FCC No Longer Just Big Brother, But Big Parent

Not content to be Big Brother when it comes to broadcast program content, the FCC has decided to promote itself to Big Parent. In the FCC's brief to the Second Circuit defending its indecency decisions, the FCC claims that "separate and apart from facilitating parental supervision of children's viewing," it has an "independent and compelling interest in preventing minors from being exposed to indecent broadcasts."

So even if parents want their kids to see Martin Scorsese's The Blues or Steven Bochco's NYPD Blue, with full knowledge and acceptance that some of the content may be blue, the FCC won't allow them that choice? Even if parents want the power themselves to choose what their children watch, as opposed to having the government make those decisions for them, as surveys show is overwhelmingly true, well, that's beside the point. It turns out that parents are just too dumb and/or irresponsible. So the FCC has to step in and save America's kids -- from their parents.

It would be one thing if we were talking porn. But we're talking mainstream American broadcast television here. In many cases, we're talking PBS!

As many suspected all along, that whole FCC "we're only censoring to help parents" rationale has been a smoke screen. Rather, the FCC has come clean and publicly announced it intends to become the ultimate Big Parent to America's children; the Cultural Commissar that overrules and denigrates parental prerogatives and, instead, enforces its unelected, undemocratic, and utterly arbitrary judgment of what's OK for America's children.

That's a mind-boggling expansion of government authority and interest, isn't it?

And if you think it doesn't matter, think again. Instead of bringing Americans "better" television and "healthier" children, We the People are getting less free expression and worse TV, while doing harm to our children. That's not just me saying that, it's also, among others, Presidential Medal of Freedom winner Peggy Charren, the "godmother" of quality children's television programming. We wrote up Peggy's thoughts and documented the harm done by the FCC's consistently inconsistent indecency decisions in Big Chill: How the FCC's Indecency Decisions Stifle Free Expression, Threaten Quality Television, and Harm America's Children, a report we filed in the same Second Circuit court case as this remarkable FCC brief, here. If this is the best the FCC can come up with to defend itself, I like our chances.