Just turn off the TV

This editorial from the LA Times discusses rumblings from the FCC that the agency may try to regulate "violence" on television, and may try to extend the agency's control to cable and satellite broadcasting--entirely new for the FCC.

The FCC is apparently using the recent catastrophe at Virginia Tech (right here in Blacksburg) as justification for extending its reach. But the editorial has it right. The FCC is not our "mommy and daddy." With hundreds of cable channels and millions of IP TV choices, and the rapid growth of alternative video programming, what the FCC should be discussing is getting out of the business.

When TV was available only via the scarce resource of over the air radio spectrum, there was some justification for having a watchdog agency. But with so many ways to get video programming today, the notion that a) oversight and control is still needed is archaic, and b) how on earth does the FCC propose to monitor literally thousands and thousands of "channels?"

This is a fundamental failure of government to adapt to change. Recall that this is the same FCC that believes if a single person in a zip code has broadband, everyone does. And we want these folks telling us what we can watch on TV?

It is tawdry for the agency to be using the deaths of my friends and neighbors as an excuse to expand the power of the Federal bureaucracy. If we don't like what is on a TV channel, we can change the channel ourselves, or just turn off the TV.

And I can tell you that in Blacksburg, most of us did just that once NBC started airing the demented ravings of the lunatic murderer and tried to call it news. We had better things to do, like attending funerals. The OFF button is a wonderful thing.

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