The U.S. Supreme Court is listening to arguments today concerning the regulatory authority of the FCC. I do agree that blatant pornographic material is not appropriate for network broadcasting, but I don’t need the federal government to speak on my behalf and tell the networks what I think is offensive material. As a citizen of this nation, empowered by the first amendment to our constitution, I can do that myself thank-you-very-much. This is what I call “the power of the consumer”, and I find it very sad that so many of my fellow citizens continue to abdicate this power to our government.
Two recent incidents perfectly illustrate what happens when consumers speak for themselves. The first is the controversy surrounding Lowes hardware store’s decision to pull its advertising from the TLC show, “American-Muslim”. A small group of right wing religious bigots demanded that the company pull it’s advertising from this show; and the ads went away. While I do not support their beliefs, I do applaud and support their decision to exercise their constitutional rights and speak up for themselves. I equally applaud and support the counter-boycott that developed once the ads were pulled. Each one of us have the ability to choose for ourselves which businesses deserve our dollars. We do not have to give patronage to establishments that we feel endorse or support ideas or philosophies that are the antithesis of our own philosophies and ideas. None of us need the government to decide these things; I feel pretty confident that was the whole point of the inclusion of the Bill of Rights at the beginning of our constitution.
The second, and even better example of the power of the consumer is the debit card fee fiasco that resulted from Bank of America’s stupid idea to try and charge customers for using their cards. BOA blatantly admits that it was the power of the consumer that reversed their decision, NOT stronger government regulation. Enough people said bullshit, you guys can go screw yourselves while I do my banking elsewhere! TaDa! No more debit card fees. It’s amazing what can be accomplished with a DIY attitude.
So why do some many “conservative”-voting citizens want our government to get bigger and bigger, and more strictly regulate the media, when we are capable of policing them ourselves? All it takes is the simple effort of changing the channel and writing an email. A few ill-placed curse words and a couple of random flashes of skin do not necessitate more government intervention. Remember the wardrobe malfunction at the Super Bowl a few years ago?
. So many people were outraged at the stunt that the decision makers for the half-time show erred on the side of caution and chose music acts that were less likely to be so controversial for the game. I personally thought the whole issue was way overblown. I agree that it was not the most appropriate choice for such an event, but as a war vet, I was more offended by Kid Rock’s decision to cut up the American flag and wear it as a poncho than I was by the 2 second shot of Janet Jackson’s pastie-covered breast.
I don’t need the FCC to decide for me what is offensive and inappropriate. And I dont need them to explain to my child the difference between good and bad language or behavior. I am very capable of handling that stuff by myself. And when I do find stuff on the television or radio that I find offensive, I am fully able to express my opinions to the networks and radio stations without any handholding by ANY government agency.