circumvent their free usage is censorship.

It's really very simple -- let the market speak. If there is a problem with television/radio content it will manifest itself as a decline in viewership which, in turn, results in less advertising revenue. I'm figuring broadcasters are for the most part concerned with the bottom line and will adjust their content to suit the sensibilities of the majority.

This is self correcting and does not require the intervention of a political apointee. When one considers that some 95% of complaints to the FCC come from a single, very vocal, special interest group (see Jeff Jarvis for more than you would ever want to know) there is a problem. Bush's position that Powell's, caving to this group, is acceptable and viewing his methodology as a possible litmus test for his replacement is clearly in contradiction to the free market principles he claims to espouse.

It would seem that less regulation is a good thing, except when it differs with his perception of what is appropiatte. You see, he doesn't get to pick where the 'line' is. The public, along with the big dollar advertisers will do that. Myself, I'm all for titties (though I could have happily spent my life never seeing Janet Jacksons) on television.

I'll would agree with Al, except that it takes a long time for the market to be heard. And the train wreck factor. I'm sure there were many teenagers who could care less about football tuned into the second half after their buddies told them what happened during halftime, just hoping for a replay. Conversely, how many TV sets got turned off immediately after the incident? Do you think Super Bowl viewership will be down or up this year? If it's down, is it because they didn't have a religeous based halftime show or because the game is going to be another New England rout?

I realize I am the front line of responsibility for what my kids see. It helps if I can have reasonable expectations about what might be seen. I, as a reasonable parent had no clue that my 8 year old boy might be viewing Janet's right tit during a football game. I knew my 16 year old would get an eyefull when I sent him the link to view the clip online.

As a reasonable parent I just want to know when it's gonna be safe to let my kid watch TV and when I need to be standing over his shoulder with the remote.


As long as the airways are "public", not private, then the government has an obligation to regulate them. Don't think so? Well, then you get stuff like this.

BTW, as you may recall, the FCC recently rejected much of the "complaints" recently lodged with them. So while the system wavers back and forth, it tends to self-correct.

You want the FCC gone? Then sell the frequencies off and make 'em private property.

Personally, I don't see the shredding of the Constitution just because CBS got their hand slapped over Nipplegate.

Ah... something we can agree on. Yes, indeed, the government does have an obligation to 'regulate' the airwaves. However, in this case, the obligation as per the first amendment is to regulate them in the sense of leaving them the hell alone.

The FCC hasn't 'rejected' anything and has, in reality, levied record fines on broadcasters. CBS and Janet Jackson is a drop in the bucket.

As far as selling them off goes, that's not practical. You can't sell air and electrons. Remove the FCC entirely and whoever comes up with biggest horsepower transmitter wins -- in essence, that has the opposite effect and makes them anything but public. What we need is a regulatory agnecy that respects freedom of speech and the choices that Americans, by virtue of their viewing and purchasing habits, make.

You may be comfortable with it, but I am not happy with fringe groups gaming the system to control what the rest of us see.

If there wasn't so much crap on the tube, the on button wouldn't be so worthless.

Geez Al

Maybe you didn't either click on my link about "free speech" on a public highway in Oregon = letting the American Nazi party be endorsed by the government and/or when you linked to Buzzmachines 11/2004 post you weren't aware of this from yesterday.

BTW one COULD sell the frequencies and then it becomes merely a law enforcement issue if someone tries to "squat" by bringing in a large transmitter. Either the frequencies stay public, and thus subject to reasonable regulation or they become private and the interference from the government comes under strict scrutiny.

The other night I turned on the tv and all I got was this black screen. "Damned FCC!" I cried, vowing to immediately write to my congressbeing and organize a street protests of artists, rotisserie-chicken-cooker-sellers and hookers to protest the squelching of our Freedom of Televized Nipples. Then I realized I hadn't paid my cable bill.

You know, Televized Nipples would also make a great band name.

I'm envisioning a double bill:

Televized Nipples
Lesbian Maple Syrup

All proceeds to go to James Dobson.

mmmm .... syrup.

Geez Darleen,

IF the airwaves were private then we wouldn't be having this discussion. Because then they would be like weblogs, newspapers and novels -- you know, not under that broad first amendment umbrella. However, the broadcast airwaves are not a weblog and are not privately owned, hence the spectre of government censorship is quite real.

I was aware of the 36 denied complaints and was pleasantly surprised to see that 'dolphin sex' wasn't verboten. I can see no harm to dolphin sex and am actually in favor of dolphin fucking. It's reassuring to see that the FCC agrees. Now, maybe we can discuss the other the other complaints that have led to massive fines. Irregardless of the fact that they stemmed from one source. A wacko far right evangelical source, to boot.

I'm all in favor of the Nazis having a sign. They have a right to a sign. They paid for it. That sign didn't last long, did it? The market spoke. If they want to invest their resources in replacing it, time and time again, that too is their right. You know, like the nutjob fundies who keep plastering those absurd pro-life billboards all over the place.

I'm all in favor of the Nazis having a sign. They have a right to a sign.

On their own privately owned land. Not on a highway that is government owned... any more than a flasher has the right to swing his genitals in front of others in a public park.

Funny how this thread degenerated into a debate over the role of the FCC. I thought it was over the role of the parent.

I try to regulate my minor childrens' activities as much as possible. What they are watching, what they are reading, who they are spending time with; I monitor these activities as closely as I possibly can. Screw the market.

I want my children to grow up in better environment than I did (not that mine was bad), and the most important part of that job is to shape that environment for their greatest benefit. Who defines the greatest benefit? I do.

Let's face it, parenting is a dictatorship. A benevolent one, but a dictatorship nonetheless. That is why it gets significantly harder as they mature and become young adults, because it is harder to identify when to dictate and when to allow them freedom to fail.

Anyone with children knows that they will make poor decisions because of their limited experience and lack of forecasting abilities. Our job as parents is to allow them to amass experience while limiting long-term harm.

Exactly how dolphin sex is supposed to benefit my children is unclear to me.

"Exactly how dolphin sex is supposed to benefit my children is unclear to me."

I just want to say I love this sentence, and that "Dolphin Sex" would be a great name for Televized Nipples' first hit song.

If any group can "adopt a highway", then any group can adopt a highway. I guess we could always have actual legally-convicted assholes pick up trash, but those guards are expensive.

As for a government responsibility to regulate the airwaves, I wonder where the government gives away those television sets and radios? I must have missed that, since every television and radio I've ever had was privately funded. I guess I don't have a good enough Senator, since I never get any good electronics or even some free downloads. All I get is shitty highways that constantly get litter all along them. Does anyone know of any programs to alleviate that problem?

Okay, I'm all in favor of personal responsibility and taking charge of one's child's upbringing. But does the surrounding culture have to make it so hard? What would you think of someone who said "I have a perfect right to shit in the town well, and if you don't like it, you can drink elsewhere."

If it's the town well, the whole town needs the water. So that guy should be punished severely.

But television isn't the town well. It's not even the town square. It's something people in the town install receivers in the homes to watch. They don't have to watch. They must choose to watch. Big Brother didn't install that set, someone installed that set to watch Big Brother.