Friday, April 15, 2005

Indeceny Regs? Trust parents, says Bush

The Jersey Nut is not a big fan of government involvement in my television viewing. While I support a ratings system that informs parents of program content, I abhor the whiff of censorship and eye warily any Congressional "investigations" into media products.

The President did a Q&A with the American Society of Newspaper Editors yesterday, and when asked whether he supported extending indecency regulations into cable/satellite, he said the following:

don’t mind standards being set out for people to judge the content of a show to help parents make right decisions…the government ought to help parents, not hinder them

Now, although the article I am quoting (From Broadcast and Cable; available online via subscription only, hence no link) is titled, Bush Backs Pay and Satellite Indecency Standards, I don’t think that is where he is going here. I believe when he says standards being set out for people to judge the content, he is talking about a ratings-type feature, as he does not mention barring any type of programming. He goes further:

The final edit is a parent turning off the TV. The ultimate responsibility in a consumer-driven environment is for people to say I’m not going to watch it and turn the knob off. That is how to best make decisions and how best to make influences.

This is Bush Classic (and why I love the guy); he is telling ME that he would have the government give me information on programming; but leave the decision on whether or not to view it to ME as well. The free hand of the free market; television, with its emphasis on drawing eyeballs to the product, is possibly the most purely capitalistic enterprise in the country.

Bush knows that; he says:

Look, we’re a free society. The marketplace makes decisions; if you don’t like something, don’t watch it. And presumably, advertising dollars will wither and the show will go off the air, but I have no problems with standards being set to help parents make good decisions

It echoes what Bush said on CSPAN last January, when in a general conversation about television, said the government can –

at times, not censor, but call to account programming that goes over the line.

Perfect. Hands off my TV; but do punish those who provide the wrong content at the wrong time (Nudity during NYPD Blue is fine, but not in 8 Simple Rules…). Granted, that may be a judgment call as well, but investigations of this type should be limited in number and scope. President Bush understands that; he doesn’t want Congress regulating what’s on his TV either.

That’s why he’s The Man.

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