Your TV Is Not Your Babysitter

Plenty of folks stopped by the Spin Board to roast my last column (login required). Funny how people seem to see only what they want to see. It appears no one read the last half of the column about the risks that an increasingly-censored broadcast media puts on advertisers. What if you're the advertiser who wanted to support the airing of Saving Private Ryan on Veteran's Day and you found out that half the stations refused to air it? Moreover, what if TV is a cornerstone of your marketing plan and network TV ratings continue to decline over time, partly because of increasing government control over content makes TV uninteresting to certain audiences?

But instead of talking about that, folks wanted to complain about my description of the situation. Some of the more interesting quotes follow...

I think the fine for the sexually suggestive material shown on the program "Married By America" is heavy but if that's what it takes to get the content of our TV's cleaned up then so be it!!

I, for one, and sick and tired of the garbage that passes for TV entertainment these days. You cheapen the First Amendment by mentioning it in the same breath as this trash. Get a life!

I love how conservatives, who want the rest of the world to think that they believe in small government that stays out of our lives, would rather look to a regulatory body to control the content they consume in broadcast instead of doing the reasonable thing - voting with one's eyeballs. If no one watched Married By America, would the networks run it? If the network itself received complaint letters, might they reconsider? Evidently, there are plenty of folks who would rather have the government perform the function of content control than let the free market decide.

Have little kids? Try protecting them.

I don't have little kids. But if I did, any protection I might give them would involve something called parenting. Parenting involves knowing what your kids consume through the media so you can determine what's appropriate for them and what's not. The answer is NOT to sanitize the world to make it safe for kids at all places and all times. After all, some of us like a little excitement in our lives, thankyouverymuch. The answer is to watch your kids, give them some guidance and not simply plop them in front of the television every time you don't feel like interacting with them. Oh, and here's another thought for the "won't somebody think of the children?" crowd. If you're so concerned about TV's effect on the values of your children, what are your kids doing up at 9 PM on a school night watching a program about folks who let people they don't know determine who they'll marry?

So thanks to many of the Spin Board commentors who want the government to control their content, want the mass media to babysit their kids, and completely missed the main point of my last column.