Tuesday December 13th 2005, 1:13 pm
Filed under: Indecency
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review columnist Dimitri Vassilaros points out that Senator Ted Stevens has a bit of an indecent skeleton hiding in his own closet.
Kevin Martin could be auditioning for the lead in “Nanny 911.”
Mr. Martin, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, just might land the starring role in the TV reality show because he wants to bring order to American households that subscribe to cable TV.
Testifying before the Senate Commerce Committee in its “Open Forum on Decency” a few days ago, Martin said he was displeased with what he thought was a significant increase in sex and profanity on TV as well as with broadcasters for airing “some of the coarsest programming ever aired.”
Martin, who had been an FCC commissioner before President George W. Bush nominated him for chairman in March, suggested that cable companies offer so-called a la carte purchasing so subscribers only would order what they want instead of a package of channels that could include family-unfriendly programming such as MTV.
And in classic “good cop/bad cop” style, committee chair Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, warned that if the cable industry does not become more sensitive to the supposed needs of wholesome families, well, then Congress would be forced to act.
That would be the same Ted Stevens who was chosen Porker of the Month in July 2003 by Citizens Against Government Waste. The same Stevenson who never met an earmark he didn’t like for his state, including that $223 million of pork earmarked for the “Bridge to Nowhere” to be used by about 50 Alaskans. Speaking of indecency.
Gentlemen, America thanks you for your service by using the bully pulpit, and the threat of government edict, to tell American corporations how to operate their businesses. Who, other than social conservative scolds, knew that something had to be done about the racy shows and channels that cable subscribers — typically adults — voluntarily subscribe to?
Now that Republican politicians and political appointees are using their combined wisdom, and the power of the state, to end the bundling of products in the cable TV industry, these social conservative scolds could help consumers of other products or services that Big Business markets as a package.
Why must consumers be held hostage whenever they walk into a Denny’s restaurant and are forced to pay for the two buttermilk pancakes, two eggs, two bacon strips, two sausage links, hash browns or grits or bread and a small glass of juice and coffee of a Denny’s Grand Slam Slugger when they didn’t want that second egg?
Are these victims of bundling any less important than cable TV customers?
Why should Toyota Camry buyers be forced to purchase the Convenience Plus Package B when they did not want the manually retractable rear sunshade?
And what of those who feel as if they must accept the Holy Trinity when they only bought into the Father?
Condescending conservatives are just as bad as condescending liberals. Both know what’s best for all adults, and when they assume the controls of government, both use the power of the state to treat adults as if they were wayward dull children.
Has anyone noticed the absolutely stunning hypocrisy of Mr. Stevens? How many appropriations bills has Stevens unbundled so the public could judge the merits of each earmark as a separate expenditure?
But why bother when conservatives care more about indecency on the screen than in the Senate.