Parents TV Council: Get A Life!
The Parents TV Council — talk about people with too much time on their hands. When you hear about gazillions of people complaining about a naughty word on TV, this is the group you can thank.
The slogan on their website is “Because our children are watching.” Here’s an idea: if your children are watching TV, you can monitor what they watch, instead of relying on a government wetnurse to do your parenting for you.
The Parents TV Council website makes it so easy, they’re practically begging you to complain about something. Just click on several fields, click on Send, and — Presto! — you’ve just filed a complaint with the FCC. Your favorite program might be canceled just because several thousand people made the minimal effort of several mouse clicks.
But now, the Parents TV Council has met their match. TV Watch, a group of media executives, is using a free-market approach to fighting censorship. It’s about time. There’s nothing more absurd than conservatives’ schizophrenic approach to government regulation. If you need to declare bankruptcy, or your HMO won’t pay for that operation you need — “Tough shit. Get a grip. Suck it up.”
But if you don’t even have enough initiative to pick up your remote and push the channel button, the party of self-reliance says “Aww, we understand. You don’t like that program and you’re too lazy to use the remote. Dry your eyes, we’ll take that terrible thing off the air so you won’t have to be offended.”
TV Watch is encouraging parents to make full use of the ratings system and the V-Chip to monitor what their children watch. This is the only sensible approach for people who claim to want “individualism” and “limited government.”
The clash between the Parents TV Council and TV Watch is creating a rift between major conservative groups. This censorship issue is putting a strain on the cozy relationship between free-market conservatives and the Religious Right.
A spokesman for TV Watch says “Why should we trust government to come up with the standards? Standards for who? I can’t even agree with my wife about what we ought to watch on television. Do you really think government is going to be able to come up with a standard for all of us?”
Some prominent conservative groups are agreeing with TV Watch. In addition to media executives, this includes the American Conservative Union and Grover Norquist. Describing the zeal of some people to control what we watch, Norquist said “It’s socialism…dressing it up and getting a minister to say it doesn’t change that. It’s still socialism.”
The Parents TV Council and TV Watch are both gearing up for major campaigns. This could create an awkward position for moral crusaders who talk about "limited government" while actually pushing for more government. Make them squirm.