SpeakSpeak News

Urgent Action: FCC Names New Enforcement Head (sticky)

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 04/29/2005 @ 9:41 am

More inside….


Headline of the Day

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 04/29/2005 @ 10:37 am

From Agape Press: “Many Agree: Bible is Not Just a Good Book – It’s a Good Education.”

Much to the chagrin of groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and People for the American Way, Bible curriculum classes are being taught in more than a thousand public high schools across the United States….

Some school districts are frightened off by the specter of lawsuits; nevertheless, Bible curriculum classes are now being taught in some 1,100 high schools in 300 school districts in 35 states across the nation – and this is going on during school hours, for credit, with the Bible as the textbook. That is because those 300 school districts are currently offering a course called “The Bible as History and Literature,” a course curriculum from the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools (NCBCPS).

Think that’s not a violation of the separation of church and state? Check out the URL in the preceding paragraph. Go on. Hover. Or bet yet, click it.

Put the “Public” Back in PBS

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 04/29/2005 @ 10:32 am

Free Press has joined up with several consumer advocacy groups to return public interest to PBS, “proposing a series of local hearings across the country where the public will talk directly to broadcasters and policymakers about the future of public broadcasting.”

Read their announcement, and their report on the state of public broadcasting at Free Press.

Washington Times Op-Ed: Parents Make the Best Legislators

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 04/29/2005 @ 10:22 am

Bruce Fein, former general counsel to the FCC under Reagan, has penned an op-ed in the Washington Times regarding potential legislative acts against ‘indecency.’

His conclusion:

If parents are provided the means, the vast majority will exercise good judgment in shielding their children from premature and shocking exposure to sex or profanity. If private industry is forthcoming on that score, federal legislation will be unnecessary.

Read it all.

Shielding children from indecency, Washington Times.

Toronto Cable Provider Decides Against Free Porn Weekend

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 04/29/2005 @ 10:11 am

A Toronto cable company had planned to offer free porn previews to its subscribers this weekend, which it has done in the past without incident. After a Toronto Globe and Mail article detailing the plan, however, the cable company has changed its mind.

Rogers Cable developed the 54-hour promo in an effort to boost subscriptions to its three hard-core pay channels. Subscribers were to have free access to the pay channels over the weekend, although that access would have been restricted by channel lock feature and would have required a PIN.

Rogers’ cable boxes are programmed with a default PIN (0000) and the company began to worry that many subscribers had not entered their own – thus potentially allowing children to access the hardcore fare.

In a literal and figurative butt-covering, the company canceled free porn weekend.

Rogers Cable to Offer Free Porn (Toronto Globe and Mail, April 28)
Rogers cancels free porn-channels preview (Toronto Globe and Mail, April 29)

The Gays Are Coming! Run!

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 04/29/2005 @ 9:59 am

Three cable networks aimed at gay audiences are preparing to make their debut.

The Southern Voice has the details.

California Columnist: I Love TV, and I’m Proud

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 04/29/2005 @ 9:54 am

Modesto Bee TV columnist Marijke Rowland proudly admits her fondness for TV.

I’ve watched TV all my life. I watched it as a child. I watched it in high school. I watched tons of it in college. I watch it now, as a working professional.

I plan to keep watching it until they implant a receptor chip in my head, and then I’ll just dial my brain over to catch new episodes of “CSI: Mars.”

I love television. There, I said it. Heck, I own four of them.

It makes me happy, most of the time. I can’t say I don’t grumble at it. And I can’t say that my mind doesn’t go numb at times when, say, watching Verne “Mini Me” Troyer find new and unusual places to pee on the “Surreal Life.”

But just because I watch and enjoy television doesn’t make me less in touch with my loved ones. It doesn’t make me less interested in the world. And it certainly doesn’t make me less intelligent. They are not mutually exclusive.

Television has become the favorite whipping boy of cultural watchdogs who say it leads to violence, obesity and overt sexuality.

But that argument leads us right back to the old chicken and the egg dilemma. Did TV make us how we are today, or did how we are make TV what it is today?

Turn off the what? Modesto Bee

Paris Hilton Burger Ad a No-Go

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 04/29/2005 @ 9:49 am

Poor Paris.

A commercial spot starring the famous-for-nothing starlet will probably never reach the airwaves. Why? Well, it’s too…. Too Paris?

The spot is meeting with some resistance from network executives. “It couldn’t be more pornographic,” said a source. “It’s about as racy as I’ve seen.”

From AdWeek.

Southern Poverty Law Center on Proposed ‘Bama Book Ban

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 04/29/2005 @ 9:36 am

The folks at the Southern Povery Law Center – which isn’t just for poor Southerners anymore – have dissected a bill introduced into Alabama’s legislature that would ban “gay” books.

Practical matters aside, State Rep. Gerald Allen is certainly aware that his proposed statute violates a core tenet of the First Amendment — it’s commonplace knowledge that the government is prohibited from stifling speech because of its message, idea or subject matter. [See R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul, 505 u.s. 377, 386 (1992)]

And Allen’s bill represents the most egregious form of content-based regulation because it is viewpoint-discriminatory. [See Rosenberger v. Rector and Visitors of Univ. of Va., 515 u.s. 819, 829 (1995) (explaining that “[v]iewpoint discrimination is … an egregious form of content discrimination").]

The bill would prohibit only those materials that promote homosexuality, leaving books that cast homosexuality in a negative light unscathed and on Alabama bookshelves.

From the Southern Povery Law Center.

Bozell: “That Kettle Is Black!”

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 04/29/2005 @ 9:24 am

In his Town Hall column, Brent Bozell makes a delightful pot-calling-the-kettle-black-argument: Cable lobbyists are “creepy.”

In its attempts to control the damage to cable TV’s reputation – for being the television equivalent of a man selling skin magazines and gory comic books out of a trench coat on a street corner – the NCTA proposed what it would like the public, and legislators, to think is a bold plan of action. It will “spend” the equivalent of $250 million of its advertising time airing public-service announcements explaining how parents can use the V-chip to screen out offensive programming. It will also encourage cable channels to increase the size of TV ratings on screen and ask that they put the ratings up after every commercial.

Bozell goes on to make his standard argument against the V-Chip:

As has been documented numerous times, TV producers regularly refuse to attach the very program descriptors ("L” for foul language, “V” for violence and so on) to programs that would require them. So much for the letter and the spirit of this voluntary ratings system. So much for the usefulness of the V-chip.

Well, not exactly. NBC (the network – not the “producers") was the lone hold-out regarding the content descriptors, but they acceded yesterday in an announcement that coincided with the unveiling of the cable industry’s plan.

And then Bozell ends with an evergreen: The only two solutions are a la carte programming (which cable execs claim would break the bank) , or censorship. As always, he forgot the option of ‘off.’

There’s only one sincere choice for the industry and its lobbyists to take: Fix it. Clean it up. Give consumers a real choice to avoid the cultural pollution in our homes. At the very least, don’t insult us by coming before the press and claiming you give a hoot about what toxic television is doing to the culture, in our homes and in our schools and neighborhoods.

Cable’s Creepy Lobbyists, at Town Hall.

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