Reason Foundation

Reason Foundation

Reason Alert: FCC, TV and Violence

April 27, 2007

The FCC Took My Cable Away
Reason magazine editor-in-chief Nick Gillespie sums up the FCC's report on TV violence: "The research on the link between violent TV and behavior in children is not decisive ('many questions remain'), but because enough people complain about the 'problem' and in spite of an ever-increasing amount of viewer controls available to parents (the most simple being the on/off switch, of course), Congress should limit what can be on when (time channeling) and how entertainment providers offer up stuff to viewers. Because, you know, if we don't, violent juvenile crime rates among kids will plummet even more."

Gillespie adds, "Look, I'm the father of two children (sons, one of whom is still going through something of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle phase). And I've got to say that I'm jealous that what my kids have at their fingertips is not a coarse culture (though there's plenty of that out there) but an incredibly rich kid-centered culture that includes tons of clever programming on Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Noggin, Sprout, and so much more. And since when is it the responsibility of the world--as opposed me--to protect my kids from TV?"

As for the TV-violence connection, Gillespie finds, "It's not just kids who are committing fewer violent crimes (see chart in column), it's everyone in the U.S. So if that's your measure, bring on TV violence. If there's little doubt that TV over the past decade has gotten 'coarser' and more violent, there's equally little doubt that the US has become less violent a place to live."
» Kerry Howley: FCC's Misbegotten Report on Visual Violence

Mandating Broadcast Balance Won't Help Dems
With Democrats, led by Rep. Dennis Kucinich, considering dusting off the "Fairness Doctrine" and demanding equal time, Reason magazine's Jesse Walker writes, "The Fairness Doctrine wouldn’t just rein in the Fox-style right-wing shows that irk people like Dennis Kucinich. It would deliver a harsh blow to the 'progressive talk' format that has emerged in the last few years as an alternative to Rush Limbaugh and his imitators. It would be a harsh blow, in fact, to any station that programs from a particular point of view. As in the '20s, the likely result would not be an increase in the opinions heard on the air but a decrease in the number of stations willing to air controversial opinions at all."

What Halberstam Revealed About Our Foreign Policy
Reason magazine's Michael Young, opinion editor of the Daily Star in Beirut, writes, "[David] Halberstam's work on Vietnam was just an earlier rendition of American writing on Iraq today: a foreign adventure that allows Americans to write mostly about other Americans...When it comes to foreign policy, Americans are prone to falling back into parochial conversations. This may be understandable, but it also shows how the global political ambition of the U.S. is built on soft foundations. If you mainly write about yourself, or more importantly if you can't interest your countrymen in the outside world, then don't be surprised when foreign endeavors that turn sour are suddenly declared the consequence of cruel, inescapable providence."

Queueless on Immigration
"For two decades, immigration bashers have stymied any attempt to regularize the status of illegal aliens in this country by employing one, single trope against them: they are queue-jumpers who illegally crossed the border ahead of those patiently waiting their turn. But the trope is a fallacy based on a complete misstatement of U.S. immigration policy. There is no such line - a legal pathway to citizenship for unskilled workers. Still, this unfair accusation has transformed 'amnesty' into a dirty word. Equally bad, it has made a guest worker program for future unskilled workers contingent on first creating a Berlin Wall on the Mexican border. Unlike Ronald Reagan, who unabashedly adopted the term to push for permanent residency for the 2.7 million illegally in the country in the mid-1980s, every immigration advocate today is disavowing it. President Bush vociferously denies that his plan for comprehensive immigration reform has any amnesty component to it, pointing to the hefty fines and fees he plans to extract from illegals in exchange for not deporting them." - Reason Foundation policy analyst Shikha Dalmia examines how our immigration system differentiates between skilled and unskilled workers, a distinction she says reveals "more about the economic ignorance of immigration bureaucrats and less about either's economic necessity."

Commuter Rail Is a Poor Fit for Sprawling Atlanta
Atlanta has tried to reduce its traffic congestion by getting people out of their cars and onto commuter rail trains. But a policy brief by the Reason Foundation shows that Atlanta's sprawling population is ill-suited for this type of transit. To illustrate this point, Reason compares Atlanta to a European city that heavily relies on rail transit, Barcelona. Atlanta and Barcelona have both hosted the summer Olympics and in 1990 both had populations of around 2.8 million people (Atlanta has since swelled to over 5.1 million people according to Census Bureau estimates). The built-out portion of metro Atlanta was already over 1,650 square miles in 1990. In contrast, the built-out portion of the Barcelona metro area covered just 62.5 square miles (see map in study for visual comparison of the two cities). Barcelona's metro rail network has approximately 60 miles of track, nearly all of it underground, and around 120 stations. In order for Atlanta to provide its commuters with Barcelona's level of rail transit accessibility, Atlanta would need to build more than 2,100 miles of rail tracks and 2,800 rail stations.

Join Reason and John Stossel in LA
You are cordially invited to join Reason Foundation, the Los Angeles Press Club, and ABC News anchor John Stossel on Wednesday, May 2, at 6:30 p.m., at a reception in downtown Los Angeles in honor of John's latest book Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity: Get Out the Shovel--Why Everything You Know is Wrong. Please join us for a lively and fun evening of cocktails and conversation at the Blue Velvet Restaurant. For more details and RSVP information, please click here.

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