Government Overregulation of Broadcast Content Could Backfire

Written by Terry Mitchell

Continued from page 1
Many people forget thatrepparttar FCC and Congress are notrepparttar 113464 final arbiters of these matters. The courts are. Inrepparttar 113465 past,repparttar 113466 courts have vigorously defendedrepparttar 113467 First Amendment and I believe they will continue this trend. By playing hardball,repparttar 113468 FCC and Congress will leave broadcasters with no other option but to take them to court. Even thoughrepparttar 113469 courts have, inrepparttar 113470 past, upheldrepparttar 113471 FCC's reasonable jurisdiction over broadcast TV, things could change ifrepparttar 113472 government's newly attempted heavy-handed penalties are challenged. Long ago,repparttar 113473 courts stripped awayrepparttar 113474 government's "right" to regulate indecency on cable and satellite channels. Ifrepparttar 113475 government decides it really wants to play hardball with broadcasters, it could ultimately lose any jurisdiction over broadcast content as well. But let's supposerepparttar 113476 government's more restrictive regulations are upheld byrepparttar 113477 courts. That's definitely a possibility. However, because ofrepparttar 113478 greatly increase fines andrepparttar 113479 possibility of license revocation,repparttar 113480 courts will likely forcerepparttar 113481 FCC to be more specific and draw up more detailed indecency guidelines. They are currently vague, to sayrepparttar 113482 least. Iíll userepparttar 113483 following illustration to demonstrate how vaguerepparttar 113484 FCCís current guidelines really are. Letís suppose that none ofrepparttar 113485 roads or highways we all drive on everyday had posted speed limits. Instead, letís suppose they just had signs warning us not to drive too fast. Then letís suppose thatrepparttar 113486 police were allowed to subjectively write tickets whenever they thought someone was driving too fast, but would never actually define what they thought ďtoo fastĒ really was. Thatís similar to howrepparttar 113487 FCC operates. It doesnít provide any specific guidelines and only investigates a claim of indecency when someone files a complaint. It never explicitly states what a broadcaster can and cannot do. Now, going back to our speeding analogy, letís suppose that we (along withrepparttar 113488 courts) tolerated this kind of speed enforcement becauserepparttar 113489 fines were relatively small and no oneís license was ever revoked. However, what do you think would happen ifrepparttar 113490 governing authority decided to greatly increaserepparttar 113491 fines for speeding and allowrepparttar 113492 possibility of license revocations for such violations, without giving us specific speed limits? We would not stand still for such a thing and neither wouldrepparttar 113493 courts. Posted speed limits would be mandated. Withrepparttar 113494 FCC forced to write more specific rules governing indecency, it could find itself in a very precarious position. If, for example,repparttar 113495 FCC strictly forbids specific words from being used and/or specific body parts from being shown on broadcast TV, it will invite another court battle that it will probably lose. However, if it explicitly lists situations in which certain words can be used and/or certain body parts can be shown, broadcasters will begin to find loopholes in these rules and exploit them. We all know thatrepparttar 113496 more specific a law or rule is,repparttar 113497 easier it is to find loopholes in it. The bottom line is that more aggressive enforcement of indecency regulations on broadcast TV and radio could backfire and actually lead to even racier content. Members of Congress would be advised to look before they leap.

Terry Mitchell is a software engineer, freelance writer, and trivia buff from Hopewell, VA. He also serves as a political columnist for American Daily and operates his own website - - on which he posts commentaries on various subjects such as politics, technology, religion, health and well-being, personal finance, and sports. His commentaries offer a unique point of view that is not often found in mainstream media.

Back In Time

Written by Ken Slater

Continued from page 1

The purpose ofrepparttar voting was to give legitimacy torepparttar 113463 Saigon Government, which has been founded only on coups and power plays since November, 1963, when President Ngo Dinh Deim was overthrown by a military junta.

Few members of that junta are still around, most having been ousted or exiled in subsequent shifts of power.

Significance Not Diminished

The fact thatrepparttar 113464 backing ofrepparttar 113465 electorate has gone torepparttar 113466 generals who have been ruling South Vietnam forrepparttar 113467 last two years does not, inrepparttar 113468 Administration's view, diminishrepparttar 113469 significance ofrepparttar 113470 constitutional step that has been taken.

The hope here is thatrepparttar 113471 new government will be able to maneuver with a confidence and legitimacy long lacking in South Vietnamese politics. That hope could have been dashed either by a small turnout, indicating widespread scorn or a lack of interest in constitutional development, or byrepparttar 113472 Vietcong's disruption ofrepparttar 113473 balloting.

American officials had hoped for an 80 per cent turnout. That wasrepparttar 113474 figure inrepparttar 113475 election in September forrepparttar 113476 Constituent Assembly. Seventy-eight per cent ofrepparttar 113477 registered voters went torepparttar 113478 polls in elections for local officials last spring.

Beforerepparttar 113479 results ofrepparttar 113480 presidential election started to come in,repparttar 113481 American officials warned thatrepparttar 113482 turnout might be less than 80 per cent becauserepparttar 113483 polling place would be open for two or three hours less than inrepparttar 113484 election a year ago. The turnout of 83 per cent was a welcome surprise. The turnout inrepparttar 113485 1964 United States Presidential election was 62 per cent.

Captured documents and interrogations indicated inrepparttar 113486 last week a serious concern among Vietcong leaders that a major effort would be required to renderrepparttar 113487 election meaningless. This effort has not succeeded, judging fromrepparttar 113488 reports from Saigon.

NYT. 9/4/1967

Ken Slater is the Editor of

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