Fort Sumner - Broadcasting & Cable

Fort Sumner

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I forgot to sufficiently praise Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone for standing up to the D.C. forces of decency earlier this week, a bulwark of sorts against an onslaught of content controllers (OK, that last part was just to justify the headline).

At a speech to the Media Institute, he told the FCC to stay out of the nation's homes, arguing that the content crackdown was threatening not only freedom of speech, but freedom from fear. That's two of the four freedoms that Franklin Roosevelt enumerated and Norman Rockwell immortalized.

In fact, if I had been smarter than I seem to be, I would have put a picture of that "Freedom from Want" poster with my story on the speech. You know, the one with the parents beinding over their kids nestled all snug in their beds.

The irony is is that the content crackdowners–and they are "downers" when they chill important content like PBS and CBS documentaries–are earnestly trying to protect those children, while failing to appreciate that one of the things they should be protecting is the freedom to speak and to be spoken to without Sam intervening as a well-meaning but off-base Uncle.

"So, let us rise above the temptation to censor or fine or regulate the most basic and primary of our constitutional rights," said Redstone. "Not only because it is an improper role for government, but because it is not what Americans want from government."

You tell 'em.

By John Eggerton

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