SpeakSpeak News


Bozell Dismisses TV Watch As “Network Hired Gun”

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 05/04/2005 @ 9:11 pm

Brent Bozell has dismissed the bipartisan TV Watch coalition (which includes SpeakSpeak) as a “network-bought hired gun.

Point 1: TV Watch aims to end government restriction on TV content.

Point 2: TV Watch, according to what we were told when we agreed to join the coalition, has not and will not take an official position on a la carte programming. It is accepted that coalition members will likely not reach a consensus on the issue.

Point 3: If TV Watch is a “network-bought hired gun,” we didn’t get the memo. Will someone please forward it, along with the check? Thanks! (And if there are any open positions for an anti-PTC hired gun, give us a call!)

California Video Game Bill Shot Dead

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 05/04/2005 @ 10:04 am

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that a California Assembly bill that would have banned the sale of violent video games to minors has gone down in a blaze of bullets. The bill would have fined retailers $1,000 for selling or renting games to kids 16 and under if those games depicted violence against humans.

“To defend free speech here is not to endorse the content of these games, ” Clay Calvert, a Pennsylvania State University communications and law professor, told the committee. “Before we go down the slippery slope of censorship and play the media blame game, it is seriously worth considering these issues.”

Lawmakers struggled to weigh their revulsion toward violent games against the games’ place in a free and open society.

“Are we kicking open the door to government saying what’s appropriate in terms of all kinds of materials?” asked Assemblywoman Rebecca Cohn, D-Saratoga.

Yesterday, the Parents Television Council urged its members to contact the legislative committee responsible for the bill’s vote.

The entertainment industry is fighting this bill and others like it around the country with piles of cash in the name of first amendment rights. What they are really doing is protecting their corporate bottom line by selling despicable acts of violence and depravity to children. Please help the PTC remind our representatives that they were elected to represent the public interest, not the financial interests of deep-pocketed industry lobbyists.

TV Watch Launches

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 05/04/2005 @ 8:42 am

[As it happens…]

The TV Watch Coalition, of which SpeakSpeak is a member, has officially launched. TV Watch endorses personal responsibility, is working to prevent government restriction on TV content, and aims to educate parents on parental control technologies already available to them.

During a conference call, participants discussed a survey conducted by pollsters Frank Luntz and Geoff Garin.

Says Frank Luntz: “It is so overwhelming that the public wants to make the decisions themselves.” Luntz remarks that yes, people are frustrated, sometimes the issue is a bit overwhelming, but people want to be in control themselves.

Luntz also says that two thirds of respondents claim that recent events deprived them of content choices because broadcasters were nervous.


Executive Director Jim Dyke says education will take precedence over lobbying. This means YOU STILL NEED TO SPEAK UP.


Adam Thierer: The Parents Television Council and American Family Association are having a disproportionate influence, they’re creating a new reality that doesn’t really exist. “Just because you have “parents” in the name of the group doesn’t mean you speak for all of them.”


Journalists are taking TV Watch reps to task for not more directly addressing a family tier of programming, or “a la carte” programming. TV Watch director Jim Dyke says TV Watch is focused more on parental control and education.

Theirer: Family friendly programming is another form of governmental control, “censorship by another name.” The government “would be in the position of defining ‘family friendly.’ I would think that many Americans would find that a disturbing option.”


Jim Dyke says he has not yet heard from the PTC, but hopes to have a lively debate with them.


Journalists are asking TV Watch reps whether the media companies are behind this initiative – to which I’d like to say we were here first!

The TV Watch site hosts a petition that supports consumer choice in lieu of government control. Please sign it.

More as it happens….

Most Americans Want Warnings, Not Restrictions

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 05/04/2005 @ 8:02 am

A new poll conducted by the TV Watch Coalition** shows that the vast majority of Americans favor content warnings over content restrictions.

According to the poll, 85% said they preferred parents to exercise control over what they watch instead of the government, and 89% said they believed parents would do a better job protecting their children from indecent material on television and radio. (A measly 10% would opt for government control.)

From Reuters.

**SpeakSpeak is a member of this bipartisan coalition.

Vagina Dialogues Satisfy Participants

Filed under
  • Free Speech
 by Amanda Toering — 05/04/2005 @ 7:56 am

The final chapter in the I [Heart] My Vagina saga?

Students in Winona, MN, held a flagpole rally to quietly protest school officials’ decision to ban buttons that read “I [heart] my vagina” and “I support your vagina.” The buttons made reference to the popular play “The Vagina Monologues.”

At the protest, students wore T-shirts with the banned vagina slogans and held signs that read “Keep fighting until the violence stops” and “We respect authority.” Students were asked to turn their shirts inside-out before entering the school. All but two complied – the two original button-wearers – who were sent home from school.

The Winona Daily News carries stories about the rally, and about community reaction to it.

Senator Stevens Still Simmering

Filed under
  • Cable/Satellite
 by Amanda Toering — 05/04/2005 @ 7:37 am

Senator Ted Stevens, the original force behind the move to penalize indecency on cable and satellite broadcasts, is regrouping now that cable corps have announced a $250 plan (or sham, depending on who you ask) to educate parents on how to control their sets.

Lisa Sutherland, the [Senate Commerce] committee’s majority staff director, said Stevens is continuing to think about the issue and reviewing various bills, including one introduced last week by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) that would require cable and satellite providers to establish within one year a “child friendly” tier, free of sex and violence, or face fines of $500,000 per day.

“We have not scheduled a hearing or mark up yet because we wanted to give the [cable] industry a chance to see what it might do to address some of these issues,” Sutherland said, calling cable’s moves last week “big strides” even though Stevens wanted to see cable “go a little further in terms of trying to address a kind of family-friendly cable tier.”

One option being discussed, she said, was “maybe the bottom 20 channels be kind of family friendly in terms of indecency requirements.”

From Multichannel News.

FCC’s Adelstein to Parents: Use Your Tools

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 05/04/2005 @ 7:32 am

FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein urged parents to use tools already available to them when that ol’ indecenct content bugaboo creeps up on them. At the same time, he called on cable networks to regulate themselves a little more carefully.

“It’s especially critical that the cable industry self-regulate, that we encourage those efforts, and that we encourage together parents to take control of their own televisions, because, after all, the government really can’t substitute for parents,” Adelstein said in comments to the Cable Television Public Affairs Association.


Adelstein said he became familiar with cable’s blocking technology during a visit to a Comcast Corp. facility in Virginia.

“I saw how it worked and I thought, ‘This is fantastic. This is easy,’ ” he said, urging cable to spread the message to parents. “They have no idea that this wonderful tool is available to them.”

From Multichannel News.

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