New Republican FCC Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate penned an op ed in the Washington Times over the weekend, It Takes More than a Village, to pitch a government-industry effort that goes beyond cracking down on indecency to actively promote positive, family-friendly programming.
The piece followed Tate's espousal of a similar philosophy during the New America Foundation symposium on content -blocking mechanisms. Also weighing in at that conference was Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y), author of It Takes A Village, so Tate was clearly staking out their differences in philosophy.
Invoking Janet Jackson, Tate said in her Washington Times piece that "[b]oadcasters have a responsibility to viewers to make sure that what they broadcast to a family audience is appropriate, and the fines levied by the FCC [now upped to $500,000 per incident] will provide an incentive for broadcasters to take more care in the future."
But Tate also seemed to give the goverment more power than it has.
According to a copy of the op ed distributed by Tate's office., she said that "U.S. law prohibits the broadcast of obscene, indecent, and profane material over the public airways." Actually, U.S. law prohibits the airing of obscene material at any time of day, but it specifically protects indecent and profane content between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
A Tate spokesperson said that she meant the 6 a.m.-10 a.m. period when children are most likely to be in the audience.
In fact, broadcasters are free to let the f-words and full-frontal fly at 10 p.m. and be fully protected.