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Democracy & Technology Blog Cleaning up the airwaves

A poll conducted by Kelton Research last month for TV Watch found a big majority thinks parents should do a better job controlling what their kids watch on TV — and oppose a bigger role for the government.

It’s Up To Parents to Exercise Greater Responsibility In Deciding
What Their Kids Should Or Should Not Be Watching On Television
75%
The Government Should Expand Its Control Over Television
Networks And Make Decisions About What Everyone Sees
22%
Don’t Know/Refused 3%

Click here to read more.
Earlier this year, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin renewed his call for the cable industry to voluntarily offer a family friendly programming package and not require subscribers to pay for programming they consider unsuitable. Last month the FCC fined one broadcaster $24 million for violating the Children’s Television Act (see, e.g., this). And this is not just about violence and sex during the family hour. Tomorrow, for example, the FCC will participate in the Task Force on Media and Child Obesity, meeting on Capitol Hill.
These initiatives are all well-intentioned and address serious problems, to be sure, but no one can be positive where this would lead. The government generally finds it hard to resist special interests and vocal advocacy groups, doesn’t it? During the “golden age” of television, the emphasis wasn’t just on decency but also on avoiding political controversy. Social conservatives may cheer the present Administration’s commitment to religious values, but a future administration may have more interest in promoting someone else’s secular values.

Hance Haney

Director and Senior Fellow of the Technology & Democracy Project
Hance Haney served as Director and Senior Fellow of the Technology & Democracy Project at the Discovery Institute, in Washington, D.C. Haney spent ten years as an aide to former Senator Bob Packwood (OR), and advised him in his capacity as chairman of the Senate Communications Subcommittee during the deliberations leading to the Telecommunications Act of 1996. He subsequently held various positions with the United States Telecom Association and Qwest Communications. He earned a B.A. in history from Willamette University and a J.D. from Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon.