Rated D for Deliciousness

Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's telecommunications subcommittee, held a hearing today at which he defended the V-chip, which he pushed to require in 1996, against the FCC's suggestion that it's an inadequate means of protecting children from sex and violence on TV. "I believe 'Big Mother' and 'Big Father' are better able to decide what is appropriate for their kids to watch, rather than 'Big Brother,'" he said. But not when it comes to food ads. Fornication and murder are one thing, commercials for Froot Loops quite another. Markey bemoaned the fact that the V-chip does not screen out food ads, saying the FCC should step in if food manufacturers don't stop making tasty treats look so appealing.

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  • ||

    They should have gone after my late wifes cheescake. Mmmmm. That's one of many things I miss about her.

  • Bryan||

    I used to think like Jacob until I saw a 20/20 or dateline special on kid's food choices. They did a little study where they put food in front of kids and had them pick the one that they would want to eat.
    -- plain cupcake vs. banana = plain cupcake
    -- plain cupcake vs. cupcake with cartoon character on it = cupcake with cartoon character
    -- plain cupcake vs. banana with sticker of cartoon character = banana
    -- plain cupcake vs. rock with stickers of cartoon characters = rock. TO EAT.

    The point is, kids are stupid and very easily manipulated. I understand that parents should be able to say no when the kids start begging for Barney cereal or SpongeBob fruit roll-ups; but why should we make it so much harder for them?

    Is there a huge free speech interest in making sure that advertisers can market to children in the most manipulative means possible? Are we as a society really so much worse off if parents do have to deal with a kid throwing a tantrum because he did not get the food with the cartoon character?

    I'm not for any other limits on speech, but this on seems to be directed solely at limited certain speech to a small class of citizens that need a certain amount of protection.

  • Bryan||

    Are we as a society really so much worse off if parents don't have to deal with a kid throwing a tantrum because he did not get the food with the cartoon character?

    Sorry. Fixed.

  • ||

    On what planet do idiots like this spawn?

  • ||

    Are we as a society really so much worse off if parents don't have to deal with a kid throwing a tantrum because he did not get the food with the cartoon character?

    Yes, if it involves government coercion to curb your kid's tantrum. Raising kids is tough. So, um, butch up or keep it in your pants.

  • ||

    Bryan,

    It was Dateline As you can see from the video, the kids don't really want to eat the rock, they ask them, "which would you rather have?" and then after they point to the rock they ask "in your lunchbox?"

  • ||

    Bryan,

    The fact is, maybe life would be better if parents didn't have to deal with junk food advertised with cartoon characters. But how are you going to write that law? You have to define what kinds of foods can and can't be marketed, you have to define cartoon characters, you have to define what makes a program a children's program--there's so many unintended consequences waiting there it's ridiculous.

    The simpler solution: if parents are really that riled up over this, there's a great opening for a subscription channel that would offer commercial-free children's programming. It would be much easier to launch one, of course, in a world where television were less regulated.

    The other simple solutions: PBS, DVDs, DVR (fast forward through the commercials), and shutting off the TV.

    Why have the government attack this nail with a screwdriver when there are so many better tools in the toolbox?

  • D.A. Ridgely||

    Commercial television is about selling viewers to advertisers.

    That said, advertiser lobbying aside, if someone wanted to market a device that could filter out whatever parents wanted to filter (and, most importantly, was simple enough to use that the average parent could use it), what's the free market argument against such a device as long as the parent and not the government gets to decide what to block?

  • ||

    Have You Ever Tried Simply Turning off the TV, Sitting down with Your Children, and Hitting Them?"

  • JN||

    Stickers are cheap. Buy some and sticker up the healthy food. Problem solved.

  • LarryA||

    -- plain cupcake vs. rock with stickers of cartoon characters = rock. TO EAT.

    Before you ask the government to solve this "problem," consider what your kids' school would do if you actually put rocks in their lunchboxes.

  • ||

    Are we as a society really so much worse off if parents don't have to deal with a kid throwing a tantrum because he did not get the food with the cartoon character?



    Well, no, of course not, Bryan, instead of the grownup mommies and daddies actually acting like grownup mommies and daddies, we need to have bureaucrats in Washington assume the roles of grownup mommies and daddies, and make sure that all us little kiddies eat our vegetables.

    Because, of course, we are all just little children needing to be guided by our ever so wiser elders.

  • wsdave||

    JN,
    "Stickers are cheap. Buy some and sticker up the healthy food. Problem solved."

    I'm voting for JN, because JN is smarter than any (every?) politician.

  • M||

    Where we gonna get stickers to put on Ron Paul so voters don't choose stones in place of bread?

  • ||

    This proves to me once more that I have superior children. My sons, who certainly watch too much TV, actually turn down candy for fruit, and I did absolutely nothing to encourage that. Not even cartoon stickers on apples.

    This proves nothing, but I take every chance I get to brag on Andy and Aaron.

  • M||

    This proves to me once more that I have superior children

    They must both be first-borns! ;-)

  • ||

    Allright people, once again, there is no need for deep discussion, we know the solution, the only solution, the Libertarian militia, using 12 guage, and .45 caliber to explain and settle it all at once.
    I am getting the distinct vibe that cowardice rules this site.
    Prove me wrong, please prove me wrong or America goes to hell.

  • ||

    Anyone see those new "Lego My Ego" commericals? I think that is my favorite ad campaign in recent years; they are fun to watch, and attack straight at the heart of the target audience

  • Pepe||

    Being marketed to as a child is what teaches you how to see through the bullshit as an adult. I'm sure most of us had that "little orphan annie decoder ring" moment after we saved up box tops, bazooka joe wrappers, what have you. Sea monkeys are just brine shrimp, those x-ray glasses don't see through shit, and fruit loops are just sugar coated corn product with a prize at the bottom that's a lot crappier than it looks on the box. Kids need to learn the hard way.

  • thoreau||

    Terry,

    Since you're probably a federal employee on a sting operation, I've gotta ask you a few questions:

    1) Has the Iraq war taken a bite into your funding yet? I live near DC, and everybody's complaining about budget problems.

    2) If they do try to cut your funding, any chance you'll go ballistic and do some of the crazy things that you urge people to do as part of your sting operation? I only ask because if you are planning to do so I'd like to collect the reward money for turning you in.

    3) In regard to the acting classes for these sorts of operations, are they by any chance taught by former reality TV cast members? That seems like the level of acting we're seeing here.

  • ||

    I think the Mexicans got into Terry's temple. Sad really.

  • ||

    what's the free market argument against such a device as long as the parent and not the government gets to decide what to block?

    There ain't one.

  • John C. Randolph||

    Bryan,

    Since you're willing to start off down that slippery slope, I'm sure you won't object if I duct-tape your mouth shut for disagreeing with me.

    The first amendment isn't there to protect speech that we all agree on. It's there to protect my right to say things you don't like. So, FUCK YOU.

    -jcr

  • Paul||

    Are we as a society really so much worse off if parents do have to deal with a kid throwing a tantrum because he did not get the food with the cartoon character?

    Whose kids throw tantums when they don't get what they want? Anyone? Anyone? Not mine. Despite many weaknesses in my personal life, I seem to have mastered that whole "parenting" thing, especially in matters in which the n-word ("no") may have to be uttered.

    Is there a huge free speech interest in making sure that advertisers can market to children in the most manipulative means possible?

    Hooboy, where do we begin with this one. Bryan, guess who is responsible for my early libertarian conversion: Liberals and the left. Yes, that's right. Because what they taught me back in the eighties when everyone was trying to ban porn and "offensive" material was that what one person deems "offensive" may eventually become important political speech. And we can never do anything as hideous as banning political speech. Oh no. I realized the importance of this position, and adopted it because I knew it was, at its core, right. Enter the nineties, enter campaign finance reform, and liberals left the free speech party. Now they're the primary movers of limiting speech.

    Bryan, please come back to the party.

  • ||

    Bryan:

    So let me get this straight, you wanna punish other people because you don't have the balls to stand up to your own kids?

    Terry:

    Use better bait.

  • ||

    Being marketed to as a child is what teaches you how to see through the bullshit as an adult.

    Pepe,

    I appreciate that view. I really do. But here's the other side: such ads (among other things) train kids that flashiness, superficiality, and frantic energy are acceptable aspects of an attempt to communicate and convince. This has obvious, inevitable ramifications for the political spectrum of the adult population, whether libertarians like it or not.

  • Robert||

    "So let me get this straight, you wanna punish other people because you don't have the balls to stand up to your own kids?"

    Think about that a while and you'll see that the principle involved is the source of much of the wrongness of laws & society. People are embarrassed (to themselves if nobody else) to refuse the entreaties of others or to refuse to be generous or accepting, so they make laws to either take away their own choice in the matter or to otherwise reduce the chances that they'll have to turn somebody down or encounter that which they cannot accept.

  • ||

    John C. Randolph - Fuck you does not fall under the banner of free speech. Are you familiar with the legal concept of "fighting words"?

    Besides, verbally assaulting someone can be hazardous to your health.

  • ||

    After reading Bryan's thoughts on banning "inappropriate" commercials for children, my first thought was "what the hell is this guy doing in a libertarian blog?" YOU have control of what your kids watch. YOU have control over what goes in your grocery cart. Do you just wilt when your kids throw a fit? Do you whip their ass when they do? Do you even have kids?.....and about the "and the kids wanted the rock instead of the food" comment....no shit? Kids like superheros and pretty ponies? huh...never made the connection. It is YOUR job as a parent to clue them in to the whole "rocks aren't food" thing. Maybe the whole point of the study was that kids are ignorant in the ways of life and parental guidance is needed when raising them. Damn! Sounds like you ENJOY being "guided" by the government....and that is scary.

  • ed||

    I don't know one single three-year-old with a car and wallet full of cash. So I can't for the life of me figure out how they're buying all this sugary ceral. Anyone?

  • ||

    Markey bemoaned the fact that the V-chip does not screen out food ads, saying the FCC should step in if food manufacturers don't stop making tasty treats look so appealing.

    Senator Markey's comments have been rated D for Dumbass!

  • Bryan||

    Hey all, sorry I took a break for the weekend.

    Seriously, in 99.9% of all cases, I agree with most everything that you all are saying. (with the possible exception of 'Fuck Me'). Otherwise, I am right there with you.

    Still, the government passes many laws to protect kids. Most of them I think are bullshit because they do punish adults. My only point here is, I'm not sure I see it as that big a punishment for everyone for the government to say "No cartoon characters on foods or in food commercials." Maybe I'm being selective because I personally don't care about cartoon characters on food, but I don't see it as a huge interest for most adult Americans.

    Now, it is a limitation on speech, so I am admittedly skeptical. On the other hand, its commercial speech which historically has more limitations. I know that leaves me open to a slippery slope attack, but frankly I find that a little intellectually dishonest. Rather than talk about how awful all the limitations on other speech down the line is, let's talk about why adults care that cartoons are on their food products. We can judge the next limitation on its own merits as well.

    As for parents raising their kids and saying no, I agree. Again, I said its the parent's responsibility. No one is arguing that the government should raise your kids and I am certainly not saying that its not ultimately the parent's fault. My question is simply: why should the food companies and advertisers be allowed to make it that much harder for parents? A parent should have to make the choice of allowing their kids to watch pretty much any TV vs. putting up with a constant barrage of requests for fruity-coco-Spongebob-O's? It doesn't seem like it should have to be that hard.

    Lastly, I will say that agree that there are potential problems and unintended consequences in drafting such a law. That is a fair point and possibly a reason not to ultimately pass it. What I wanted to talk about more here though was what the "libertarian" knock on such a restriction would be in theory. If we agree that there is a benefit to the law (which I know we won't), then we figure out how to do it in a way that minimizes unintended consequences. If we can't, then we don't pass it.

  • ed||

    Um, how much again does Congress (meaning we) subsidize Big Sugar?

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