Some people I know and respect have helped launch a new organization called TV Watch. It’s an encouraging coalition of traditional [read: “reality-based”] conservatives, broadcasters, and creative and artistic groups.
The premise is simple: parents, and not the government, should monitor kids’ TV viewing. It’s a sad sign of how bad things have become that this is a controversial position.
In fact, TV Watch’s research reveals the following facts about public opinion on the matter:
An overwhelming majority of Americans (91%) object to government deciding what they are able to watch on television, even if they donâ€™t always approve of the programming. Instead, eight out of ten people (85%) prefer to exercise personal choice over what they watch on TV and not have the government regulate what they view. They also want the government and the TV industry to provide them with the information and tools they need to make their own television choices.
[I will point out, with some distaste, that Frank Luntz conducted this research–so it’s hard to dismiss these findings as far-left propaganda.]
So why have the wingnuts had so much success in moving the needle on this issue? Because people like Brent “Did you see that tittie?!” Bozell have the ear of tens of thousands of people with nothing better to do than write the FCC everytime Howard Stern cusses. Bozell’s group generates as much as 99% of the comments the FCC gets about indecency, drowning out the majority of Americans who think parents can and should take responsibility for the issue. And even if they fail to provoke more action by Congress to censor broadcast–and even cable–content, they are already succeeding in changing the content of the shows we watch and love.
We simply will not win on this issue if we sit on the sidelines and complain, as sensible Americans, about the wingnuts. We have to get active and vocal. A great place to start is by signing the TV Watch petition and sending it to your friends.
Like so many other things that the right wants to dress in the sheep’s clothing of “family values,” this is really about depriving adults of choices we should be allowed to make. They want to make the choices for everyone, and use the specter of harm to children to justify their actions. You don’t have to be a wingnut to realize that there is content on TV that isn’t fit for kids. But you do have to be a wingnut to think that the answer is in DC, instead of on the front of your TV. It’s called the “OFF” button, parents. That–along with the Vchip and parental controls on cable and sattelite receivers–is where responsibility should start, and this ridiculous argument should end.