Remember how Janet Jackson almost ruined America? Parents Television Council president Brent Bozell hasn’t. And he’s mad because Congress, specifically the Senate, has. Consider:
“This should have happened a long, long time ago,” said L. Brent Bozell, president of the Parents Television Council, an entertainment industry watchdog group. “The House continues to do its job and the Senate continues not to do its job.”
Last year the Senate bill was held up and eventually scuttled by Sen. Ernest “Fritz” Hollings, D-S.C., who wanted the legislation to include a requirement that the Federal Communications Commission study violence on television. This year the issue has been bottled up in the Senate Commerce Committee.
Is it safe to consider this a situation in which our un-oiled wheels of government encountered the friction of common sense and ground to a halt? (Did I take the metaphor too far?) I would like to believe that the bill hasn’t passed the Senate because enough senators are smart enough to understand this:
“What has become clear is this really isn’t about protecting kids. This is about changing television,” said Jim Dyke, executive director of TV Watch, an advocacy group funded in part by the entertainment industry. “A politically active, savvy group of Americans has figured out a way to make TV in their own image.”
Unfortunately, I don’t believe our senators are that smart. Remember, the Senate’s Majority Leader, a medical doctor (dare I say “scientist”) recently backed President Bush’s call for Intelligent Design lessons in America’s science classes. This is also the same Senate Majority Leader who initially failed to correct ridiculous claims of how HIV can be transmitted so as not to discredit scare-mongering nonsense from a few radical conservatives. So, no, that’s probably not it.
So what is it? What could be the reason? Perhaps this is an answer:
Lanier Swann, director of government relations at Concerned Women for America said the panel’s chairman, Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, “needs to answer for the reason that he isn’t helping move this forward when it’s something that the American public would really like to see.”
Stevens hasn’t said why two indecency bills pending in his committee have yet to get a hearing. He has advocated stronger indecency rules for broadcasters, and has complained about vulgarity on cable. His aides say he is not ignoring the issue and is crafting his own legislation.
Committee staff director Lisa Sutherland said Stevens would use the House bill as a framework, but would make changes. She did not detail them, but said Stevens was exploring how parents with cable television can protect children from indecent programming.
Senator Stevens is crafting his own legislation, which I think implies that he’ll use this to gratify his ego, since he’s already spouted off about regulating cable. Perhaps he’ll name it after himself. I hope he does, because history will not be kind to that. Another possibility is that he is determining, with other senators, ways to bury pork in the indecency bill. Perhaps he could fund a free television, with V-chip, for every citizen of Alaska. I would complain, but I vow to stop complaining if he offers one of those televisions to Mr. Bozell.