There are other bills in the works. Congressman Dan Lipinski of Chicago is sponsoring a bill pushing to give parents the right to "cable choice," allowing them the right to choose not to subsidize smutty or ultraviolent cable networks like MTV or FX. This version of the bill is picking up prominent sponsors, from leading House conservative Mike Pence to freshman Democrat Heath Shuler, one of those touted Southern moderates.
With each passing day, "cable choice" looks evermore likely as the ultimate solution on that medium. Over on satellite radio, the folks behind the proposed Sirius/XM merger have proposed their own version of consumer choice. If satellite radio can do it, so too can cable TV. Consumers deserve more freedom of choice, and they deserved it long ago.
More? Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas is proposing an interesting bill that pushes the FCC to look harder into the next generation of content-blocking devices for parents across all media platforms, from TV to the Internet to wireless communications. Since the Telecommunications Act passed in 1996, the FCC is supposed to keep its eye on emerging new technologies, but Sen. Pryor hopes to "light a fire" under the FCC on this matter.
As is to be expected, advocates of unlimited sleaze across all media platforms are fussing. Libertarian policy wonk Adam Thierer at the Progress and Freedom Foundation is waving the usual red flags, saying there is no sign of -- there's that phrase again -- "market failure" on blocking technologies that Hollywood refuses to employ correctly (the ratings system) or virtually at all (the time delay).
But there seem always to be room for one more silly argument from this camp. "It is unrealistic to expect all new consumer media devices to employ alternative blocking schemes," he now says.
One emerging new technology is cell-phone pornography. It's unsettling to think that parents who give their teenagers cell phones so they can stay in contact could be handing them an unsupervised porn channel. Yet it's "unrealistic" to expect phone companies to offer technology to block this from children?
To say that Hollywood's apologists are running out of gas is an understatement. All they have left is hot air.