In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin answered questions about broadband and broadcast indecency. I’m not going to bother with his broadband comments, even though he offered some fiscally irresponsible strategies for rural access to the Internets. My focus is on Mr. Martin’s answer to the following question:
WSJ: Do you think the government should be in the role to decide what’s indecent?
I didn’t have any great hope of an answer I’d agree with. The answer should be “no” (or, if I’m having a particularly happy dream, “NO!”), but nothing in the last 18 months provides any expectation of that. I read his response with trepidation.
Martin: You always have to be careful when you’re talking about the government being involved in content issues. For anyone who expresses concern about what’s on television or radio today the first line of defense always has to be the parents. The parents who are with their children and should be watching or supervising what they’re watching on television or listen to on radio should be doing everything they can to make sure their children aren’t being exposed to things they think are inappropriate. Fundamentally, the government should be trying to provide tools for parents to help them control what’s coming into their living rooms and what their kids are exposed to.
My “NO!” answer came, but out of my mouth, not Mr. Martin’s. Fundamentally, the private sector should be trying to provide tools for parents etc. etc. etc. Which, if my last read through my television’s manual, the private sector is already providing. One of them, the power button, it’s provided since the day the first television went on sale. Other tools popped up over the last few decades, including the channel block, the V-chip, the telephone, and eBay. I know those last two might be hard to understand, but they work quite well. Any parent can find the phone number for the local cable company and cancel cable. If that’s insufficient, they can even use the Internets to sell the television on eBay. Wow, capitalism rocks!
How is it not about creating a moralistic nanny state?
(Hat tip: Instapundit)