Skip to comments.CATO Lobbies for Hollywood (Sleazoid Time-Warner funds libertarian think tank)
Posted on 01/08/2005 5:53:12 AM PST by heye2monn
Cato Lobbies for Hollywood by L. Brent Bozell III January 7, 2005
There is a sound component to the modern libertarian movement in America today, but all too often its overshadowed by the impulse toward social irresponsibility.
Adam Thierer of the Cato Institute has savaged the Parents Television Council in 'Desperate Housewives' and Desperate Regulators, an op-ed marked by stunning incoherence and juvenile low blows. If this is the best Cato can do, it goes a long way toward explaining why the libertarian movement is not taken seriously on the American political scene.
The premise of Mr. Thierers screed is that the Parents Television Council, a censorship advocate is exercising a hecklers veto over popular programming in America by mobilizing its members to bombard the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over indecent material, resulting in shows being fined or driven off the air.
Now, he warns breathlessly, Get ready for another impassioned censorship crusade by the lets- censor-television-to-protect-the-children crowd because the PTC is protesting the smash hit 'Desperate Housewives'...the most popular broadcast-network television show with kids aged 9-12. Seven times Mr. Thierer uses the word censorship (including four uses of the term censorship advocate) to describe the PTC. It is a deliberate, and sophomoric attempt to create a boogey monster when the real solution is insert sounds of libertarian trumpets, please personal responsibility.
Lets begin with what Mr, Thierer doesnt know, or if he does, has chosen to omit from his readers. The very essence of the PTCs mission is personal responsibility. The PTC has spent years urging Hollywood writers, producers, actors, directors, studios, distributors to show personal responsibility for the product it is placing on the airwaves.
The PTC likewise has undertaken a massive national campaign, spending millions of dollars in the process, demanding that corporations demonstrate personal responsibility in the shows they sponsor with their advertising dollars. Finally, the PTC has urged parents themselves to show personal responsibility in controlling what their children watch.
What the anything-goes Cato crowd doesnt want to accept is that now parents millions of parents -- are doing precisely that. The broadcast airwaves are owned by the public, not the networks. Use of those public airwaves is a privilege, and the networks have been systematically abusing that privilege by airing product that is absolute sewage and clearly in violation of their legal responsibility to abide by community standards of decency.
This is the law as affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court, which Cato may, or may not, recognize as an authority of sorts. Now those parents are demonstrating that very personal responsibility Cato embraces by uniting a million strong at the PTC and demanding the FCC exercise its legal mandate to ensure those networks abide by community standards. And Mr. Thierer is complaining. So much for the Cato crowds support for personal responsibility.
What of the suggestion that by targeting a smash hit like Desperate Housewives, the PTC is exercising a hecklers veto over popular programming? Mr. Thierer is clever but not forthcoming. Having reviewed the latest Nielsen ratings to get his data, he saw something else: "Desperate Housewives" has an audience of between 25-27 million. That may place this show at the top of the ratings, but in a nation of 295 million, it also means that 9 out of 10 Americans are not watching embracing this program.
What is most shocking, perhaps, is Catos head-in-the-sand worldview about the dangerous and very real effects of offensive programming on children. Censorship advocates also claim that any exposure to indecent or violent material will result in degenerate, dangerous youths, Mr. Thierer writes dismissively and disingenuously. I know of no one who has ever said that any exposure will result in corrupted youth, and neither does he. In a similar vein he writes that the psychological literature [on the effects of indecent and violent programming] is all over the place, a contention that is simply untrue.
There have been several thousand scientific studies demonstrating the damaging effects this kind of programming can have on children. And if programming doesnt have an impact, why do corporations spend billions of dollars every year in advertising?
Mr. Thierer believes that parental responsibility should be limited to keeping children away from those polluted airwaves. Does he also believe people should be allowed to put obscenities on their license plates and if parents dont approve they should just keep their children off the roads? If a drug dealer is peddling his wares in a school parking lot, is keeping the child out of school the only solution?
Such is the incoherence of the libertarian thought process. So what motivated Mr. Thierer and Cato to savage the PTC and its one million members this way? Who underwrites Catos work? The media giant Comcast Corporation does. The media giant Microsoft does. The media giant Time Warner does. Perhaps, as they say in the business, we should follow the money.
Libertarinas are kooks. If they ever institutes their social policies, the ensuing chaos would lead not to more liberty but diminished freedom for everyone.
And no, Ayn Rand was not a godess; she was a money whore.
Exactly my sentiment, heye2monn. Libertarians need to realize they are indeed the laughingstock of American politics and of American beliefs.
I dont usually eat popcorn this early in the day, but I will pull up a seat and watch the fur fly on this one. I can hear the libertarians marshalling their forces and decending on this thread like a plague of locusts. Good luck.
Bozell's moralising,Big Government nanny State crap is the "conservative" flipside to much of what I oppose in liberalism.
Too bad the WWE smackdown didn't put Bozo and the PTC out of business permanently
You knew Ayn Rand, then ?
Libertarians don't need to marshall our forces. This tripe falls of its own accord. People who argue that freedom advocates want the f-word and Janet's boob everywhere are not rational and it's not possible to have a rational discussion with them. So why bother?
Some interesting data re donations from Time/Warner to the L's.
Your ping lists might be interested in this.
Great point. I think the answer is that most people who call themselves "libertarians" support these things.
I was reading and trying to follow Bozell's argument until I came across this gem. "Several thousand scientific studies"!! Then it should be easy to lest two thousand peer reviewed articles that support his argument, and their should be no contention about it. Where are they? I have not heard about them. All that I have seen a a few, perhaps half a dozen, studies that indicate that there may be an effect on some kids. And, I have heard of a few studies that indicated that there was no measurable effect, though I cannot name them.
So, for those of you who support censorship, I am willing to be convinced of the harm to children, by all these thousands of scientific studies.
It is rational to assume that the libertarian "advocates of freedom" do in effect want the f-word everywhere. If not for the outpouring of conservative outrage over Janet at the Superbowl, who knows how far her imitators would push the envelope in front of our kids this year? The libertarians floated out of their marijuana haze and mocked the conservatives and parents instead of joining in their outrage.
First half dozen post on this thread were pejorative and 'double-dog daring' the libertee's out.
We've only got two years to demonstrate productive government under a republican trinity, why do these bozo's have to muck it up in divisive nonsense. Battlefield medical treatment ~ priorities ~ fix what you can ~
We've gotta get people to understand to unite, not divide. You don't unite by baiting and insulting people that yearn for liberty.
Rant not directed at you, by the way.
CATO Lobbies for Hollywood
funds libertarian think tank)
Please let me know if you want ON or OFF my General Interest ping list!. . .don't be shy.
Thanks for the Mega Meek Bump!
And here is the most stunning remark that Mr. Bozell made in his article.
"The broadcast airwaves are owned by the public, not the networks. Use of those public airwaves is a privilege, and the networks have been systematically abusing that privilege by airing product that is absolute sewage and clearly in violation of their legal responsibility to abide by community standards of decency."
Wow, the Constitution has no jurisdiction on "public" property.
I thought the U.S. was a constitutional republic form of government, not a democracy.
Free people coupled with the power of the capitalistic marketplace will take care of "community standards."
You so called "conservatives" I don't get your reasoning.
The FCC is a relic from the big poompa of Democrat"s, FDR.
Why do you wish to "conserve" their legacy?
Why not "conserve" the Bill of Rights?
Yes, liberty is not pretty sometimes.
Libertarians are such contrary little cusses. When there's no judgment, there's just that much more room for chaos.
Thanks for the ping!
Over three-quarters of Cato's donations come from individuals; they get very, very little funding from corporations. Because they oppose corporate welfare and protectionism and advocate competitive markets, in fact, they tend to be somewhat on the big corporation hit list.
You didn't ezpect cult leader Bozo to be fair and accurate on this subject, did you?
There aren't many organizations that get the bulk of their funding from corporations, but the fact that an organization does get funding from several big-name corporations (as Cato does: Citigroup, Chase-Manhattan, American-Express, among others) indicates well enough that these corporations aren't at variance with its goals.
That said, however, it's not just Cato that isn't what it seems. Check out the donor profile for the Heritage Foundation. Donors such as the F.M. Kirby Foundation (which also donates to Cato), the Hearst Foundation, the Fannie Mae Foundation, and the Brown Foundation all give money to Heritage as well as to various leftist organizations. The bottom line in all of this is that one should never assume that an organization's outward appearance authentically indicates what its goals are. There's a lot more convergence of goals among supposedly adversarial groups than meets the eye.
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