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Lay Off, FCC -- It's Really a Mom's Job

June 12, 2004|Tricia Shore

Thank you, Federal Communications Commission. Your threats to fine radio chain Clear Channel Communications for indecency prompted it to drop Howard Stern's program in April. That means there are six more U.S. radio stations I can listen to without worrying about my toddler sons being forced to listen to Stern. The world is, of course, a much better place now.

Why stop with Howard Stern? Why not fine commercial television programming that carries advertisements targeted to children? Why not stop television programming that shows any type of violence or sex? As a mother, should I not be campaigning to rid the airwaves of all indecency and to make sure that all programming is as pure as "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood"? But then again, there was the show's phallic trolley going through that tunnel.

What started the current wave of parents and others begging for government control of the airwaves was a few seconds of overexposure for Janet Jackson during the Super Bowl half-time show. I avoid the Super Bowl as if it were a "Girls Gone Wild" marathon, but if my sons had seen the breast, they would not have been alarmed. My 3-year-old would have probably asked whether Jackson's infant was hungry.

I admit that I have not listened to Stern since before I had children, but that's my choice. My children have no idea who he is. By the time they do, perhaps they will have the good taste to turn him off. But the government has no business doing so.

Many moms claim that giving birth has somehow made them aware of just how much the government needs to regulate the airwaves. Becoming a mom has not changed my mind about government censorship. I don't want the government to regulate what comes into my home; my sons' father and I control this content ourselves.

I'll admit to watching Jimmy Kimmel, Dave Chappelle and the occasional "Reno 911," but here's a novel idea: These shows are all on after the lights are out for my children.

Perhaps we should not be surprised that many parents do not want to control media content in their homes. Parents regularly trust day-care teachers to raise their children, and then they transfer this trust to public schools. It is no wonder that many parents want the FCC to take over responsibility for the media content that comes into their homes and automobiles.

Soon, all that may be left of parental responsibility is placing the little darlings' pictures on workplace computer screen savers and paying for college, having given away every other responsibility. Parents will merely need to sit around, write the occasional check and look smug.

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Tricia Shore, a stand-up comic and writer, lives in Van Nuys.

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