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Holding TV networks accountable

The four major TV networks have sued the FCC over the federal agency’s March 15 multi-million-dollar indecency fines against them. The networks are complaining that the FCC “overstepped its authority” in levying the heavy fines.

Network officials are blind. They live in their own little worlds in ivory towers where they have no idea what the typical American mom and dad count on from the networks. I believe most parents want the networks to take some accountability in what they broadcast.

But network broadcasts keep getting worse and worse in terms of sexuality, sexual language, indecent language and near nudity.

It appears, however, that the networks want more leeway in pressing the envelope. Lawsuits filed in several federal courts by ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, affiliate stations and the Hearst-Argyle Television chain says: “We strongly believe that the FCC rulings issued on March 15 … are unconstitutional and inconsistent with two decades of previous FCC decisions.” The suits seek to overturn the FCC decisions.

L. Brent Bozell, president of the Parents Television Council, responded to the networks’ suits, saying, “It’s beyond preposterous that the networks would even propose that airing the ‘f-word’ and ‘s-word’ on television is not indecent.”

But that’s the environment we find ourselves in today. Indecency has become the norm on many television broadcasts.

So what can we do about this serious dilemma?

On Tuesday, April 25, conservative Americans are going to be calling their senators, urging them to support a bill regarding decency enforcement on the airwaves that has been stalled in the Senate.

This bill, authored by Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., is H.R. 310, the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2005. The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed its version of the bill (389-38) in February. But the Senate version has been languishing at the desk of Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, which oversees telecommunications law.

My friends who have organized this national call-in day are calling this a “full-court press” by grass-roots Americans who want the networks to clean up their act. It’s time we do our part in ensuring the networks discontinue ignoring clear standards of propriety and decency.

I am also encouraging my pastor friends from across the nation to announce in their pulpits this Sunday this important Senate call-in day on Tuesday, April 25. I encourage pastors to inform their congregations about this call-in day and urge everyone to participate.

The networks have officially declared an unfettered right to blanket the airwaves with profanity and sex, even to use deeply offensive obscenities such as the ‘f-word’ during the family hour (8 p.m. to 9 p.m.). This is a battle we must take up, and win!

It’s time we hold broadcasters accountable for their actions. It’s up to us as parents and grandparents to coerce the Senate to take action. The networks have picked this fight with American families by persistently pushing the sexuality envelope on TV.

Please join with me and millions of other Americans on Tuesday, April 25 (this coming Tuesday) as we launch this massive call-in day to our senators, urging them to support H.R. 310, the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2005.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Dial the Capitol Switchboard (202-224-3121). If the line is busy, please keep calling until you have been connected. (Remember, millions of Americans will be calling, so keep trying until you get through.)

  2. Request the office of your senator.

  3. When connected to your senator’s assistant, tell him/her your name and the city from which you are calling. Then tell the assistant that you are calling to urge the senator to support H.R. 310, the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2005.

  4. Repeat steps 1-3 by calling your other senator.