Indecency

Would Family-Friendly TV Fare Disappear Without the FCC?

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Patrick Trueman, president of Morality in Media, thinks my column mocking his demand that the Federal Communications Commission protect his "right to decency" was "hysterical"—and not in a good way. Trueman argues that "liberty simply does not, and cannot, exist without moral restraint," which in turn requires government restraint on liberty, such as the FCC's rules about the content of broadcast programming. More liberty, in other words, requires less liberty.

In case you don't buy that counterintuitive claim, Trueman also compares airing things that offend him to burglary. He says hearing Cher curse on a music awards show or catching a glimpse of Charlotte Ross' butt on NYPD Blue is like finding an intruder "standing in our living rooms when we get home, shouting the f-word or taking their clothes off." I perceive an important distinction here that seems to elude Trueman: While the noisy or naked stranger in the living room has violated someone's property rights by entering his home without permission, Cher and Charlotte Ross appear only by invitation. That is, you will not hear or see them unless you 1) buy a television set, 2) turn it on, and 3) tune in to a particular program at a particular time. Neither the Billboard Music Awards nor NYPD Blue is forcibly thrust upon anyone.

Because TV viewers can be offended by what they hear or see only after they voluntarily assume that risk, the Supreme Court's invocation of "the right to be left alone" in FCC v. Pacifica Foundation, the 1978 decision that upheld the ban on broadcast indecency, never made much sense. It makes even less sense now that people commonly face exactly the same risk from other media (cable, satellite, Internet) that, according to the Court, could not be subject to similar content regulation without violating the First Amendment. Trueman offers no justification for this puzzling constitutional distinction. Instead he doubles down on the notion that the government is protecting our "right to be left alone" when it punishes broadcasters for "patently offensive" references to "sexual or excretory activities or organs." To firm up that argument, he quotes Justice Louis Brandeis' famous dissent from the Court's 1928 decision in Olmstead v. U.S., which rejected a Fourth Amendment challenge to warrantless wiretapping. Brandeis observed that the Fourth and Fifth amendments "conferred, as against the government, the right to be let alone—the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men" (emphasis added). Somehow Trueman reads this plea for freedom from government intrusion as a justification for government restrictions on what people are permitted to watch in the privacy of their living rooms.

For Trueman, the bottom line is that "some television content should be available and acceptable to all, including families, but if the government cannot regulate indecent content on broadcast television, it will not be." As the father of three girls, two of whom are young enough that my wife and I still restrict their TV consumption, I am sympathetic to the first part of that statement, but I know the second part is simply not true. Most of the programs that we let our daughters watch do not come from broadcast channels, and in deciding what is appropriate for our kids, we do not rely at all on the FCC's regulations; we do the regulating. Our daughters are not allowed to watch the FCC-approved Family Guy, for instance, but they are allowed to watch Phineas and Ferb, which appears on a cable channel that is not subject to the FCC's rules. As long as there is a demand for kid-friendly entertainment, there will be a supply, and there are more such options today than ever before, no thanks to the FCC. So why abuse logic, freedom, and the Constitution to maintain an arbitrary distinction that serves no useful purpose?

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  1. Patrick Trueman is a cocksucker.

    1. I don’t know whether Patrick Trueman fucks sheep or not.

      1. We do know that he is somehow bothered by seeing Charlotte Ross naked, though, and I’d bet that even most dedicated sheepfuckers don’t.

        1. I gotta google this CHarlotte Ross to see what kind of namby-pamby prude we’re dealing with here. BRB…

          1. YEah, not really up my alley, but I can see why any red-blooded manly man (unlike Patrick Trueman, apparently) might like to see her naked.

            1. Oh, I’m not saying she’s really my type, but I certainly don’t find her offensive.

              1. She did one of those nude PETA ads…

            2. I’d bang her. And I bet Trueman would watch given half a chance.

              1. Drink! Arse! Girls! (is that it?)

                1. Not sure what that is, but it sounds all right.

                  1. that was addressed to Father Jack, Barry. See JW’s video.

                    1. Ah. Thank you.

              2. “I bet Trueman would watch given half a chance.”

                But then he’d bitch that the FCC let him.

            3. We get Charlotte Rice, the ladies get Beecher. Fair world, right?

          2. I’m not a TV watcher (which makes me even less sympathetic to this “right to be left alone” claim since I am left alone by my TV every day I leave it off) so I also had to Google. My conclusion is that Patrick Trueman is really not okay.

      2. I don’t know whether Patrick Trueman fucks sheep or not.

        And you will never find out. The FCC blocked approval of SFN.

        1. I’d block the Sugar Free network, too.

          Or at least I wouldn’t admit to watching it.

          1. I was thinking “Sheep ******* Network”, but the SugarFree Network would probably be part of their feed.

            1. I figured Sheep Fuckers Nationwide would have a prime time slot.

          2. I have seen it. It contains multitudes. And shoggoths.

            1. It’s hard to find anything good on it in between the long marathons of self-flagellation, chronic masturbation and crush fetish shows.

              1. Well, he did model it after Videodrome. Long live the new flesh.

          3. My network is very family-friendly. For certain values of “family” and “friendly,” at least.

            1. It’s broadcast in the color out of space.

              1. Excellent Lovecraft reference +3 internets and a complimentary shoggoth,

        2. I was sure the Nat Geo channel just had a special on sheep fuckers.

  2. Would Family-Friendly TV Fare Disappear Without the FCC?

    We can only hope. So this is a serious role of the federal government, to make TV nice?

    Can’t just the demand for family TV, if it is so much in demand that people are willing to pay for it, be enough to insure it’s continued existence? Instead, we have to pay for an entire agency to make it happen.

    Fuck nice TV. Fuck TV period, and fuck all federal agencies that engage in unnecessary shit that costs the tax payers more money.

    Oh, I know, it’s for the children. Fuck that too.

  3. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

  4. Fuck that motherfucker in his fucking ear. You don’t have the right to push your morality on me you sick fuck.

  5. Our daughters are not allowed to watch the FCC-approved Family Guy,

    You monster!

    1. I wouldn’t let my kids watch Family Guy either. I’m pretty sure that vaccines don’t cause autism, but I’m not convinced about Seth MacFarlane.

      1. Yeah, but you think Mr. Rogers was a Satan worshiping sex fiend. I mean, he was, but he was a nice Satan worshiping sex fiend.

        Reminds me of this. My favorite Sir Simon Milligan quote is “now we’re cooking with evil gas!”

        1. Impolite and evil!

      2. You think vaccines might produce Seth MacFarlane??

    2. Family Guy is torture that should not be inflicted on children. But that’s his choice as a parent, and apparently he has no problem doing what he has to, despite the FCC allowing one of the least-funny “comedies” ever, to be shown on the air.

    3. I’m still not a big fan of Family Guy, but I have caught just a few episodes here and there, and I have to say, the quality of writing and voice acting has improved significantly since 2006.

      1. *barf* It has gotten worse and worse since the reboot. Of course I’ve quit watching it except on adult swim here or there.

        1. Meh. My idea of “improvement” is that I’ve caught entire episodes without a single cutaway gag. That’s got to be some improvement.

          1. I challenge. There’s no such animal as a Family Guy episode without retarded cutaway gags.

            1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian__Stewie

              Whoops, sorry, apparently the episode I got was the anomalous, single episode without any cutaway gags. But I have noticed an overall reduction in the cutaway gag humor.

              1. The non-sequitur where Lois murders the Pillsbury doughboy is really funny, though.

                (why doesn’t Chrome’s spell check know the word “sequitur”?)

              2. Ah the Emmy-bait. I thought I remembered cutaway gags in that one too.

              3. It was better when only the dog understood the baby.

          2. You probably just thought a commercial for life insurance was the show.

    4. He’s the real-life embodiment of Ned Flanders!

      1. Word is the Simpsons people think Family Guy sucks, as do Mike Judge’s group and the South Park Studios people also. They all enjoy each others’ work, but not FG. The few episodes I’ve tried to wade through have made the reasons clear to me.

        1. I used to like Family Guy, and then one day something snapped in me and I literally cannot stand it now. It was weird.

          1. There are a few episodes I can stand, but for the most part it’s pretty crappy. Especially compared to something like Futurama, which has few episodes that are even average, let alone shitty.

            1. FG did absurdist humor pretty well, but they only had a limited schtick (absurdly drawn out moments, like Peter banging his shin, or totally random references) and that pool dried up real fast. Futurama had genuine wit and an amazing writing crew. Which did not return when Comedy Central rebooted the show. Which showed the excellence of the original writers even more.

              1. I’ll agree that the first five seasons were the best, but the quality of the reboots have been steadily getting better. I think most of the last several episodes of Season 6 and most of the episodes of Season 7 have been pretty close to the same quality as the stuff in seasons 1-5.

                1. I’d also rather watch the worst of the Futurama reboot episodes than the vast majority of Family Guy episodes.

                2. I think most of the last several episodes of Season 6 and most of the episodes of Season 7 have been pretty close to the same quality as the stuff in seasons 1-5

                  Totally, completely disagree. I felt season 6 started out not too bad, but went downhill quickly. There was no wit to it; you could tell the writers were different and only had a cartoonish (hah) grasp of the subtleties of the characters. Bender became completely one-dimensional, as the worst example.

                  It was so bad I stopped watching by the end of season 6. I didn’t want it to ruin my love of the show.

                3. The Futurama movies were pretty good. Haven’t seen many of the new episodes, but the couple I’ve caught were mediocre.

                  1. Agreed. I think they managed to get at least some of the original writers for them.

              2. ATHF utterly ruined me on comedy. That’s why I like Family Guy, for the random cutaway references. The less sense they make, the better. I can’t laugh at anything that has a cohesive plot or story arc anymore.

                1. Well, ATHF and Sealab.

                  1. ATHF? All The Hole Family? Ask The Heavenly Father?

                2. I mentioned in another thread that when the singularity comes I wanna be uploaded into a T-Rex robot with big fucking Rambo arms and night vision.

                  I was told you had dibs on this, is this true?

                    1. As long as I get to be the Adrienne Barbeaubot.

                    2. She’s open. So it’s settled, post singularity I officially call dibs on the T-Rex robot with big fucking Rambo arms and night vision, and Jim here’s got Catwoman given that cartoons can’t have dibs on post singularity bots.

                    3. Good luck on the robot reservation, suckers!

              3. Yeah, since the reboot Futurama is not nearly as funny. It actually seems like the writers are trying to hard or not trying at all.

                1. Was it a reboot? Or just a continuation?

          2. I don’t know if it was the show changing or my taste, but I liked it a lot in the initial run, but the reboot just annoyed the shit out of me.

        2. I’ve enjoyed, say, 1/2 of the pre-reboot episodes of FG and less than that of the more recent stuff.

          I loved the ones with Peter’s father and the one where they inherited that estate in Newport (“My gawd this house is fricken sweet” is kind of awesome, admit it!)

          As a New Englander it irritates the shit out of me that Peter has some kind of quasi-Chicago accent.

          1. And the Y2k episode. Loved that one. “I have poop”. Gold, Jerry, gold!

          2. Where in New England are you from? Because Peter’s accent is this. I’m from Connecticut and so is Seth McFarlane, and he’s doing a slightly extreme Rhode Island/Cape Cod/Boston type accent.

            1. Northern VT/Western CT.

              Something about his vowels sound very rust belt to me.

              1. Yeah, you would be about as far away within New England as it would be possible to get from that accent. I was right on the line that delineates where that accent approximately starts so I heard it a lot, though I do not have it (thank Jeebus).

    5. When MacFarlane isn’t all up his own ass with liberal talking points and bashing on religion, it’s not too bad in a stupid gag comedy way.

  6. Anyone that complains about seeing Charlotte Ross naked has bigger problems than hearing the word “fuck” on TV. Much, much bigger problems.

  7. Would Family-Friendly TV Fare Disappear Without the FCC?

    If “Family-Friendly” means something like the stuff that appears on the Religion Channels (every cable system has at least one), one would hope so.

    But I am willing to bet that there are enough “Morality in Media” types who would force their children to watch that crap that such channels would survive.

    OTOH, it just might be the death blow to NBC, CBS, CNN and Fox if the FCC were to stop protecting them.

    1. It seems to me that there’s more a LOT more childrens’ content on TV now, than when I was a kid and cable was just something for people up in the mountains where they couldn’t get broadcast TV.

      1. Nickelodeon actually has separate channels for kids, teens, its flagship channel, and a Nick Cartoon channel. Then Disney has a channel (possibly two), Cartoon Network and Boomerang during the day play children’s shows, and there are also your usual PBS and morning cartoons on the networks.

        1. Clearly, even when the FCC has little or no control over content, there’s a huge market for children’s TV. I mean, seriously, who the hell wants to interact with their kids, when they could just plop the kids in front of a TV for a few hours a day?

          The other day, at the store, I watched a mom going through the aisles, explaining things to her small child, teaching him about objects, concepts and words. I was blown away. You seldom see that.

    2. It wouldn’t be a death blow to the networks, they would just start making quality shows like the cable networks, because the FCC would be off their backs. Of course, they’d need to change some management, but that would be a good thing.

      1. I really doubt the major networks are capable of that kind of transformation. One or two of them might survive, but the rest would just do a slow fade to static.

        1. Fox would be fine. The others would probably be in trouble.

          1. …which is intriguing, because the leftoids see Fox as conservative evil incarnate.

            1. I’m not talking about Fox News, I’m talking about Fox Network. You know, the network that brought us Married With Children.

              1. Right. Same owners, same business strategies, pretty much.

                Married With Children was great! So was Arrested Development. I think that every single network show I’ve liked, in 25 years, and that’s a very short list, has been on Fox.

                1. Eh. Other networks don’t make great shows. Fox makes great shows, lets people get attached to them, and then slaughters them in their prime in order to refuel it’s sorrow-powered hate machinery. I think they’re actually worse because of that.

                  1. That’s the best description of Fox I’ve ever heard. I don’t know whether I love them for giving certain shows a chance at least, or hate them for violently ripping them from me shortly after.

                  2. Of course sometimes, if they think there are untapped sorrow reserves, they reanimate the show as a horrible, soulless desecration of its former self.

                    1. I am astonished they haven’t done this to Firefly.

                      SyFy has to still be kicking themselves for not scooping up that show.

                    2. If they screwed up Firefly I think the consequences could be dire. They’re smart enough not to take that chance.

                  3. Fox makes great shows, lets people get attached to them, and then slaughters them in their prime in order to refuel it’s sorrow-powered hate machinery.

                    Or lets them drag on and on, **COUGH** X-files **cough**, long after they have any relevancy or quality.

                    1. To be honest, I’m that asshole who never actually watched the show when it was on (or only occasionally), but later thinks it would be a good idea to watch the whole series on DVD or Netflix. I’m the reason those shows got canceled. My bad.

                    2. Re: ant1sthenes,

                      I’m the reason those shows got canceled.

                      I’m Spartacus!

                    3. I started watching it about 3 shows before they canceled it. So it was an even worse Fox-pudiation than usual.

                  4. I think you overestimate the potential of a show’s “prime”. I think it’s likely that what you call slaughtering them is just an attempt to milk them instead of letting them die a natural death. And typically shows don’t die all at once, they just get sick piece by piece while their makers try to salvage the best parts.

                    The series, and even more so the serial, just can’t long survive the grind that can be demanded over the long run by TV, as long as they’re made by human beings. Look at the output of any fiction that could be called series or serial before the age of broadcasting. Even the greatest writers of all time could put out only so much of one string, and many of them want to go on to other things.

                    A.C. Doyle brought back Sherlock Holmes due to popular demand, and while the revival was successful for a while, eventually that character petered out into material that nobody reads today. Doyle kept writing other stuff, including detective and other mystery fiction that was fresh, outside that series.

  8. This quote reminds me of why I don’t just give up and become a standard-template conservative:

    Thus, the real “intellectual and constitutional bankruptcy” lies in the now prevalent “anything-goes” mentality of post-sexual revolution liberals. They hope to open wide the gates of indecency without realizing that those very gates are trapdoors below their feet. However, those who are really on the side of liberty will inevitably take the side of morality.

    1. I DO take the side of morality! Fair and honest business dealings, respect of others’ rights large and small, consideration of others. Hell, I don’t even mow my lawn early.

      I DON’T think there’s a damned thing that’s “immoral” about what this fuck calls “indecent.”

      1. I completely agree.

      2. You are not moral per the SOCONs – only when you beg Jesus’ forgiveness for your daily evil doings can you be a moral person.

        1. I wish I had daily evil doings. My sins are so goddamned mediocre, it bums me out.

          Off to do some EEEEEEvil!

  9. Without the FCC, it would be wall to wall penises. Bottom line.

    1. “Bottom Line” is on the Steve Smith Network.

    2. Frylock: You’re a madman, WongBurger! This dick-ship will never fly!

      Mr. WongBurger: Well how else am I supposed to get home?

      Frylock: Call someone to pick you up!

      Mr. WongBurger: (long pause) I will.

      1. Close the dick-gate!

        1. Apparently, JJ, when you bought that medium drink, you entered a binding contract that enables them to rip off your dick.

          1. You don’t think Patrick Trueman is…dicking around, do you?

            1. I doubt it. He’s a professional dick hunter. He craves dick…as we all do.

    3. No, I think one of the cable networks already bought the TV rights to ChatRoulette.

  10. Neither the Billboard Music Awards nor NYPD Blue is forcibly thrust upon anyone.

    Jacob, many people consider (whatever’s on) TV as part of their family now. And they (usually) don’t just kick their family members out.

  11. MAXIMUM DOUCHE!

    1. I am so glad that isn’t actually a Transformers character.

      1. …Yet.

  12. The FCC is exactly why you don’t give power to government. Created to arbitrate over-lapping uses of bandwidth, and they end up regulating content for bluenoses.

    There is nothing ever given over to the state that they don’t eventually abuse.

    1. Precisely true. The FCC is even something for which there is a strong argument, in principle. In practice, it’s proof that bureaucracy expands to fill every nook and cranny of power that it possibly can, and never stops expanding.

      1. The problem with the FCC is that the necessity for its existence is predicated on the notion that the government owns the electromagnetic spectrum. Coasean bargaining could solve over-lapping use issues of common resources without “public ownership.”

  13. Okay, here it is man, I’m layin’ it on the line.

    I recently bought some plain tee-shirts, and not the ones in a bag at Wally-World. Noooo, I had to go to Macy’s and get these fancy plain tees.

    Here’s the problem: When I bought shirts from the Big Box stores they looked the same for a year then suddenly disintegrated into dust but these fancy shirts after only one wash look like fucking sheep shit. The necks are stretched out like Epi’s anus and the collar is rolled up like oldman penis skin. Seriously, these are $20 fucking tee-shirts and I’m wandering around like a goddamn inbred steeler’s fan searching for food with ranch dressing on it and a shirt without a plunging dick fold neckline. FUCK.

    Do I need to wash these things fancy or something? What the fucking fuck?

    1. Anus?!?

      What are they made of and what temperature did you wash and dry them at?

      1. Cotton. Regular, and regular.

        Weren’t recently extolling the virtues of stretching exercises?

        1. My point is that it’s my scrotum that’s stretched out. My anus is still as tight as NutraSweet’s hymen.

          I would suggest always washing cold and drying low heat. But it sounds weird that one regular wash would fuck up your shirts like that. Are you sure they’re 100% cotton and don’t have some stretch fiber in them? Because a hot dryer will fuck that shit up bad.

          1. Yup, I checked. Printed inside it says “100%” cotton.

            1. Go buy some Hanes. Or Old Navy makes some nice white tshirts that come in 3 packs.

              1. That’s the plan.

                I’ve got Hanes shirts that are from Postrel days, and though ratty the necks in ’em still work at least.

                1. So you’re saying t-shirts were better when Postrel was running things…

                  1. So you’re saying t-shirts were better when Postrel was running things…

                    Wasn’t everything?

                    Now drink up Johnny.

            2. I think you’re fucked. Buy this instead.

              1. That’s funny because I actually already have a Jayne shirt.

    2. I can only say that I drop mine off with a Chinaman and he washy washy for nearly slave wages. And my t-shirts look like normal t-shirts for a while.

      Wash in cold water to preserve the life of the fabric. That’s all I’ve got.

      1. Nearly slave wages? Turn in your monocle and top hat as he should washy washy for below slave wages.

        1. This is America, bub. Just doing my part for the American dream.

    3. Hanes premium t’s. You’ll burn out the armpits before the rest of the shirt goes.

      1. +1, exactly what happens to my white hanes premium undershirts. And they are comfortable too.

      2. I thought you only wore stained wifebeaters while drinking Rainier beer and eating a turkey pot pie.

        1. That’s only for when company is over.

          1. You mean when the dogs crawl out from under the porch?

            1. The guests think the dogs are well-trained to deliver a bunch of plump green grapes, but then it turns out they’re just covered in swollen ticks.

  14. In response to the title question: we won’t know until we try it!

  15. Trueman argues that “liberty simply does not, and cannot, exist without moral restraint,”

    That much is true, hence the Non Agression Principle.

    […]which in turn requires government restraint on liberty, such as the FCC’s rules about the content of broadcast programming.

    Which for socialist conservatives like Mr. Trueman, it would be true: You need the might of government to make man righteous.

    It is interesting that he would think that moral restrain means the threat of violence fom government, instead of being philosophically convinced of the goodness of moral restraint. If the kind of people that live in his neighborhood require government to impose moral restrain on them, then I pity him.

    Trueman also compares airing things that offend him to burglary.

    If it is true that things offend him to the point of comparing hearing them to burglary, that makes him psychotic. I would just back away… slowly.

    1. All true, but what about MY FUCKING COLLAR SITUATION?!!

      1. Old Mexican finally shows back up after spending a year sitting in a cave in total silence in Tibet just so he can better understand the sound of a whisper, and you ask him about fucking t-shirt collars?!

        Well played, sir.

        1. I need wisdom that I can use, like in real life and shit.

  16. Watching “Walk the Line” for the 50th time (for Mrs. Almanian). How J Phoenix didn’t win the fucking Academy award for this performance is beyond me. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful acting. AND singing.

    Also, never watched Family Guy. Only watched Simpsons twice – don’t like it.

    South Park and Beavis and Butthead for me. And Hanes t-shirts.

    And fuck this Trueman fuckstick with Jerry Sandusky’s perverted, soft, rotting penis. In the ass. Repeatedly. And videotape it and force his kids to watch it, over and over and over.

    That is all.

  17. You need the might of government to make man righteous.

    A righteous man fears God, doesn’t he? You’ll keep your nose clean if you believe if hellfire damnation for eternity. What’s a little govt coercion compared to that?

    1. A righteous man fears God, doesn’t he?

      Of more immediate importance for avoiding having your head chopped off, the penitent man kneels.

      1. You may refer to me as iuris imprudent.

  18. I watched an emergency room show once and they wheeled in a woman who had been in a car accident. I literally watched them slice into her chest cavity and expose her internal organs, blood pouring over the wound and splattering on the doctors who rushed attachments to her face. Off to the side was a blurry patch. The censors had found a nipple. Thank god my child didn’t see that.

    1. You don’t understand the logic of censorship. The nipple was blurred because it was considered attractive — not intrinsically attractive compared to other nipples, just attractive insofar as it was indeed a nipple. No need to blur the other stuff, because children don’t particularly want to be grossed out. It’s only the attractive which needs censorship. Like the way most poisons don’t need much in the way of controls.

    2. Exactly.I think Judeo-Christian notions of indecency are all ass-backwards. Human bodies sans clothes; select English words with venerable and well understood meanings; and depictions of people engaging in humanity’s favorite pastime are immoral, but depictions of any amount of violence and mayhem are just fine.

      Of course as a responsible parent, I made sure my teenagers had quality porn as soon as they wanted it.

  19. I think I understand and can explain Trueman’s complaint about Cher and Charlotte Ross’s being intruders, but be prepared for some circularity here. Cher and Ms. Ross are conditionally invited guests, allowed into his home only on condition they don’t do stuff like curse or show tit. The stuff they’re allowed to do is determined by what the rules were presumed to have been, and those rules were those maintained by the FCC. In other words, the FCC is obligated to keep up the same rules because they are what he has come to expect of those people invited into his home via broadcast.

  20. Make money using Google. Find out how to make up to $175/hr working for this billion dollar company. More info @ makecash25dotcomONLY

  21. Is Trueman aware that there are, in fact, family-friendly networks on cable that fall outside of the purview of the FCC? I mean this doesn’t even make any sense.

  22. There is an important difference between a libertarian and a libertine, which Reason often confuses when it tackles “moral” issues. I always avoid Reason articles when they attempt to inject neutrality into morality, as if that’s possible (it’s not).
    Law obviously can’t exist without “oughts,” without objective morality. Decency is part of that objective morality. The government is not “censoring” the content to squash ideas – it is regulating the MANNER in which ideas are shared. It would be great if government didn’t have to regulate broadcast media (like the first half of the 1900’s when broadcasters kept their content decent), but now that we live in a postmodern, “morality is relative” world, the government must be the broadcasters’ Mom, because they can’t follow the rules. That’s the very reason why morality and religion are the foundations of liberty- if the people can control themselves morally, the government won’t have to.
    It’s true you could just never get a TV to begin with, but those who want to watch decent content should not be forced to give up television for the sake of vulgarity.
    The point is that if broadcast media is indecent, those who can’t afford the luxury of cable, but who DO want to watch television, won’t have any other place to turn for decent content on TV. Those who want decent content will have to bow their knee to indecency (taking away their “right” to public TV channels). And that’s not freedom.

  23. It simply defies ALL sense of reason for a magazine named “REASON” to publish an article like this from a most unreasonable, if not totally insane and evil person, like Jason Sullum, that contains NO reason whatsoever. Despite three U.S. Supreme Court decisions now, and being confronted with law and facts galore, Mr. Sullum stubbornly persists in his god complex of 1) knowing more than the Supreme Court, and 2) his CRAZY assertion that EVERYBODY who simply buys a TV and plugs it in is somehow expressly and contractually consenting to have indecency forced upon them. Such an assertion is completely and diametrically 180 degrees the opposite of ALL reality, truth and reason, not to mention the law. I have bought numerous TV’s. At no time, did I have to sign anything saying that I consent to indecency. In the absence of that, there cannot possibly be “consent” as Sullum fantasizes. The Supreme Court has found the complete opposite, that merely turning on a radio or TV to broadcast airwaves is NOT consent to indecency. That comports with reality, not Sullum’s ravings. Further, Sullum refuses to distinguish between over the air broadcasting that intrudes into EVERY place, which by law in a public place like a street or park, and all other subscription media (cable, internet, DVD’s, on and on) ALL of which require a consenting adult to pay for a subscription. Trueman’s article was superb. Sullum’s couldn’t have been worse. Thank God the law protects us from such idiots!!!!!

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