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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