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Censorship Technology

Attempt to Apply Decency Standards to Cable/Satellite Television 709

bigtallmofo writes "Reuters is reporting that Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (Senator from Alaska) is pushing for decency standards to apply to cable television and subscription satellite TV and radio. You may recall Senator Stevens for voting against a measure to criticize the FCC in 2003 for loosening its broadcast ownership restrictions. Maybe he thinks profanity provides an unfair advantage to his broadcast-company constituents?" We touched on this last year, in the attempt to apply decency standards to satellite radio.
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Attempt to Apply Decency Standards to Cable/Satellite Television

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  • by fembots ( 753724 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @05:56PM (#11816949) Homepage
    Before running a movie, just place a statement:

    • Better Solution (Score:5, Interesting)

      by nacturation ( 646836 ) <> on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @06:39PM (#11817496) Journal
      Create a subscription channel called SCAF: the Shit, Cunt, Asshole, Fuck channel. Broadcast nothing but those four words over and over again. Subscribers can pay something like 25 cents a month to get it -- the money counts as a contribution towards freedom of speech. Then, if something like this is ever passed, it will result in the channel being 100% censored since there's nothing decent left to transmit. It'd certainly make for an interesting court case to challenge the constitutionality (oh, how I love made-up words) of these types of regulations.
  • Discount? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nizo ( 81281 ) * on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @05:56PM (#11816951) Homepage Journal
    Do cable subscribers get to withhold a percentage of their monthly payments in compensation for the good bits of programs that have been cut/bleeped out? If they edit out 10% of the total months content, then it is only fair that their subscribers get a 10% discount right?
    • Re:Discount? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by fembots ( 753724 )
      If it's just a standard of decency, maybe it can work like the classification, so nothing's cut, but parents are warned of before hand.
    • Re:Discount? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by severoon ( 536737 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @06:15PM (#11817200) Journal

      This is ridiculous. Are they going to start regulating pay-TV channels next, like HBO? You can't say the f-word anymore in movies?

      One thing I've never understood about this censorship was articulated by George Carlin best. His sentiments are something along the lines of, why is it ok to use profanity as long as at least the key vowels are left out? For instance, "f*ck" is perfectly acceptable in most censored media, even though it still clearly expresses the idea, the concept behind the word, just as clearly as if that little asterisk were replaced by the "u" it "censors".

      S*ck my fat f*cking c*ck, *ssh*le. Do you really feel protected from my sentiment because I've applied the appropriate amount of "censorship"? (Or am I simply not allowed to express certain sentiments at all under this new bill? Isn't that unConstitutional?)

      • But it works! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by WhiplashII ( 542766 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @06:59PM (#11817709) Homepage Journal
        What is even weirder is that putting in the astericks really does make a difference - I personally don't swear much, but the "niceness" of swear words in a public forum is really increased by using astericks in my opinion.

        In fact, I am not at all put out by your statement as you wrote it. But if you had put the actual vowels in, I would have considered you an annoying kid.

        That is really weird!

      • Re:Discount? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by LazyBoy ( 128384 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @09:17PM (#11819173)
        Ditto for the spoken word. It makes no sense that "frigging" or "effing" are more acceptable than "fucking".

        They're just words. They mean the exact same thing as the word they're replacing. The meaning comes through.

    • Re:Discount? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tsiangkun ( 746511 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @06:21PM (#11817267) Homepage

      I belive you are entitled to a full , 100% , refund of that months payment. The service you paid for is the show, complete with "offensive content". If the content is tampered with before it is viewable, you just got screwed out of the product you paid for.

      Censorship is a funny thing. I am offended by many blatantly ignorant statements on rightwing religous networks, such as fox news and scarborough country. Some people are offended by the George Carlin, The Daily Show, Real Time, great sex volume 9, or even Chapelle Show.

      I developed a solution that I believe works for everyone. I hereby announce my intent to patent a method for preventing access of offensive content via the tuning mechanism of signal receivers which adjust the display to non-offensive content through a remote controll device.

      If I am offended by someones kid crying in public, can I run up and put a piece of duct tape over his mouth ? Of course not, it's not my kid.

      Well, why then should anybody get to put duct tape over the content I enjoy, it's my content. I paid for it. It's on a subscription service.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @05:58PM (#11816974)
    I wish that was enough to stop them.

    I was hoping we would all just move to cable and dump the government along the way.
  • Go all the way (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nacturation ( 646836 ) <> on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @05:59PM (#11816990) Journal
    Ask them to apply decency standards to books, movies in theatres, and finally to what you say in your own home. After all, won't somebody think of the children?
    • by MattBowen ( 858436 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @06:03PM (#11817056) Homepage
      What we need is a committee of "qualified" judges to sit and pure-approve everything we see hear and read. That way only chaste and edifying content gets to the citizenry, promoting a plurality of thoughts and critical thinking. That's how they handle the Internet in public schools, and thanks to that policy, the Internet has no smut.
    • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @06:06PM (#11817091)

      > After all, won't somebody think of the children?

      I think Michael Jackson has that covered.

  • by Peden ( 753161 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @05:59PM (#11816994) Homepage
    Transmit the sattelite TV from another country. Easy-peasy, no problem.
    • by KontinMonet ( 737319 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @06:00PM (#11817020) Homepage Journal
      Stream it over the Net...
    • by t_allardyce ( 48447 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @06:05PM (#11817080) Journal
      Except that in most of Europe you can show on normal TV what you can barely get away with on X-Rated cable in the US...
    • What happens when they make the satellite descrambler illegal to own in the country you are recieving the signal in?

      Yes, it's still easy, but now it's unlawful...
  • There are some people who want "the Fairness Doctrine" brought back and expanded to include cable TV and satellite radio (in order to get political views they do not like censored). If this ever happened, it would open up the pathway for other censorship like what is mentioned in this news item.

    I for one do not favor any such content regulation.

    • by jdigriz ( 676802 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @07:14PM (#11817854)
      Actually, The Fairness Doctrine is not censorship at all. It required broadcasters to present a multiplicity of viewpoints when dealing with controversial material. It was instituted because the electromagnetic spectrum is a public good, held in trust for all americans of all viewpoints by the US Government, and thus, there is a compelling public interest in avoiding broadcasting only wrong information. I don't think there is a legal leg to stand on to regulate cable systems as those are wholly privately owned and don't consume spectrum. Satellite, perhaps, but that's easily gotten around by broadcasters operating outside the US's jurisdiction. I agree with you in that I don't favor content regulation either, but I don't think the Fairness Doctrine counts as such since a broadcaster could say any silly non-libelous thing they want as long as they give equal time.
  • In satellite TV, decoders had a parental-block, and would stop you if the movie was rated-R or something.

    And that was 10 years ago.

    Now if you mean enforcing all tv producers to say "This movie is rated R" and use some blocking, I agree.

    After all, kids watch cable, too, don't they?
    • by TheAntiCrust ( 620345 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @06:08PM (#11817115)
      Yeah, kids watch cable too, but kids are supposed to have these things called 'parents' too. It is the parents responsibility to decide what thier children should and shouldnt be able to see and it is thier responsibility to carry that out, our taxes should not be spent on programs and enforcement of laws that abridge the flow of information. Seriously, paying to NOT get information? Thats entirely backwards.
    • And right now every TV sold in the US has a V-Chip. FX plays a commercial for it before every adult themed show they have (Nip/Tuck, The Shield, etc). They tell you exactly how to make your TV turn off TV-M rated content. Most TV's let you lock out entire channels, so if you only wanted your kid watching Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network (pre-Adult Swim of course), you could easily have it do that AND put the V-Chip on to make sure Adult Swim isn't shown.

      So as a parent I could control what little Billy is
  • Land of the Free (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Husgaard ( 858362 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @06:00PM (#11817009)
    I wonder why some US people still say that they live in the land of the Free with all the regulation that their government is imposing on them...
    • by garcia ( 6573 ) * on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @06:20PM (#11817243)
      The TV told us we are free. That's why.
    • by That's Unpossible! ( 722232 ) * on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @06:25PM (#11817322)
      I wonder why some people still pretend to understand the laws of the United States when they can't even distinguish between a proposed bill in Congress and an actual law...
      • I think it stems from the back that ABC doesn't show those little commericals anymore, like how a Bill goes to Captial Hill to become a law.
        • Re:Land of the Free (Score:4, Informative)

          by Darby ( 84953 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @07:35PM (#11818069)
          I think it stems from the back that ABC doesn't show those little commericals anymore, like how a Bill goes to Captial Hill to become a law.

          Even if you were kidding, I think there is a lot of truth to this.

          I haven't really watched Saturday morning TV for quite a while now, but is there anything even remotely comparable to Schoolhouse Rock being shown these days?

          I mean that was real education slipped right past me as cartoons. It was a sneaky trick, but at least I know what conjunctions and interjections are as well as how a bill becomes a law.

      • I wonder why some people still pretend to understand the laws of the United States when they can't even distinguish between a proposed bill in Congress and an actual law...

        I guess that's because the only difference between a bill and a law are a few piles of small, unmarked bills.

        It's hard to keep track when that's all you need to get even to most stupid, evil laws passed.
        Personally, I think congressmen should be forced to turn over all their assets to the gov't the day they get elected. From then o
    • Re:Land of the Free (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bluprint ( 557000 )
      Me too. I live in Arkansas. I can't even get alcohol without driving almost an hour.

      If I knew of a place that was actually free socially, and didn't have to pay 80% of my salary in taxes (free fiscally), I would move there.
    • Re:Land of the Free (Score:3, Interesting)

      by m50d ( 797211 )
      Because they at least, at the bottom of things, have a constitution that says they are. And nothing ever trumps the constitution, ultimately.

      Mostly I'm glad for living this side of the pond, but I am a subject of a bunch of unelected foreigners who used religious hatred to strongarm the country into giving them control of it. I have, ultimately, no rights other than what they deign to grant me. There are many things wrong with America, but at the basis of it they are a free people, whose government rules on

  • by Cyno01 ( 573917 ) <> on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @06:00PM (#11817015) Homepage
    Fuck this!
  • Next, we won't be able to swear on the internet... How can someone think that they're right when they're saying something like that, ho-ly-crap.

  • by Pfhorrest ( 545131 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @06:01PM (#11817026) Homepage Journal
    Excellent! Finally someone is doing something about filtering out all that motion picture equivalent of spam that comes out of Hollywood, keeping these "blockbusters" from congesting our airwaves and cable lines! We may see television dominated by decent, quality entertainment at last!

    Oh, wait, did they mean "decency" as in, no words like "fuck" or "cunt", and no bare tits or ass? Damn. There's a good number of decent flicks that we'll be missing if that goes through then...
  • Big difference (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ducomputergeek ( 595742 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @06:01PM (#11817034)
    On Satitalite radio/TV and Cable, you choose to pay for the service. Broadcast television is over air transmission anyone with TV may tune in at only the cost of the TV and electricity to run it.

    If you find cable indecent, you don't pay for the service. Arguement can be made if you don't like what's on broadcast TV, don't watch as well, but you don't pay directly for the programming on the public airwaves.

    If people don't want South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut airing in all its rated R glory at midnight on saturday's then they won't watch it.

    • Parenting (Score:5, Insightful)

      by KevMar ( 471257 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @06:29PM (#11817366) Homepage Journal
      Well said.

      What ever happened to that V-Chip that was supposed to protect the children? DirectTV had the ability to lock out content and disable channels a long time ago. I remember showing my parents how to turn it off when they screwed it up.

      Technology and government are not substitutes for parenting
    • Re:Big difference (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mobby_6kl ( 668092 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @06:34PM (#11817440)
      I'm pretty sure this one won't get far, at least I hope so...
      What really worries me though is that most people now think that censoring (yes, that's what it is) over-the-air TV is ok. If someone isn't able to get cable for whatever reason, they're basically left with what government says is ok, and that sucks.
  • Voluntary Service (Score:5, Insightful)

    by robbway ( 200983 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @06:02PM (#11817036) Journal
    This is bad. If they can apply decency to media I pay to have piped into my house, they'll shoot at DVD and CD content. The only difference is the transmission media. Only adults can order cable, so you already have your "adult check" verification.
  • by edwardd ( 127355 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @06:02PM (#11817041) Journal
    The entire concept of pat-television is that it is not available to everyone, and that people should be able to view what they wish in their own homes. If we take measures like this to the extreme, then the next argument will be to prevent people from buying porn.

    "The People Vs. Larry Flint" is a great case to show that there should be firm limits to what the government can or cannot say about decency standards. Larry Flint was able to show that his product, while distasteful to many, is covered under free speech and is not subject to this type of restriction. I don't see how pay-tv services should be treated differently. There are controls in place (parents) to restrict viewing. If these controls are insufficient, the problem is not with the material that's available to be viewed, the problem is with the parent.

  • by LoRdTAW ( 99712 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @06:02PM (#11817046)
    I don't know about the rest of slashdot but I enjoy Cinemax after dark.
  • by SlayerofGods ( 682938 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @06:02PM (#11817049)
    Your lucky you even get a vote.
  • We need to apply decency standards to all content sources, not just broadcast.

    That includes all cable, satellite, video rentals, books, and website. We must stop pornography, violence, drugs, swearing, blasphemy, and dissenting opinion! To purge our society of these horrible influences, we should put it all in a big pile and burn it. Next, we will publish a list of government-approved media that you are allowed to create, sell, or consume. Finally, we will hire top scientists to develop tracking chips so t
  • Ridiculous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hanshotfirst ( 851936 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @06:04PM (#11817071)
    The whole difference between broadcast and cable is broadcast is in the public domain. Anyone with the proper equipment can receive the signal and hear/view the content. What comes over the air is regulated for "the public good". Cable and Satellite are closed non-public systems. You pay for the ability to receive and/or decode their signals. It is a private transaction, and should not be subject to regulation. This would be akin to saying p1*yb0y cannot publish material of their choice for their private subscribers. Now, I try to limit my intake of indecent material, and I certainly screen for my kids. But that is the whole point, to me. My responsibility, My rights to view what I have payed to receive in the form originally produced. I don't need the government babysitting me and my kids.
  • With broadcast TV/radio, the argument was that airwaves are limited public resource and should have content that the majority in the public will find acceptable. Last I heard, cable lines are built by private companies, so what cause does FCC have to regulate what they do or don't show? Consumer groups are insane if they voluntarily sign up for a cable channel and then expect to control its content. I am sure there are a few christian or whatever channels already where they don't even say "darn". Do people
  • I love it when the government takes away the pain and hardships associated with having to make desitions on my own.
    In that way, I don't have to assume the responsibility for my actions. I love USA, the nanny state (tm).


    PS. What is wrong with the V Chip. Parents should be the ones who are responsible for what the children watch on TV.
  • by Jjeff1 ( 636051 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @06:06PM (#11817086)
    I remember listening to some sort of interview with the head of the FCC (Powell), months ago. He remarked that kids didn't know the difference between a pay channel and a broadcast channel. So he felt the FCC should be regulating any sort of medium that kids might listen/view, no matter where it came from.

    Don't like it? Get involved - Write to the US Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Senator Ted Stevens [].

    And the Co-Chairman Senator Daniel K. Inouye []. It's cool to complain on websites, but if even a fraction of us actually contacted our representatives in congress, maybe things might change.
  • by Thunderstruck ( 210399 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @06:06PM (#11817088)
    From TFA:

    "Cable is a much greater violator in the indecency area," the Alaska Republican told the National Association of Broadcasters, which represents most local television and radio affiliates. "I think we have the same power to deal with cable as over-the-air" broadcasters.

    Now let us consider the following:

    1. Violator of what, exactly, if there are not laws in place regulating cable right now?

    2. You THINK you have the same power to regulate cable as "over-the-air"?

    It makes sense that the federal government regulates airwaves as a "channel of commerce." This is fairly straightforward since the airwaves are generally considered publicly owned "space." Cable, however, runs over private property in a physically limited location. While there may be some power to regulate it, how can this be done without interfereing with private contract and first amendment rights?

    3. [begin rant] Does it bother anyone else that federal officers will attempt to pass a law just because they "feel" they have the power, and "feel" something is needed? If there must be standards, why not let the bloody states set them and stop trying to distend the limits of federal authority beyond all recognizable bounds? [end rant]
    • by Vellmont ( 569020 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @06:19PM (#11817241) Homepage

      It makes sense that the federal government regulates airwaves as a "channel of commerce."

      Actually from what I recall free speech issues on regulation of broadcast media are gotten around because the information is sent into everyones homes without any kind of subscription. It has nothing to do with being a channel of commerce. It's like regulating nudity on billboards, etc.

      Cable television on the other hand is a subscription model, and broadcast into nobodys home that doesn't want it. Cable (and really satelite TV and satelite radio) are really like newpapers and magazines, and are granted the same first amendment protections.

      Does it bother anyone else that federal officers will attempt to pass a law just because they "feel" they have the power, and "feel" something is needed? If there must be standards, why not let the bloody states set them and stop trying to distend the limits of federal authority beyond all recognizable bounds?

      No, it bothers me when people try to regulate things that are clearly protected by first amendment rights. It would equally bother me if individual states tried the same thing.
      • "because the information is sent into everyones homes without any kind of subscription."

        Thanks to the Beloved Congress, my television has a V-Chip in it. So that argument no longer stands, right?
    • Does it bother anyone else that federal officers will attempt to pass a law just because they "feel" they have the power, and "feel" something is needed? If there must be standards, why not let the bloody states set them and stop trying to distend the limits of federal authority beyond all recognizable bounds?

      Because politicians find that running on a smaller government, states's rights, platform is great but once in office they realize that they have "power" and they damn well intend to use it.

      I agree that

  • contradiction (Score:5, Informative)

    by randyest ( 589159 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @06:06PM (#11817089) Homepage
    "There has to be some standard of decency," he said. But he also cautioned that "No one wants censorship."
    Does not compute. Let's step through this, shall we:
    • There must be decency.
    • There must be some person(s) given the task to decide what is decent and what isn't.
    • Those given that task will be government officials/bureaucrats.
    • Whatever those persons deem not decent should not be shown on CATV or played on satellite radio.
    • The not decent material will not be shown/played based on the decisions of the government officials.
    How is that not censorship?
  • by Gannoc ( 210256 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @06:06PM (#11817099)
    That show is an excellent example of how a completely uncensored show can be amazingly entertaining.

    I laugh out loud everytime I listen to the show, unlike Howard Stern, etc. If you don't have XM, try to find an mp3 on usenet.

    • by anthony_dipierro ( 543308 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @08:02PM (#11818334) Journal

      I used to listen to Opie and Anthony back when they were on FM radio. It was OK, but Howard Stern was much funnier (just not on in the afternoon).

      Then a couple months ago I subscribed to a free trial of XM radio, and I once again listened to Opie and Anthony. The program absolutely sucked. Howard Stern has gone somewhat downhill in the last few years too, but O&A was complete crap, it was like they were just being obnoxious for the sake of being obnoxious.

      I think Stern will probably get better when uncensored, but I think that's 'cause he's got more to his show than just being offensive.

  • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @06:07PM (#11817107)
    Bringin' pork, (Pork for Alaska)
    Bringin' pork, (Pork for Alaska)
    Pork! for Alaska,
    They bring pork, the rush is on!
    Pork! for Alaska,
    They bring pork, the rush is on!

    Big Ted left Alaska in the year '72,
    On the Senate Rules Committee, was a real workhorse too,
    With George and Michael Powell, and the FCC gang too.
    They crossed the Yukon River and found the bonanza gold
    Below that white-domed fountain, way the hell southeast of Nome.

    Ted crossed the majestic mountains to the valleys far below.
    He talked to his team of lobbyists as he mushed on through the snow.
    With the northern lights a-running wild in the land of the midnight sun,
    Yes, Teddy Stevens, a mighty man, in the year 2001.

    Where the river is winding,
    Pig nuggets they're finding!
    Pork for Alaska!
    They bring pork, the rush is on.

    George turned to Ted with his pork in his hand,
    Said: "Ted you're a-lookin' at a lonely, lonely man.
    "I'd trade all the pork that's buried in this land,
    "For one small slab of pork to[no, no NO, we are NOT goin' to find out what happened to Ginny in this filk as long as I have any say at the FCC]

    To the tune of North to Alaska [], Johnny Horton

  • This will never pass. I don't care that this guy is a Republican. There won't be a majority that will vote for this.
  • Solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Potatomasher ( 798018 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @06:08PM (#11817114)
    If cable/satellite providers would only sell channels individually, there would be no need for "decency standards". If you are not happy with the contents of this channel, simply don't buy it. Dont' want your kids looking at porn on your tv ? Simply don't buy channels that air such material.

    Now lets move on to next issue.
  • **The following message has been Super-Moderated by the F.C.C. Any further disregard to the Internet Decency Standards Act of 2007 will result in a really crappy karma score.**
  • If the government can censor speech on a closed proprietary system, then nothing stops them from censoring speech on our phones, on the internet, or even talking amongst ourselves.
  • obligatory link [] on the topic.
  • by mc6809e ( 214243 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @06:13PM (#11817179)
    We could avoid much hostility and conflict if we'd just agree to let each community decide for itself what is permitted.

    The right tries to set standards for the whole country, while the left refuses to allow anyone to set any standards anywhere.

    Folks, there are all sorts of people out there and just as many ideas about how communities ought to operate.

    Some like the order and peace that comes with tough limits on behavior, and some like the thrill of anarchy.

    So long as people have the right to choose the city/town/village/rural backwater compatible with their outlook I don't see what the problem is leaving each community to decide for itself what is or isn't appropriate.

  • by HotNeedleOfInquiry ( 598897 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @06:14PM (#11817191)
    How will this affect South Park???
  • by ortcutt ( 711694 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @06:16PM (#11817208)
    Isn't it funny that Republicans love to complain about big, intrusive government while supporting the nanny state?

    If they believe in the power of the free market, then let the cable companies respond to the demand for "decent" cable TV.

    • Whoa there cowboy... The guy at the FCC that was pushing all this from the beginning is named Michael Copp, a democrat.

      Idiocy in this case crosses party lines.
  • by UEinSD ( 750756 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @06:19PM (#11817234)
    Do something about it. If every Slashdot member calls the Senator, believe me, they will get the message.

    His webpage is here: [] and his phone number is (202) 224-3004.

    Do it now. Kill this crap in the bud. You only earn the right to rant and rave if you pick up the phone, send an email, or write a letter. If not, then keep quiet (no more whining to Slashdot), since that's what they want you to do.
  • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @06:23PM (#11817295) Journal
    Oh you lucky Americans, with such paragons of moral virtue like your hundred Senators.

    Can you imagine what might happen if a child were exposed to a breast again? My goodness, we've got to stop this breastfeeding, surely that's turning infants into sexual deviants!

    Imagine some kid hearing the word "fuck". I mean, it's for certain that he'll drop out of his First United Calvinistic Church of Believers are Saved and Unbelievers Will Fry Like BBQed Hotdogs and become a gay Satanist, or even worse, a Democrat!

    We must silence Howard Stern! Fartman must die! He must be replaced with righteous men like Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson, men of loving intolerance! After all, this is a Christian nation (Muslims and Jews temporarily accepted), and we know that the Founding Fathers didn't really mean "free speech" as in free. Besides, we have to make certain sacrifices to assure that Wardrobe Malfunctions, quite possibly planned by Osama bin Laden to destroy Jesus Christ's favorite sports telecast; the Superbowl, never happen again.

    In the FCC Patriot Act 2005, we will make sure the US is a decent, moral society where fags are pushed back in the closet, Howard Stern is forced off the air, and rich Republican supporters get more well-deserved tax breaks. After all, that's what America is really about. Oh, and we have $500 kazillion bounty on that freaky English guy, Eric Idle, for his evil anti-FCC song. If you are not with us in our quest to regulate and control your thoughts, then you are against us.

  • by leereyno ( 32197 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @06:24PM (#11817302) Homepage Journal
    Forgive me if I just don't understand what this decency stuff is supposed to be about. Do we really need the government to dictate a program's content?

    I have a hard time believing that there are actually programs or movies being created that are patently offensive to a majority (or even a sizable minority) of the population. Such programs would not be watched and would thereby lose either their commerical sponsorship, or the revenue from paid subscribers.

    I don't think I've ever seen anything on television, whether it be broadcast or cable, that struck me as just so henious that I needed the government to protect me from it.

    The truth is that this kind of censorship is nothing more than an attempt by a small but organized minority to remove certain ideas from the public airwaves, and thus the public consciousness. Now they'll claim that its "for the children!" but this is at best a half-truth. They may actually care whether kids see the things they're up in arms against, but they're just as worried that adults will see them as well.

    Here in America the concept of freedom of speech is enshrined in the document that is the foundation of our government, the US constitution. What most people don't recognize or realize is that freedom of speech itself is not meaningful without freedom of thought. Freedom of thought is dependent upon freedom of information. This is what censorship is an attempt to stifle. The things you know and the ideas and concepts you come into contact with determine the things you think about, which in turn determines what you talk about, the ideas that you express, and the conclusions you reach.

    Censorship is evil regardless of who is doing it or the supposed justifcations behind it. If something is a lie, the answer is not to suppress it, but to answer it with the truth. The truth itself, needless to say, is not something that needs to be suppressed, and anyone who does so is NOT your friend. There are times when secrets are necessary, and when information needs to be kept private, but holding details in private is not the same as the active suppression of public discourse.

    When Ted Stevens assumed office he took a solemn oath to uphold, protect, and defend the constitution. What he is doing is nothing less than the violation of his oath of office.

  • by tkrotchko ( 124118 ) * on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @08:00PM (#11818293) Homepage
    Here's an ex-commisioner's take on the whole FCC censorship issue.

    He implies that it is a political issue and control of media issue, not a morality issue as such.

    The guy is no kook. Read it and try to understand.
  • Uh huh. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @08:43PM (#11818865)
    There's decency ... and there's decency. Some of the things that we see and hear in our media qualify as "indecent", or at least, unpleasant. But some might consider it indecent to try and tell other people what to do, say and think.
  • I don't understand (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jafac ( 1449 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @08:44PM (#11818873) Homepage
    I don't understand why it's okay to:
    Let children watch violent sporting events which idolize violence and aggression as a means of conflict-resolution and ego gratification (Pro-everything).
    Encourage children to idolize rapists (Kobi Bryant), murderers (OJ Simpson), wife-beaters (Mike Tyson) drug abusers (Strawberry), gangsters (the NBA), and cheaters (Canseco, et. al).
    Encourage children to become enamored of a system which transferrs public funding (for stadium construction) into private hands (team owners) on the threat of leaving for another city (extortion).
    Encourage children to become involved in a government-regulated monopoly, similar to many Soviet bureaucracies.
    Encourage children to watch cheerleaders shake their scantily-clad privates into the camera, promoting the objectification of women as sexual property.
    Yet it's not okay for a parent to use the remote control to prevent them from seeing 5-seconds of nipple.

    Unless it's not really about "protecting the children", and it's really about "controlling the lives of others".
  • what the hell (Score:3, Informative)

    by Goldsmith ( 561202 ) on Tuesday March 01, 2005 @09:49PM (#11819429)
    what the hell has happened to the Republican party? I remember a time when they used to argue against frivolous regulation.

Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later. -- F. Brooks, "The Mythical Man-Month"