What are the Republicans smoking these days?
Now we have Rep. James Sensenbrenner III (WI) suggesting that broadcasters who are accused of violating FCC decency regulations be tried as criminals.
Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner III, R-Wis., told cable industry executives attending the National Cable & Telecommunications Assn. conference here on Monday that criminal prosecution would be a more efficient way to enforce the indecency regulations.Hey guy, aren’t you taking that so-called Republican mandate thing a little too far? Even people who don’t subscribe to and have no plans on subscribing to the triple X channels--or even HBO--think it’s stupid and dangerous to criminalize displays of compartmentalized forms of indecency. It isn’t as though broadcasters are planning to flash breasts from the humongous public TV screens.
“I’d prefer using the criminal process rather than the regulatory process,” Sensenbrenner told the executives.
“People who are in flagrant disregard should face a criminal process rather than a regulator [sic] process,” Sensenbrenner said. “That is the way to go. Aim the cannon specifically at the people committing the offenses, rather than the blunderbuss approach that gets the good actors.When a specific violator of an FCC decency standard is fined, how are “good actors” affected by that fine?
Yes, broadcast channels should be regulated for decency and violators should pay in some manner—up to having the license suspended/revoked even--but criminalizing offenses that do not deprive individuals or groups of life, limb, liberty and/or property is a place where we do not want to go..
And before someone comments that Rep. Sensenbrenner is only target broadcast stations, look who else was in attendance.
Although cable and satellite TV are not covered by the indecency statutes, Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, and Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, have said they want to bring multichannel programmers into the legal mix.Senator Stevens has been talking up fining cable and satellite companies for indecency for a few months now.
Stevens attended the convention Sunday, when he met with top cable industry executives, sources said. The executives hoped to persuade Stevens to back off, the sources said.
In this country, adults should have the freedom to pollute their minds in their own homes and whoever may want to sell them that pollution should not have to suffer monetarily for it, much less be criminalized. I may think that this sort of thing is distasteful and even sinful, but guess what? As long as no children are seeing graphic programs and as long as the programs are not up for free public consumption, it’s not my business, nor is it that of the government.
I don’t have Republican congressional representatives, but many of you do. Write to them and tell them to ease up on this sort of thing.
Didn’t congress waste enough time and money on the steroid hearings?
(Thanks to Jeff Goldstein)
UPDATE: Joel of No Pundit Intended says that Rep. Sensenbrenner's intent is to criminalize *individual* offenders rather than broadcast/cable/satellite licensees. If true, I'd call that almost worse. Can you see individuals earning a criminal record for purposefully dropping the F-bomb on TV, as Shaquille O'Neal infamously did in an impromtu interview last season?
Some observers, even Republicans, lamented that it was dangerous for one party to hold the executive branch and both houses of congress. This kind of thing demonstrates why.