It might be worth it if other avenues were not available to parents to control what their children watch, but those avenues exist in abundance. Parents can turn off, or even get rid of the TV; they can make use of the V-chip, now a part of all newer TV sets; they don't have to subscribe to cable or satellite TV; they can make use of the imperfect ratings system or they can monitor what their children watch.
It amazes me that some conservatives who preach against "big government" control of our lives think nothing of rushing in to ask big government to control our entertainment choices.
The a la carte approach is the worst of all worlds. Fox News could not have been launched in an a la carte environment, which might be good news for liberals, but bad news for those who wish to have another perspective on the news than what they got before Fox was born a decade ago. What about religious programming? Would conservative Christians, for example, wish to allow people to block all Christian programs when the opportunity to reach nonbelievers is a strong motivator for the people who produce them?
One expects government regulation and control during a Democratic administration, but a Republican administration is supposed to be dedicated to the free market. The FCC's own study shows that in an ideal a la carte world, consumers would get 20 channels, but would pay the same price as today's 150 channels. Only those who don't mind buying one egg and paying for a dozen would be comfortable with such a deal.
Those on the right who favor this proposed regulation had better think of the consequences. If the FCC and not the market control your entertainment choices, would a Democratic president and his (or her) appointees to the FCC feel emboldened to control the political dialogue? They surely would cite the entertainment regulations as precedent for coming after talk radio and anything else they deemed "harmful" to the public.
Don't let them take your remote, because you won't get it back.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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