The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
The Perpetual Three-Dot Column
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by Jesse Walker

Wednesday, February 11, 2004
MOVE ON, BIG RIVER, MOVE ON:
MoveOn.org, which spent the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl crying censorship because CBS wouldn't run one of its ads, is being awfully cagy about the calls for government censorship that have come in the Super Bowl's wake. Here's an excerpt from an e-mail to the MoveOn list today:
Let's make sure Congress knows that holding an indecency inquiry doesn't get them off the hook -- that they have the power and the responsibility to roll back the FCC's [media concentration] rule change....If you're concerned about indecency, the solution doesn't lie in censorship or insignificant fines imposed on media giants. Indecency is one symptom of media ownership concentrated in too few hands with no local control.

At the root of the problem is the fact that a few big companies can decide what we watch. You don't have a choice whether or not to watch a Super Bowl heavy on the sexual innuendo -- CBS has a monopoly on the show. And new FCC rules allow CBS and other conglomerates to get even bigger.
So does MoveOn really believe that breaking up media empires means the NFL will decide to contract with more than one TV network to cover the game? And do they actually think we have no choice whether to watch a halftime show?

At least they conceded, albeit weakly, that trying to censor "indecency" is a bad idea. Some self-proclaimed civil libertarians won't even go that far, as I noted yesterday in a column for Reason.


posted by Jesse 3:55 PM
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