Senate Commerce Committee Gets Hot for Indecency Tuesday

Tuesday Thursday begins the Senate Commerce Committee’s orgy of telecom hearings with every pandering lawmaker’s favorite topic: broadcast indecency.
Senate Commerce Committee - Too Hot for TV!

It all starts at 10 AM EST. The lineup of invited panelists is heavy on broadcast and media execs, though anti-indecency crusader Brent Bozell from the Parents Television Council, and Jeff McIntyre from the American Psychological Assocaition are thrown in for good measure.

But, who’s going to argue in favor of broadcast indecency? Sounds like a stacked deck to me.

The festival of bloviation will be webcast live from the Commerce Committee website.

If that hearing doesn’t fulfill your weekly recommended allowance of Congressional naughtiness, tune back in on Thursday at 2:30 PM for the spicier hearing on internet pornography. No witness list has been posted yet, but I doubt it will include Ron Jeremy.

In all seriousness, the indecency hearing (officially titled as “decency”) likely will tackle whether or not current broadcast indececny regs should be extended to cable and satellite, and lots of hot air about how many children will suffer life-long damage if they get another glimpse of Janet Jackson’s nipple. Also expect lots of hand-wringing about how much saucy, but not yet indecent, stuff is on regular TV.

The battle over extending regs to cable and satellite makes for good drama, but probably isn’t really going anywhere. There’s strong opinions that regulating content on satellite and cable wouldn’t pass constitution muster, but it would give Congresscritters the ability to blame them damn activists courts when the South Park kids are free to say “dick” with impunity.

I’ll be most interested in hearing what McIntyre from the APA says about the topic of broadcast indecency, since I’m not aware of any research out there that shows any real damage to children from being exposed to basic swear words and mildly-titillating content (there’s lots of research on porn — but we have to hold off until Thursday for that).

I think the Committee should invite a passel of ten-year-old kids right off the schoolyard to tell them about indececny. If I my own experience as a ten-year-old is at all typical, I bet the kids could tell them quite a bit, even the ones with As in reading and math.






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