Friday, September 02, 2005

More Religious Activists Tear the US Down From Within

I'm gonna puke....

The Parents Television Council in the News

Todd Shields, FCC Hires Conservative Indecency Critic, Media Week, August 8, 2005.

The Federal Communications Commission has hired as an advisor an anti-pornography activist and former lobbyist for groups that push for Christian precepts in public policy. The move may herald a reinvigorated campaign against broadcast indecency and bring renewed pressure on cable to reconsider its racy offerings.

Penny Nance, until recently a board member of Concerned Women for America, is working as a special advisor in the FCC’s Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis, said aides to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin.

The strategic planning office helps develop agency policy. Concerned Women for America describes its mission as “helping…to bring Biblical principles into all levels of public policy.” In recent weeks Nance, a longtime supporter, stepped down from the organization’s board, said an official with the Washington, D.C.-based group.

Nance founded the Kids First Coalition, a nonprofit group based in Alexandria, Va., that describes itself as working to protect children. It invites members to contact Congress on such issues as abortion and pornography, and publishes Republican speeches and position papers on its Web site. In recent years Nance has twice testified before Congress, describing Internet pornography as a threat to children and speaking in favor of technology that lets DVD movie viewers skip past sexual and violent scenes.

In a January letter to President Bush, Nance joined others in calling for stricter enforcement of indecency laws and identifying a “huge indecency problem” on basic cable. She has said TV broadcasters should restore a family hour when racy programming is held off the air. In 2002, she asked regulators to ensure direct broadcast satellite provider DirecTV did not fall under control of News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch, whom she dubbed a purveyor of “must-sleaze TV” on the Fox network. (Murdoch gained control of DirecTV in 2003, after regulators blocked its merger with EchoStar Communications that Nance backed.)

Nance arrives during a quiet period for FCC indecency enforcement, following record fines of $7.9 million proposed in 2004 under Martin’s predecessor, fellow Republican Michael Powell.

Martin is on record as supporting strict enforcement of indecency laws, although the extent of his enthusiasm has yet to be tested. The commission has proposed no indecency fines during his five months in the chair.

Some observers believe the FCC is preparing to act, perhaps in coming weeks, on as many as 50 indecency complaints. Some see Nance’s arrival as an indication the agency is leaning toward stricter enforcement. “Why else would [Martin] have someone like that on board?” asked one Washington attorney who watches the FCC closely.

Nance declined an interview, telling Mediaweek, “I can’t talk now.” Martin’s office said she advises the commission on “broadcast- and cable-related consumer and social issues” in a post that “serves as liaison and provides outreach to Congress, public interest groups and the industry.” A Martin aide said Nance is working part-time, but did not say when she began working at the agency.

In filings to Congress last month, Nance said she had terminated her work as a lobbyist for Kids First and for the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Center for Reclaiming America, a group that says it works to “implement the Biblical principles on which our country was founded.” The filings may have coincided with Nance’s start at the FCC, since she couldn’t plausibly represent both the agency and private groups.

Nance’s activism has spanned a broad range. In 1999 she worked for conservatives fighting a nuclear test ban treaty favored by President Clinton, and the previous year she helped organize a rally in Washington to demonstrate women’s dismay at Clinton’s sex scandals, according to an account in The Washington Times. This year she signed letters calling for an end to Senate filibusters of judicial nominees and urging Bush to appoint a Supreme Court justice “who understands the difference between cherished liberty and ruinous license.”

Nance has previously taken a direct interest in issues of broadcast indecency. “It is time the networks revisited the family hour,” she wrote in a bylined article in The Washington Times on May 5, 2003. The family viewing hour resulted from an agreement among major broadcast networks to keep graphic programming off the air from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. when children are most likely to be watching.

In January, Nance joined others in the letter urging Bush to
appoint as FCC chair someone committed to enforcing indecency laws. Other signatories included stalwarts of the conservative political movement such as Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, and Phyllis Schlafly, president of Eagle Forum, as well as longtime FCC critics Donald Wildmon, chairman of the American Family Association, and Brent Bozell, president of the Parents Television Council, who both argue the agency has shirked its responsibility to crack down on indecent broadcasts.

“The breakdown of standards on TV and radio is a ‘moral values’ problem we cannot ignore,” said the letter to Bush, which was widely interpreted in D.C. as a plea to appoint Martin. It called for “repeated and expanded” fines “until broadcasters understand they are not above the law.” It also cited “a huge indecency problem on basic cable channels.”

Cable operators are facing demands that they offer subscribers channel-by-channel program selection, in part so consumers need not subsidize racy programming that is part of broad programming tiers. Such an approach is favored by consumer groups that want to cut monthly cable bills and by many cultural conservatives, including the Concerned Women group that Nance served.

Another religious wacko serving in our supposedly secular government. I have no doubt whatsoever that the Republican Party's goal is to turn this country into a Christian theocracy, wherein every citizen must answer to The Bible's laws.

I'm often asked why I think religion is such a pernicious influence. Though this is a perfect case in point, I'd gladly trade away my prime example to have this small-minded, bigoted, Bible-thumping wacko out of our government.

For a number of years now, this country has been crumbling faster than did the Gulf Coast from Katrina. Sadly, in another similarity, I see no real hope in sight.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is my head, meeting the desk. Hello, desk. We'll be knowing one another well for at least three more years.

2:30 AM  
Blogger The Libertarian Defender said...

I know exactly how you feel.

Being rational and logical, in this country, at this moment in time, is tremendously frustrating.

Thanks Bush! You've succeeded in reaching your goal: The worst president in more than 100 years.

8:26 PM  
Blogger kristy said...

real good kids change, learn, or stay the same with their own internal clocks. some kids get lost in their familys beleifs but end up comeing out with their own reasons and ways of beleiving.
Being alone, silent, and completely away form jobs society and bad television for a long number of years taught me good.

6:59 PM  
Blogger The Libertarian Defender said...

Welcome to the blog! Hope you come around often! Always good to see new "faces" and new names.

11:26 PM  

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