DATE: 3/02/2005 12:13:00 PM
Crossing the Line - Senator Ted Stevens wants cable television and radio to be subject to the same rules as broadcast, proving that rhetoric can be dumb and scary at the same time.
"Cable is a much greater violator in the indecency area," the Alaska Republican told the National Association of Broadcasters, which represents most local television and radio affiliates. "I think we have the same power to deal with cable as over-the-air" broadcasters.What Senator Stevens is calling for is nothing less than a massive expansion of federal power. You want Republicans to start losing elections? Start trying to regulate private entertainment choices and violating basic conservative principles. Now, I'm a religious conservative who thinks broadcast networks should be more careful in what they put on the air, but also believe it's the responsibility of parents to ensure that kids aren't being exposed to objectionable material.
When it comes to cable or pay radio, though, government should just stay out of the picture. I'm just libertarian enough to believe that people should be allowed to watch what they want, if they are willing to pay for the privilege. I may not like Howard Stern or programs with profanity and nudity, but my disapproval does not give me the right to determine what others may watch. After all, where do you stop? People sometimes swear in the Harry Turtledove book I'm reading. Does that mean I shouldn't be allowed to buy it? Does Senator Stevens want to create the Federal Bureau of Keeping Dirty Cussin' Out of Books?
Senator Stevens is attempting to impose his values on those who do not share them, using the power of the federal government. It used to be that conservatives and liberals disagreed on the extent of federal power. Now the only area of disagreement seems to be when it should be used. (H/t: Ace)