Is It the FCC's Fault If Parents Don't Know What Their Kids Are Watching?


Can we slime these guys?

Politico notes renewed grumblings from the you-can't-say-that-on-television activists of the world. Apparently they're worried that the Federal Communications Commission is insufficiently enforcing a law that requires the agency to regulate advertising in children's shows:

TV watchdog groups say the Federal Communications Commission needs to better target kids' programs that have too many commercials, and they want the commission and Congress to strengthen oversight of the Children's Television Act.

Fueling the drive is a Government Accountability Office report issued last week that highlights FCC shortcomings in enforcing the landmark 1990 law intended to raise the quality and educational value of children's programming while also limiting advertising. The report said the FCC has been lax in ensuring compliance from cable and satellite providers and questioned the commission's guidelines for determining the educational value of children's shows.

"It's another example of FCC priorities being out of whack and the entire commission not taking its responsibility to uphold the law seriously," said Dan Isett, director of public policy for the Parents Television Council, a nonprofit group dedicated to responsible entertainment. "When you look at the sort of selective enforcement on this issue … it's an indictment of the entire agency."

Quality kids TV.

Why is it so important for the FCC to keep an eye on kiddie television? It's for the children, of course. And also for the parents. Massachusetts Rep. Ed Markey, who cosponsored the original law in question, tells Politico that "more needs to be done to give parents the knowledge and the know-how to ensure that they have the tools to find educational programming for their children." Without the FCC's regulatory assistance, apparently, most parents won't have any idea how to find out what they're kids are watching, or whether or not it's any good. 

What are these critics actually worried about? Politico's write up says tellingly little about any demonstrated negative effects that have occurred due to lax enforcement, but according to "child media expert" Dale Kunkel of the University of Arizona, tougher oversight is necessary in order to ensure that broadcasters air quality programming. When the FCC was paying more attention in the 1990's, he says, "the quality of children's programming improved." And who gets to decide what counts as quality? The kids who are watching the shows? The parents? Sorry, but no; that's a job for the FCC. In 1996, the agency gave broadcasters an easier path to license renewal in return for airing a minimum number of hours of quality programming, with quality determined by the commission. They're not just regulators, it seems—they're supposed to be TV critics too. 

But Kunkel gives the agency's recent performance two thumbs down. Over the years, he says, the FCC "slowly moved to a posture in the 2000s where they completely ignored the issue and the broadcasters offered whatever they want." So broadcasters made their own decisions about what programming to air, and parents made their own decisions about what their kids could or should watch? Sounds awful.   


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  1. Whatever happened to that “Moose” chick from You Can’t Do That On Television; she was hot…

  2. Cops raid Sacramento medical pot dispensary.

    The probe started when Elk Grove police found an indoor pot-growing operation at a home belonging to one of two men taken into custody. Arrested were Bryan Smith, 26, the owner of the dispensary and his father, Kelly Smith, 52. They face charges of cultivating marijuana to sell, selling marijuana and potentially conspiracy.

    A woman, who asked to be identified only as Ashley, was working inside the dispensary when the raid began. “They were totally fine, it was fine, it went smoothly,” she said.

    Nothing else happened.…..dispensary

    1. Jack-booted baby burners raid legal business, steal products and records, and jail owner. No one hurt; feds call it a win.

      Get on your knees, that government cock ain’t gonna suck itself.

      Oh yeah, the law is the law, STOP RESISTING!, res ipsa loquitur, etc, etc…

    2. Ok anonomous dickhead.

      I work in an industry that builds equipment capable of killing people when it fails.

      We have to be able to prove to a regulator that the odds of a single failure resulting in a death are less than one in ten million.

      And when something goes wrong and a death occurs, the shit hits the fan. Companies get fined; people get fired; regulations get updated; and processes get amended.

      All I see out of police departments is unions covering the asses of cops that kill people without just cause.

      The system is designed to protect cops from the consequences of their failures. It has no effective punishment functions or correction mechanisms to prevent the same fucking shit from happening over and over again.

      So you can post a million fucking “another isolated incident” examples, and you haven’t proven a god damn thing about how well the system works or how good the people are that implement the system.

    3. I get a ticket when I get caught speeding, yet the government doesn’t send me a check every day I don’t speed.

      That’s not fair! [pout]

  3. Why do you hate children so much that you would allow them to live a life that isn’t screened by the almighty gatekeepers of the FCC?

    Isett and I have 1 thing in common: we both think the FCC is a failure, but for completely different reasons.

  4. You know, if they put that first pic in poster form and got rid of the strategically placed slime then Achtung Coma Baby would benefit a lot more from it.

  5. Half the time you guys complain that parents these days baby and pamper their kids too much and the other half of the time you think they should magically be able to control 100% of what they do or what kind of media they are exposed to.

    1. Boring troll is boring.

      1. Boring troll might be a little concerned, too.

        1. Concerned trolls bore me. On the other hand, boring trolls don’t concern me.


          1. What of boring concerned trolls?

            1. THAT, of course, is a horse of a different strokes for different…horses. Or something like that.

        2. Anyone who is merely a little concerned about the impressionable minds of America’s children, who are our future, is a monster of the highest order. Expressing concern creates or saves 100 children a minute, and yet you stand idly by.

          1. *hangs head in shame*

      2. Damn, Episiarch. Why don’t you cut Tulpa’s best friend some slack, dude?

  6. Wait, can the FCC regulate cable television now. My niece and nephews don’t watch a fuck of the broadcast networks. It’s all Nick, Disney, and Cartoon Network for them.


    Yes Rahm is exactly the kind of asshole we thought he was.

  8. So they interviewed the director of public policy for the Parents Television Council, a congressman, and a university professor who is a “child media expert”. No mention of actual parents complaining or having problems. What a load of bullshit.

    1. Obviously there’s only one side to this argument, and it’s theoretical.

  9. Well now, what will our resident goo-goo good government types make of this? “Obviously the FCC needs a bigger budget! They’re starved for funds!”

    1. Nah, nobody likes the FCC.

  10. I have an idea — let’s abolish the FCC and admit it was entirely illegitimate, morally indefensible, and without constitutional basis! Sound good?

    1. You mean, YOU can understand the wording of the Constitution?!

    2. Seriously, how did the FCC ever get its regulating power past a 1st amendment free speech challenge?

      1. Wasn’t the initial purpose behind the FCC’s creation basically to get Father Coughlin off the air?

        1. And like Social Security (another FDR New Deal program), it has far outlasted its own usefulness.

          1. Stupid joke names. Sorry about that.

      2. It was 1934. Even though Holmes was finally in a position where he could do no further harm, FDR was just gearing up. And back then the Constitution said whatever he said it said.

        1. Commerce clause, bitches!

  11. The last time my kids watched a commercial was the day or two after we got a new DirecTV receiver and nothing was recorded.

    I can’t think of more than two shows any of us watch us on network TV, other than sports, and none of them are shows for kids.

    Also, fuck the FCC.

  12. The FCC was established because when it comes to broadcast TV and radio there is only a certain amount of bandwidth that is available to be used, and it was decided that the airwaves belonged to the public…

    1. The FCC was established because when it comes to broadcast TV and radio there is only a certain amount of bandwidth that is available to be used and it was decided that the airwaves belonged to the public…

      I’ll add it was also necessary to fine Janet Jackson for showing her tittays.

    2. Guess that means I’d better not park my food truck there.

    3. WOW! Do you have any more obscure, little known facts to share? If only silly libertarians knew the origin of the FCC, they’d surely stop their bellyaching about First Amendment violations.

    4. And from where does the power to make content-based decisions on the use of those airwaves derive?

    5. There’s only so much shelf space at the news stand!

    6. Now people believe that Facebook and Twitter “belong to the public”.

      What could go wrong?

  13. I’m wondering, how old is that professor who claims to be a child media expert?

    I’m betting he’s not a child at all.

    1. I think they were missing some words – “media expert who has the mind of a child”.

      Although children are generally smarter than this dumbass in my experience.

    2. I’m thinking that job title means about as much as the myriad self-professed (amazingly, perennially unemployed) “social media experts” popping up around Seattle.

      1. I’d rather be an anti-social media expert.

    3. I’m wondering, how old is that professor who claims to be a child media expert

      He studies children very, very closely while wearing nothing but a bathrobe– which occasionally accidentally falls open. Not his fault, though. Stupid terrycloth.

  14. I don’t care how it’s done but somebody PLEASE get Yo Gabba Gabba off the air, especially during late night when I’ve been drinking.
    Or at least retitle it the Dancing Diseased Genitalia Show.

    1. Dude, take anything but Yo Gabba Gabba. It’s the only show my daughter watches I can get into. Some “daddy time” in the garage helps too. Muno does look like a bad case of the herp, I will give you that.

      1. Okay. But I suspect many young women will develop a fondness for pustule-riddled cock as a result of exposure to that show.

        1. “My name is Jeff P…..

          I like to Daaaance!!!”

          I just thought you needed some daytime reinforcement of that earwig….

  15. Man, I wish there were an adult version of Legends of the Hidden Temple. I would have dominated that shit as a kid- I knew how to get through that temple in no time flat.

    1. Ninja Warrior is pretty close.

  16. Still remember the first time my son saw Monty Python and the Holy Grail. “DAD! They come over the hill, but they’re not HORSES…IT’S TWO GUYS WITH COCONUTS!!!”

    And that’s why I let my kids watch South Park with me when they were “too young” – to enjoy the lulz with them.

    1. With that kind of parenting, your kids will turn out OK.

    2. I showed my kids Holy Grail when they were about 7 and 8, skipping Castle Anthrax. They couldn’t get enough of it, especially my son, with the Black Knight scene.

      Something tells me that they didn’t observe that rule for too long when they watched it on their own with friends.

  17. I had this crazy upbringing where my parents kind of kept track of what I was doing, and didn’t let me watch shows they felt were inappropriate. Weird, i know.

    1. My parents locked out the movie channels at first, but the passcode was only 4 digits. It only took about 2 hours for me to break it through brute force. After that they either gave up or decided I was old enough to decide for myself. Either way I turned out fine.





      And PBS in the evenings which is where I learned about Monty Python. Pretty much this is actually how it was.


      1. Agree, that is how it actually was..
        And we wore an onion on our belt, which was the fashion at the time.

      2. We must be roughly the same age, becasue I remember pretty much the same thing, only with Rocky & Bullwinkle and Crusader Rabbit thrown in for good, very good, measure. Maybe some Beany and Cecil too.

      3. But did your parents let you stay up late and watch Love American Style ?

        1. “Loooove, American Style…somethin somethin….Red White and Blue…”

          Yeah. And sometimes the gay fucking “Courtship of Eddie’s Father” in the afternoon. WTF? He was WAY better as THE HULK!

          1. Oh, and how can I forget the “Shows That United A Nation”? – Mary Tyler Moore, All in the Family, Bob Newhart (that guy was FUNNY)…um, The Carol Burnett Show, The Lucille Ball show.

            Fuck, how did I turn out to be such a raunchy rock and roll animal drug fiend and shit?

            1. Fuck, how did I turn out to be such a raunchy rock and roll animal drug fiend and shit?

              I blame the satanic influence of Fred Rogers.

  18. It’s worth noting that The Parents(tm) lobbied long and loud for the FCC to mandate v-chip technology for all TVs sold in the US. Yet somehow this magic bullet has failed to save the children, increased manufacturing costs, and increased TV costs for all consumers. Yet NOBODY uses the v-chip…

    1. Wait, what ? TV’s have the v-chip ? I remember all the hullabaloo, but I didn’t realize it was implemented.

    2. Are you kidding me? FX Network has used the V-Chip to its great success and my entertainment.

      Zod love them. If they would only use that power for more actual nudity.

      1. From the Wikipedia:

        “$550 million was spent to educate parents on the V-chip, but they are no more aware of the technology or the ways in which it can be put to use now than they were before the funds were spent.[18]”

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    I’m sorry Kara…
    Forward TEAORINGERS!!!






      SHOOT ME.

      KILL ME.

      THRILL ME.

      THE END.

    2. share gaypred SODOMISM

      Fuckin’ A Goof Bot! Motherfuckin’ WORD, brutha!

      Preach on!



        1. I’m sorry Kara…
          Forward TEAORINGERS!!!

          Dude, I know, right? I ALWAYS ends in tears…

    3. Needs more brackets, goddamnit!

    4. attends govWARGS

      If my tax dollars are being spent to resurrect dire wolves, I have only one thing to say: gimme one!

  20. Palin is a daughter of GOPdor, so simply can be Candidate, Bachmann, another daughter of GOPdor, Paul… Crespo, another son of GOPdor for Miamidade Mayor for expl, why only the figures falsefoxes and drivebymediarrea say?…
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    1. …yeah, mmm hmmm….

  21. The Children’s Television Act of 1990 helped destroy children’s television by making it unprofitable (or at least less profitable than alternative programming). Weekday afternoon was once home to lots of syndicated cartoons. No more. NBC, CBS and ABC have all farmed out their Saturday-morning programming to their corporate siblings, so everything is just reruns from NatGeo, Nick Jr. and Disney Channel. The economics of children’s television were changing anyway, but the Children’s Television Act did not help.

    1. …OK, yeah….

      Oh. You’re a real person or something…shit…

      1. And a depressingly on-topic one, at that.

      2. Yeah, it’s only fun talking to bots if they fail the Turing Test.

        1. To be fair, I’ve basically kept that anti-Children’s Television Act boilerplate in my head since the law went into effect, but only because the first newspaper op-ed I ever sold (in 1990) was on that subject, and I now consider myself the country’s foremost expert on how the act made children’s TV a no-fun zone.

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