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March 2, 2005

Senator Bids to Extend Indecency Rules to Cable (

Currently, the Federal Communications Commission has the authority to fine only over-the-air radio and television broadcasters for violating its indecency regulations..

But Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) told a group of broadcasters yesterday that he wants to extend that authority to cover the hundreds of cable and satellite television and radio channels that operate outside of the government’s control.

“We put restrictions on the over-the-air signals,” Stevens said. “I think we can put restrictions on cable itself. At least I intend to do my best to push that.”

The thought police are coming.

One Comment
  1. March 4, 2005 8:53 AM

    Follow up.

    REP. JOE BARTON, R-TEXAS, CHAIRMAN, HOUSE COMMERCE COMMITTEE: Well, it’s almost it. The first thing we want to do is increase the fines, which are currently almost not even a hand-slap, about $12,000 per violation. We want to raise those to half a million dollars and apply them not only to the broadcaster, but to the entertainer who violates the law. – Your World w/ Neil Cavuto – Cavuto’s Interview – Transcript: Rep. Joe Barton on ‘Your World’

    The people this legislation will harm and the one’s I am most concerned about are the entertainers such as stand-up comedians for example. $12,000 per violation is much more than a hand slap to them, especially to the performer that is just starting out and may be getting their first break on TV. These regulations will really stifle their art.

    That’s step one, is get the actual decency fines raised. Once we get that done, the second question is, since most people get their television through some sort of a cable or satellite outlet, now, there are not too many that get them over the air, television, should we find a way to constitutionally apply the new fines to offenses on cable and satellite.


    Most viewers don’t differentiate between traditional TV and cable so they don’t know when they might be exposed to objectionable programming, Sen. Ted Stevens (search), R-Alaska, head of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, told the National Association of Broadcasters in Washington. – Politics – Congressional GOPers Favor Cable Decency Rules

    Hey, everybody, this guy thinks you’re stupid. Are you gonna take that?

    “In this country, there has to be some standards of decency,” said Stevens, who said he would push for such legislation.


    Will these standards apply to the advertisers that take un-objectional programs and put objectionable materials in the commercial breaks? (I’ve seen an ad for the movie Very Bad Things that featured Christian Slater handling a severed human head on Nikelodeon. Or what about beer ads that objectify women that are shown during sporting events?) I’m not saying we should regulate this; but if you’re going to do it, it should apply to advertisers as well. Will they accept it?

    The broadcasters association, which represents free, over-the-air radio and TV stations, has been critical of the lack of indecency guidelines for cable and satellite stations.


    For obvious reasons. They should be fighting this rather than trying to make it even worse.

    “If a 5-year-old uses the clicker … he can’t differentiate between the over-the-air signals and a cable signal,” said Edward Fritts, the association’s president.


    Parents, if you care what your 5 year old sees on TV, don’t let them use the clicker, for goodness’ sake. Problem solved.

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