Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Government and Media Don't Mix.

Here are two closely-linked issues that I think should outrage more Americans, whether you're on the right or the left, a conservative libertarian or an old-fashioned liberal.

Jeff Jarvis covers the story of 81-year-old Ted Stevens of Alaska pushing to expand the scope of the new decency fines to cable and subscription services. Blame Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction for sparking the movement of lawmakers who think government knows best when it comes to what we watch and hear. More and more, it seems to me that the guys who say they want to get government off the backs of the people also want to make sure it's a looming presence in our homes and cars.

The other issue? The use of government money to get commentators to shill for Administration policies and the placement of phony journalists in the White House news corps. While Hendrik Hertzberg is clearly biased against the Bush Administration, he gives good reason for outrage in last week's New Yorker. Again, I don't think it matters if you're a Red Stater or a Blue Stater, any American should be furious that their tax dollars went to commentators who then spoke on behalf of policies without disclosing that they were being paid.

We all know the American media is hardly full of greatness. But just watch how much it sucks when it's controlled by the people in Washington. All this regulation and government manipulation is flat-out un-American. Why aren't more people upset about it?


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