Saturday, February 19, 2005

Censorship of the Media Creating Insidious Chill on Free Expression on our Airwaves

The following is a 2/16/2005 floor statement by Rep. Bernard Sanders in opposition to The Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act 2005.

By US Rep. Bernie Sanders

Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to this legislation.

Mr. Speaker, I think we can all agree that we do not want our children exposed to obscenity on the public airwaves. That goes without saying.

As someone who last year voted in favor of similar legislation, I am increasingly alarmed by the culture of censorship that seems to be developing in this country, and I will not be voting for this bill today. This censorship is being conducted by the corporate owners of our increasingly consolidated, less diverse media. And it is being done by the government. This result is an insidious chill on free expression on our airwaves.

There are a lot of people in Congress who talk about freedom, freedom and freedom but, apparently, they do not really believe that the American people should have the "freedom" to make the choice about what they listen to on radio or watch on TV. There are a lot of people in Congress who talk about the intrusive role of "government regulators," but today they want government regulators to tell radio and TV stations what they can air. I disagree with that. A vote for this bill today will make America a less free society.

Mr. Speaker: I am not a conservative. But on this issue I find myself in strong agreement with Mr. Adam D. Thierer, the Director of Telecommunications studies at the Cato Institute - a very conservative think tank. And here is the very common sense, pro-freedom position that he brings forth:

"Those of use who are parents understand that raising a child in today's modern media marketplace is a daunting task at times. But that should not serve as an excuse for inviting Uncle Sam in to play the role of surrogate parent for us and the rest of the public without children.

"Even if lawmakers have the best interest of children in mind, I take great offense at the notion that government officials must do this job for me and every other American family.

"Censorship on an individual/parental level is a fundamental part of being a good parent. But censorship at a government level is an entirely different matter because it means a small handful of individuals get to decide what the whole nation is permitted to see, hear or think.

"I've always been particularly troubled by the fact that so many conservatives, who rightly preach the gospel of personal and parental responsibility about most economic issues, seemingly give up on this notion when it comes to cultural issues."

Mr. Speaker, the specter of censorship is growing in America today, and we have got to stand firmly in opposition to it. What America is about is not necessarily liking what you have to say or agreeing with you, but it is your right to say it. Today, it is Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction or Howard Stern's vulgarity. What will it be tomorrow?

Let me give just a couple of examples of increased censorship on the airwaves. In January of 2004, CBS refused to air a political advertisement during the Super Bowl by MoveOn.org that was critical of President Bush's role in creating the federal deficit. Last November, sixty-six ABC affiliates refused to air the brilliant World War II movie "Saving Private Ryan," starring Tom Hanks, for fear that they would be fined for airing programming containing profanity and graphic violence, even though ABC had aired the uncut movie in previous years. This ironically was a movie that showed the unbelievable sacrifices that American soldiers made on D-Day fighting for freedom against Hitler, but ABC affiliates around the country didn't feel free to show it. Last November, CBS and NBC refused to run a 30-second ad from the United Church of Christ because it suggested that gay couples were welcome to their Church. The networks felt that it was "too controversial" to air. And just last month, many PBS stations refused to air an episode of Postcards with Buster, a children's show, because Education Secretary Spellings objected to the show's content, which included Buster, an 8-year old bunny-rabbit, learning how to make maple syrup from a family with two mothers in Vermont.

Mr. Speaker, each of these examples represent a different aspect of the culture of censorship that is growing in America today. My fear is that the legislation we have before us today will only compound this problem and make a bad situation worse.

This legislation would impose vastly higher fines on broadcasters for so-called indecent material. But this legislation does not provide any relief from the vague standard of indecency that can be arbitrarily applied by the FCC. That means broadcasters, particularly small broadcasters, will have no choice but to engage in a very dangerous cycle of self-censorship to avoid a fine that could drive some of them into bankruptcy. Broadcasters are already doing it now. Imagine what will happen when a violation can bring a $500,000 fine. If this legislation is enacted, the real victim will be free expression and Americans' First Amendment rights.

In the past week I have sought out the views of broadcasters in my own state of Vermont and I have heard from many of them. Without exception they are extremely concerned about the effect this legislation will have on programming decisions.

Mr. Speaker, I am enclosing a copy of a statement by Mr. John King, President and CEO of Vermont Public Television.

Statement of Mr. John King, President and CEO of VT Public Television on H.R. 310:

Vermont Public Television, like other local broadcasters, does its best to serve the needs and interests of its local community. It's a great privilege and a great responsibility to have a broadcast license. While we acknowledge that there must be sanctions for broadcasters who misuse the public airwaves, we believe the sanctions proposed in HR 310 are extreme.

The FCC's proposals for increased fines for obscenity, indecency and profanity have already had a chilling effect on broadcasters nationally and locally, including Vermont Public Television. The legislation also makes lodging a complaint easier and puts the burden of proof on the station. Codifying these proposals into law will make the situation worse.

While many people might assume the new sanctions are aimed at commercial broadcasters, public broadcasters are feeling the effects every day. Public television's educational programming for children has always provided a safe haven. The same public television stations that take such care of their young viewers also respect the intelligence and discretion of their adult viewers to make the best viewing choices for themselves.

Vermont Public Television has always operated responsibly in our programming for adults. At times, our programs included adult language and situations appropriate to the informational or artistic purpose of a program. While there have always been prohibitions against gratuitous indecency, the FCC always took context into account. Now, it seems that context is no longer considered.

Much as we might like to invoke our First Amendment rights, we dare not risk the large fine that could come with a single violation. The $500,000 maximum fine could put a small station like VPT out of business.

Last year, when the FCC proposed increased fines and told broadcasters there was one word that would never be appropriate on the air, PBS and its member stations, including Vermont Public Television, began to make content choices so as not to run afoul of the new FCC restrictions.

PBS programmers began making edits to national programs being distributed to stations. An "American Experience" documentary on Emma Goldman was scrutinized for what might possibly look like a bare breast and edited, just to be sure. On "Antiques Roadshow," a nude poster was edited. This month, most PBS stations will air a drama from HBO called "Dirty War ." In the story, a woman showers to remove radiation. When the program airs on PBS, the shower scene will be edited.

Our programming director, and no doubt most local programmers, have become very cautious. Once the FCC starts telling broadcasters they must not use certain words or situations, programmers tend to avoid producing and airing programs with words and situations that might even come close to content that could be subject to fines.

At VPT, we produce many live local programs with panelists representing many points of view. We take calls from viewers live on the air. There has never been a problem with language, but the legislation's reference to using a "time delay blocking mechanism" makes us worry. We don't use a time delay. Are we subject to a fine if a panelist or a caller uses a word considered obscene, indecent or profane?

Our programming director says the FCC proposals have already made us rule out airing independent films on our "Reel Independent" program. Films by Vermont filmmakers that we would have aired in past years are not being accepted for broadcast now.

We cannot support HR 310 as it is written.

82 comments:

  1. Nice site i came here searching for make serious money online and was looking for other people who are interested in make serious money online
    You might be interested in make serious money online

    ReplyDelete
  2. Found you radom Blogging. Blog On.
    See The Top Ten For yourself

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hey came across your site looking for other christian affiliate program related sites, and yours came up. Not bad ranking for the terms "christian affiliate program" anyway i invite you all since im here to join my new forum! Start posting today! Makecash.org

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great Blog! Ilike it.I have Site where you can Find sex partnerTake a look if you have a minute. Thanks and have a good one!

    ReplyDelete
  5. affiliate click pay per program is great

    i found here searching for the word affiliate click pay per program and your site was listed high on the word affiliate click pay per program
    GOOD JOB

    affiliate click pay per program

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hey i got here searching for make money online with affiliate program
    Your sites not too bad!

    You got good rankings for them keywords make money online with affiliate program

    Check out my site
    make money online with affiliate program

    ReplyDelete
  7. Yo, This blog is pretty neat. You should check out mine sometime. It pretty much covers canadian pharmacy affiliate related stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I will bookmark this great blog on arts and entertainment television Hrere's another interesting blog on the subject arts and entertainment television

    ReplyDelete
  9. I found your blog by accident, great info keep it up. I will be checking back often now that I know you are here!

    I have been running my own site about ways to make money online for some time now and I am only just getting into blogging.

    ReplyDelete
  10. hey came looking for adult free no personals sign up

    i found another blog about it nice ! adult free no personals sign up are a great way to find someone!
    Maybe you should think about adding more adult free no personals sign up related topics on your site.

    heres another related site about adult free no personals sign up

    ReplyDelete
  11. hey nice site you have here!

    Any tips on bloggin ? id like to see your reply to this story :)

    look forward to the next edition

    i have bookmarked you

    ReplyDelete
  12. Cool blog you have. I have a ways to make money online related site. Check it out if you get a chance. The URL is ways to make money online

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!

    I have a business business business business from from from from home home home home honest honest honest honest internet internet internet internet opportunity opportunity opportunity opportunity successforfreedom.com work work work work site. It pretty much covers business business business business from from from from home home home home honest honest honest honest internet internet internet internet opportunity opportunity opportunity opportunity successforfreedom.com work work work work related stuff.

    Come and check it out if you get time :-)

    ReplyDelete
  14. San Diego is having a Hot Rod Halloween on Sunday, October 30. If you love custom painted car then you will want to be there! All kinds of custom painted car will be in attendance. For more information go to custom painted car
    See Ya There!!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hey, I really like your blog. I bookmarked it so I can come back often. Thanks for the great content on self improvement program.

    If you get time you can look at my self improvement program. You will find good content on self improvement program related stuff there.

    Enjoy Barbara

    ReplyDelete
  16. Rebate Programs
    by: make money online business

    When you shop, always keep your eyes open for rebate
    programs. Although filling out the forms and clipping
    the UPC codes from a box is a hassle, the money you save
    is worth it. Some rebate items are not listed as offering
    a rebate. Check out AsmartShop.com or Rebateplace.com to
    see if any of your recent purchases offer a rebate.

    make money online business

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!

    I have a advertising promotion site/blog. It pretty much covers advertising promotion related stuff.

    Come and check it out if you get time :-)

    ReplyDelete
  18. Shop Online
    by: make money online free

    Many online businesses offer great bargains and in
    some cases, free shipping. Since the Internet is
    such a competitive market, you can usually find
    fantastic deals. In addition, many of your favorite
    businesses where you shop in person have websites
    that offer even greater savings. Bookstores such as
    Amazon.com will sell books up to 70% off the original
    price. Overstock.com is another online business that
    sells closeout items for fantastic bargains.

    make money online free

    ReplyDelete
  19. nice site :)

    Check out asian adult friend finderasian adult friend finder asian adult friend finder

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hey you should come to this site about adult adult dating.info erotic erotic erotic erotic erotic online personals personals personals personals

    Its here click on adult adult dating.info erotic erotic erotic erotic erotic online personals personals personals personals

    ReplyDelete
  21. So your an adult

    Come join the rest of the adults at adult sex

    ReplyDelete
  22. I know that you are probably very busy. When you get the chance, could you please critique my site for me at tommy burns.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I know that you are probably very busy. When you get the chance, could you please critique my site for me at online opportunities.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I know that you are probably very busy. When you get the chance, could you please critique my site for me at make money online.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I like the information you got on your blog! thumbs up. have a look at my blog, it's about make money online and other make money online subjects. or just check out http://www.i-web.ws

    amanda ;)

    ReplyDelete
  26. I just came across your blog and wanted to drop you a note telling you how impressed I was with the information you have posted here.
    I also have a web site & blog about work at home so I know what I'm talking about when I say your site is top-notch! Keep up the great work!

    ReplyDelete
  27. I know that you are probably very busy. When you get the chance, could you please critique my site for me at tommy burns.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hi ##NAME##, while looking for info on arbitrage sports betting, I saw your blog ##TITLE## and congrats. It's exciting stuff, like the new Sports Arbitrage Software with its five way to make guaranteed winnings. Sports arbitrage, as some may not know, is simply betting on both sides of a sports event - and with this software you should double a same amount bet every 20 days. So, In 12 months a $100 bet wins $1825, and $1,000 wins $18,250. That's a 152% return a month! You don't have to buy our software program for arbitrage unless you think you want the most successful system, and like it's done in only 15 minutes a day. And, unlike a HYIP offer - YOU CAN'T LOSE! Better check this money making ##LINK## for 2006 and be ready start the new year happy and profitable. Get a special deal for affiliates. And good blogging in 2006!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hi, say while looking for info on , I saw your blog and my congrats to you. It's exciting stuff, like the new Sports Arbitrage Software with its five ways to make you guaranteed winnings. Sports arbitrage in case you don't know is simply betting on both sides of a sports event - and with this software you can double a set bet amount every 20 days! So, In 12 months a $100 bet wins $1825, and $1,000 wins $18,250. That's a potential 152% return a month for this ! You don't have to buy our software program for because you could do it manually, but with our software it's done in only 15 minutes a day. And, unlike those HYIP offers - YOU CAN'T be scammed of all your money! Better check this money making http://joetees.tripod.com/sport - for 2006 - and be ready start the new year very profitable. Get a special deal for affiliates - just come see. And good blogging in 2006!

    ReplyDelete

  30. adult dating <<< Meet Thousands Of Singles In Your Area >>>

    Hundreds Of Happy People Across The Globe Have Been Successful In Finding Suitable Partners With Online dating. Thousand Of People Are Looking For A Date Today. They Are Looking For Someone. Are You One Of Them?

    Lonely? Single? Married?
    Are you looking for someone to FLIRT?
    Looking for someone to DATE?
    Find your special someone.
    Date man or women you desire!

    Multilingual : English - Chinese Simplified - Chinese Traditional - Dutch - French - German - Greek - Italian - Japanese - Korean - Portuguese - Russian - Spanish

    Free Trial! Chat Real Time with Audio & Video Capabilities. adult dating

    ReplyDelete

  31. dating web site <<< Meet Thousands Of Singles In Your Area >>>

    Hundreds Of Happy People Across The Globe Have Been Successful In Finding Suitable Partners With Online dating. Thousand Of People Are Looking For A Date Today. They Are Looking For Someone. Are You One Of Them?

    Lonely? Single? Married?
    Are you looking for someone to FLIRT?
    Looking for someone to DATE?
    Find your special someone.
    Date man or women you desire!

    Multilingual : English - Chinese Simplified - Chinese Traditional - Dutch - French - German - Greek - Italian - Japanese - Korean - Portuguese - Russian - Spanish

    Free Trial! Chat Real Time with Audio & Video Capabilities. dating web site

    ReplyDelete
  32. Happy New Year, doing some blog surfing and saw yours. Nice blog.daily devotionalhttp://tinyurl.com/72w9daily devotional

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hi Friend! You have a great blog over here!
    Please accept my compliments and wishes for your happiness and success!
    If you have a moment, please take a look at my site:
    healthcare job listings
    It covers healthcare job listings related subjects.
    Have a great day!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Great post. I too have a blog about bankruptcy law . let me know if you want to trade links.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Excellent blog, you might want to check out filling personal bankruptcy which is my blog about filling personal bankruptcy

    ReplyDelete
  36. Great post. I too have a blog. Its about us bankruptcy court so please check it out.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Excellent blog, you might want to check out personal bankruptcy which is my blog about personal bankruptcy

    ReplyDelete
  38. Great post. I too have a blog. Its about chapter 7 bankruptcy so please check it out.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Good blog, you may want to check out do it yourself bankruptcy which is my blog about do it yourself bankruptcy

    ReplyDelete
  40. Great post. I too have a blog. Its about do it yourself bankruptcy so please check it out.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Hello there, I was recently doing a search through blogs for the keyphrase home inspection business. I happened to come across yours even though it wasn't particularly related to what I searched for. I figured I wouldn't mind contributing to your blog by commenting it. I've been quite busy to work on my blog lately but I am interested in topics being generally related to what I search for. I know you may not think this is an appropriate post to your blog, however I would just like to compliment you on your blog and I wish you well in future endeavors with it,

    Sincerely,

    Mark

    if you would like me to stop posting on your blog ill get the message if you turn on word verification for your blogger.com account there are no need for complaints when you could simply use that function.

    p.s. I like to take a look at other blogs to get some ideas as to how I am going to form mine. home inspection business is related to my future blog building.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Great post. I too have a blog. Its about bankruptcy information so please check it out.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Great post. I too have a blog about bankruptcy form . let me know if you want to trade links.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Great post. I too have a blog. Its about chapter 13 bankruptcy so please check it out.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Excellent blog, you might want to check out personal bankruptcy which is my blog about personal bankruptcy

    ReplyDelete
  46. Good blog, you may want to check out avoid bankruptcy which is my blog about avoid bankruptcy

    ReplyDelete
  47. Good blog, you may want to check out personal bankruptcy form which is my blog about personal bankruptcy form

    ReplyDelete
  48. Excellent blog, you might want to check out filling bankruptcy which is my blog about filling bankruptcy

    ReplyDelete
  49. Excellent blog, you might want to check out filling bankruptcy which is my blog about filling bankruptcy

    ReplyDelete
  50. Good blog, you may want to check out personal bankruptcy which is my blog about personal bankruptcy

    ReplyDelete
  51. Hello there, I was recently doing a search through blogs for the keyphrase work from home mlm business opportunity. I happened to come across yours even though it wasn't particularly related to what I searched for. I figured I wouldn't mind contributing to your blog by commenting it. I've been quite busy to work on my blog lately but I am interested in topics being generally related to what I search for. I know you may not think this is an appropriate post to your blog, however I would just like to compliment you on your blog and I wish you well in future endeavors with it,

    Sincerely,

    Mark

    if you would like me to stop posting on your blog ill get the message if you turn on word verification for your blogger.com account there are no need for complaints when you could simply use that function.

    p.s. I like to take a look at other blogs to get some ideas as to how I am going to form mine. work from home mlm business opportunity is related to my future blog building.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Shop at your favorite stores 24 hours a day. Why go to the mall when you can shop online and avoid the traffic

    ReplyDelete
  53. I just came across your blog and wanted to
    drop you a note telling you, Friend, how impressed I was with it.
    I give you my best wishes for your future endeavors.
    If you have a moment, please visit my site:
    ways to make quick money
    It covers ways to make quick money related contents.
    All the best!

    ReplyDelete
  54. Wow This is Deep..I know all of this sounds good but if you really want to change yourself or someone important to you. If you need success in your life. If You can say no to all this success...

    I am changing the way I live today ..Think it and believe it.. You can Change Your Life and Start Living Your Dreams Today..http://www.spiritualideas.com

    ReplyDelete
  55. Hi, Fellow!I like your blog!
    I just came across your blog and wanted to
    drop you a note telling you how impressed I was with
    the information you have posted here.
    I have a work at home internet business
    site. It pretty much covers work at home internet business related subjects.
    Come and check it out if you get time :-)
    Best regards!

    ReplyDelete
  56. Hello friendly Blogers if you are thinking about construction layout and construction layout Ideas for Home Construction projects. If you own a home and need to work on construction layout then al I want to say is Yea.... I wood love to let you in on a secret about home repairs... People ask me all the time about construction layout and they want to know simple ways to solve ther problems ...well I have the answers and If you go to http://2theguide.com construction layout and go through the site you will find what you are looking for... what can I say butt get going ...

    ReplyDelete
  57. Hi there, I was searching for information on the recent task force findings but seemed unsure of the status of HHS and DEA regulations addressing the very issues that they were reviewing, if you can shed any light on this please post at my blog. I see how I found your blog when I was searching for phentermine adipex and phentermine adipex related information, please remember to post at my blog if you feel you can add. Thanks for the read
    Kind regards
    Martin

    ReplyDelete
  58. Congradulations on a well written, interesting and superb blog! Have you heard about the shocking news? 1000's of real people are earning quiet fortunes from home using the most ingenious automated system ever invented,

    Are you curious to find out what this is all about?

    Why not? You have nothing to lose.

    You can sign up for this system absolutely free of charge and check it all out for yourself.

    To start off, we have a video presentation for you to watch. Just turn up the speakers if you can, and click on the link below.

    Have fun and open your mind.

    It is all right here: network marketing It successfully covers network marketing related stuff.

    Come and check it out now, Scott.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Hi love the blog............want to swap links?
    http://hometowngirls.be/

    ReplyDelete
  60. Looks like this blog is well visted would you like to exchange links?
    Porn Pictures

    ReplyDelete
  61. Hello I am the traffic man, zip, zip, zip. make a new resolution to get a flood of traffic to your website this year. Let me show you how to get FREE traffic to your site. Yes I said FREE, FREE, FREE!!! Don't delay.

    To find out more, visit my network marketing site. It successfully covers FREE information exposing FREE traffic and network marketing related stuff. Don't forget - FREE, FREE, FREE. You have nothing to lose!

    ReplyDelete
  62. Check this out for FREE...

    This opportunity says:

    "Your Ad" Will Be Instantly Displayed on Thousands of Websites and Read By Over 10 Million People Per Week For FREE, and It Only Takes 60 Seconds To Get Started!

    To find out more visit: low cost network marketing site. It successfully exposes FREE information covering Traffic and low cost network marketing related stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Hi, I spend a lot of time online checking out information on work at home opportunities and as expected, I end up at a lot of sites, some that provide good information on work at home opportunities related stuff and some that do not. I recently came across your site and although it did not provide me with the information that I was searching for, I found it very interesting and spent some time checking out all the good stuff that you have posted there. Hey, just keep up the good work.

    ReplyDelete
  64. I must tell I liked your blog very much. By the way, there is a nice site where you can rate photos of singles in your area and find top adult personals, take a look if you're interested.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Thank you for the informative blog
    Here Is some additional Dating resources for free Dating
    Find Friends
    To find dates for your area please click here Dating

    ReplyDelete
  66. Hey I love this blog
    do you want to trade links with mine?
    teen porn

    ReplyDelete
  67. It's time to take charge of your future and independence by having your own business!

    ReplyDelete
  68. New to blogin, found yours. Interesting. You might find mine so too. christian home based business opportunity,http://biz4christians.com/1139christian home based business opportunity,

    ReplyDelete
  69. Hi, thanks so much for every little bit of information you have provided here. I constantly look up all information concerning christian online home business opportunity I'm amazed by how much I can earn online :-) Thanks again. christian online home business opportunity

    ReplyDelete
  70. The Housing Bubble has popped in Florida. What does it mean for Boca bargains? Either prices plummet and buyers rush in, or sellers take their homes off the market, or it's going to take a lot longer to sell a home. Read more ...

    ReplyDelete
  71. Thanks for all the great comments and insights..By the way, are you looking for more information on Contemporary Kitchen Design ..If so here is a fantastic resource for everything related to flowers and Contemporary Kitchen Design with information, products, articles and more..Check it out here...http://www.floridakitchendesigns.com

    ReplyDelete