|Senate Attaches “Decency” Clause to Defense Bill?|
|Home Theater News Industry-Trade News|
|Written by Jerry Del Colliano|
|Friday, 25 June 2004|
The Los Angeles Times and CNN reported June 23, that the U.S. Senate added in a “decency” clause to a defense bill on Tuesday. The bill allows the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), currently headed by Colin Powell’s son, Michael, to increase the amount the government agency can fine broadcasters from $27,500 to $275,000. The bill was approved by a vote of 99 to 1. The Los Angeles Times reports that the House approved a similar bill which passed 391 to 22 that would raise the amount the FCC can fine a station to $500,000 per infraction.
The question Americans should be asking today is, “What the hell does decency have to do with a defense bill?”
Critics argue that children hear the bits that “shock jocks” like Howard Stern and Bubba the Love Sponge do and are adversely influenced. It is easy to understand the concern of parents when more and more risqué content makes it onto the airwaves. However, one control that parents have that has not been outlawed by Congress or signed into law by President Bush is the OFF button for their kid’s TVs, radios, computers and beyond.
Ironically, different members of the media are held to varying levels of accountability and scrutiny in the media. Oprah having a guest on who explains what “having your salad tossed” means at 4:00 PM on every ABC affiliate in America when kids are home from school is every bit (if not more offensive) as a caller to the Howard Stern Show making a stereotypical racist comment about black women. But what some consider even more indecent is Mary Kate Olsen becoming a billionaire role model for kids with countless DVD releases and TV syndication of her past shows while she starves herself as an anorexic. Having built unrealistic expectations for millions of young girls about their body types, Olsen is no role model. Even more indecent than that is the TV show “The Swan,” where normal-looking housewives are turned from average-looking women into plastic surgery disasters for the enjoyment of American audiences, including children who now ask for breast augmentation and plastic surgery for their birthdays.
Before a reactionary Congress legislates something as nebulous and opinion-based as “decency,” it is important to remember that it is not too late for millions of American families to turn off the TV for a while and read or listen to music together as a family.
Now is the time to vote, and not just this November – it is time to vote with your remote control and radio dial. If you find Howard Stern to be a pig or unsuitable for your children to listen to on the ride to school, then tune his skinny ass out. If you are worried about your children being negatively influenced by sexual content, then TiVo Oprah to watch after the kids go to bed. Lastly, if you find the blurring of the lines with a defense bill and a “decency” in media act to be offensive – call or email your congressional representatives. Many count a letter or email that they receive as 1,000 opinions. No matter which side of the argument you find yourself on, your representative would like to hear from you.
You can research how to contact your representatives at the following website.
Sources: Los Angeles Times, CNN