Federal Communication Commission: Nanny 911

A merican families havegained a third parent.In other words, wehave a mother, a father andthe FCC.When I was a child, mymom would turn off the televisionif something inappropriatewas on. Today we havethe luxury of a V-Chip soparents can make certain programsunavailable to children.Since the Janet Jackson”wardrobe malfunction,”therehas been anoutcry for theFCC to be moreassertive.Recently, thistopic receivedmore attentionwhen approximately25 percent ofABC’s affiliatesrefused to air”Saving PrivateRyan” on VeteransDay in fearof FCC fines. It is importantto realize that this movie hadpreviously been shown, unedited,on television.When did I miss the pointthat I am no longer responsiblefor my actions?If I choose to watch anunedited version of this historicalwar movie, shouldn’t Ihave that right?I understand reasons tokeep foul language and senselessviolence off mainstreamtelevision, but at what pointis enough too much?I like “South Park.” I laughat how they kill Kenny. Inormally don’tfind racial orreligious jokesfunny but in”South Park,”they insultthem all, sosometimes itis funny.When I turnon my cabletelevision at10:30 p.m. tosee the showthat set newrecords in theuse of profanity,I feel cheated and frustratedthat they are bleepingout the words.It’s cable television at night!If we are attempting to editthe world forour children,there’s a muchmore effectiveway: Tell them”no.”The new and”improved”FCC has alsobecome a hugeproblem forradio.DJs likeHoward Stern have been affectedto a great degree. I’mnot a big Howard fan.I laughed once at his showwhen I was driving back toUtah and heard him offeringa girl $2,000 just so he couldtickle her.After some discussion andassurances that it would onlybe tickling, the young girlagreed to be tickled for 45seconds. With her managerin the room to make surethat nothing inappropriatehappened, Howard began totickle her.She didn’t laugh once.After she had laughed becauseshe really thought therewould be a string attached,that something else was goingto happen, andthere was nostring.That one episodewas funny.Normally, thereare too manybad jokes andtoo much foullanguage forme to enjoy hisshow.After thelatest round of fines from theFCC, the Clear Channel radiostations pulled the “HowardStern Show” from six markets.Stern decided to movehis radio show to a satellitesystem where the FCC has noinfluence.I have to wonder at whatpoint parents will takeresponsibility for their kids,instead of making the FCC,who has told us what we’reallowed to listen to or towatch.So if you really do wantgovernment deciding what’son TV, here’s my big suggestion:Have President Bush givesome of his beloved tax cutsto producers of perceivedfamily shows. One of myfavorites is “Joan of Arcadia”on Friday night.Offering financial incentivesto make family programmingcould be a wayto get televisionstations tolook forbig hitsthatappealto thefamilymarket.Instead of “Bay Watch 2.0,”we could see the next versionof “Family Ties.” You knowMichael J. Fox’s characterwould be down with thosetax [email protected]