Bush Backs Pay Indecency Standards - Broadcasting & Cable

Bush Backs Pay Indecency Standards

Author:
Publish date:

President George W. Bush told newspaper editors Thursday that he supports extending indecency regulations to cable and satellite TV, but he also argued as forcefully for marketplace forces, including the "knob."

"Yeah, I'm for that. I think there ought to be a standard," he said in response to a question following a speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors. Though he at first didn't quite seem to understand the question, when it was repeated and clarified that the issue was extending it to cable and satellite, he said: "I don't mind standards being set out for people to judge the content of a show to help parents make right decisions. "The government ought to help parents, not hinder them."

But the President also argued strongly for self-regulation.

"The final edit is a parent turning off the TV. The ultimate responsibility in a consumer-driven economy is for people to say I'm not going to watch it and turn the knob off. That's how best to make decisions and how best to send influences."

The President continued with what seemed a mixed message: "Look, we're a free society. The marketplace makes decisions, If you don't like something, don't watch it. And, presumably, advertising dollars will wither and the show will go off the air, but I have no problems with standards being set to help parents make good decisions."

The specific support for cable and satellite indecency regs was new, while the rest echoed the President's C-SPAN interview last January, when he talked about parental control and self regulation while saying generally that government, can, "at times, not censor, but call to account programming that gets over the line."

Following is the White House transcript of the President's remark to ASNE about indecency:Q Mr. President, there are those in Congress and elsewhere who would propose that the FCC be expanded, or legislation be passed that would provide decency standards on satellite television and cable television. Your thoughts on that, sir?

THE PRESIDENT: I didn't quite get it all, the FCC, the Michael Powell suggestion on decency standards?

Q There are those who would like to place on satellite and cable some decency standards.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I'm for that. I think there ought to be a standard. On the other hand, I fully understand that the final edit, or the final decision is a parent turning off the TV. I mean, the ultimate responsibility in a consumer-driven economy is for people to say I'm not going to watch it, and turn the knob off. That's how best to make decisions and how best to send influences. But I don't mind standards being set out for people to adjudge the content of a show, to help parents make right decisions. Government ought to help parents, not hinder parents in sending good messages to their children.

But, look, I mean, we're a free society. The marketplace makes decisions. If you don't like something, don't watch it. And, presumably, advertising dollars will wither and the show will go off the air. But I have no problems with standards being set to help parents make good decisions.

Related