The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Saturday, June 05, 2004

Kerry joins Comstocks on FCC censorship? Say it ain't so...

Apparently, Kerry has told C-SPAN that he backs the FCC's crackdown on broadcasting indecency and profanity.

The story is from Broadcasting and Cable - but it's subscribers-only. The story was broken to the Great Unwashed by - Drudge.

It gets house-room because it's a steno job and the world will hear anyway on Sunday what Kerry actually said. (Subject to C-SPAN editing, of course!)

But - in keeping with the Kerry shtick - he opposes FCC censorship of cable output:
"I think there is a distinction between public broadcast and the notions we've had historically about family time, family hour -- and what you buy privately and personally."

"I am not in favor of government interference and censorship and restriction of what an individual privately can decide to do in their home, in their own space, so to speak," Kerry said, but he did seem to be OK with indecency regulation "where you have children involved, where you have a broader cross-section of the public, where there is sort of a sense of family time or hour."

And, on the Jackson wandering tit incident, he could take lessons in valour from the Duke of Plaza-Toro:
I thought that was in poor taste and wrong - wrong venue, wrong timing, wrong place, wrong audience. So, there are some standards and pretty generally people should know what they are.

There are, I fear, no votes in valour where censorship is concerned.

Meanwhile, the Senate bill racheting up the severity of the FCC censorship regime (S2056) has still failed to find its way to the floor.

[There are more Plawg pieces on the FCC and censorship than you can shake a stick at - searching on fcc would, I suspect, be the way to go...]


On cable censorship, is Kerry making a distinction between basic cable and pay cable? (The categories explained.) The Drudge piece says, in the lede, that Kerry
comes out against the greater scrutiny of pay cable channels like HBO and Showtime.

Currently, both types of cable are exempt from FCC censorship. The current version of S 2056 seeks to regulate violence on cable by requiring operators to not to broadcast violence that cannot be blocked during hours when children are liable to be watching (ยง204). If I understand the provision aright, it would apply only to basic cable.

There is nothing in that version of the bill that would apply indecency or profanity censorship to any sort of cable. My recollection is that Comstock senators are proposing, as a sort of de facto cable censorship regime, to require operators to unbundle their offerings so that customers could drop what they perceived as smut channels.


On moves to make cable operators unbundle their channels (a la carte programming), my May 25 piece.

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