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Old December 1st, 2004, 07:20 PM   #1
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MPAA & FCC conflict

There have recently been more and more network shows on television containing content that would require an R rating with an adult's presence in a theater. I can't believe my eyes and ears sometimes. FX is probably the leader with Nip/Tuck and that show with Dennis Leary, then Comedy Central with South Park and finally, USA with the Heidi Fleiss story is not far behind. I don't think that content belongs on regular cable and at the times it's aired. How do the networks get away with it if the movie studios have to tone their movies down to get certain ratings for target audiences. You can theoretically "control" (ha ha) access to a movie theater denying ticket sales to minors. But you cannot control who's at home supposedly monitoring internet access, basic or expanded cable and now even broadcast network programming. It looks like the internet, broadcast and cable are the perfect ways around the MPAA regulations. If I had children right now, I'd definitely be in contact with these knuckleheads.
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Old December 1st, 2004, 08:24 PM   #2
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I have to disagree.

Although I do not condone graphic sexual content on basic cable; I do think its time it grew up. I am a parent of a 4 and half year old and I police what my child watches; I'm not a extreme with it as his favorite stuff are movies (Spiderman, Jurassic and even Hellboy).

Parents can control more than you think (and this coming from a fomrer 'hellion').

There is enough censorship going on whereas we dont need some government agency telling us that Dennis Leary said 'ass' in an episode therefore we cannot watch it cause they decided this.

FX is one of the best networks on television currently and gives us 'adult-programming'. If you dont like it; dont watch it. If your worried your kids are going to be watching it then I hope you know what they are doing when thier out of the house.

You can control the computer and the t.v.

I say this carefully and mean no offense whatsoever; it's people like you that scare me the most in wanting the FCC and MPAA to do 'our' jobs. Censorship is evil.
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Old December 1st, 2004, 08:46 PM   #3
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As I understand it, the FCC cannot regulate cable channels like it does over the air broadcasts. I disagree with you as well James, and I raised a daughter who is now 22 years old; she turned out just fine. John is right, let the parents control what their kids can and cannot see. If you're upset with cable then don't get it. Or use the v-chip to lock out the channels you don't want them to see. The recent tide towards censorship and the "holier than thou" attitude of many people these days is much more disturbing than any "bad words" you might hear or "wardrobe malfunctions" you might see on TV.
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Old December 1st, 2004, 08:58 PM   #4
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Well put Boyd

What scares me more is my child watching the nightly news; and Im not joking. Turn it on right now and be appalled.
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Old December 1st, 2004, 09:49 PM   #5
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Boy, did this get off topic fast. I believe my question was why is there a difference in rules for the same kind of content for the MPAA and FCC.

Easy, easy. I never said that it shouldn't be there at all, just not in prime time and not on basic cable. I think it has a special place. Why can't it be like it was back in the 80s and and early to mid 90s? And I don't necessarily mean those sitcoms that depicted near perfect families. I mean watching movies with certain words or scenes taken out. I had seen alot of the movies in theaters then and then on tv and it was admittedly frustrating when they covered a word that you knew was coming up that made the scene what it was, but I accepted it because it was national television which was like a safe place. I like watching alot of the stuff that I'm talking about but I am not a kid, though I tend to act like one at times, and I know how to process these not so necessary scenes unlike a small kid that does not. I am NOT one of these extremist conservatives but I think younguns need to be protected from the filfth. I was much younger too and went out of my way to see things that I wasn't suppose to see and I didn't turn out bad either. But, I only made an effort to see or hear it if I was curious or whatever, it wasn't always just there in front of me and readily available like it is for today's kids on tv and the internet. That goes for guns, fireworks, everything bad, etc. as well. Listen, that stuff with the V chip and these codes on the cable boxes is well intended but if I want to see that stuff, I'm going over to what's his name's house down the street because his parents either don't care or he found the code to his box. I'm not so naive to think that everything seen and heard can be controlled and it shouldn't be. So one way or the other I or any kid is going to see it if we really want to. I'm well aware that you can't control all that is seen and heard. We all watched cartoons back in the 70s and 80s with characters hitting each other over the head with hammers and anvils, shooting and blowing each other up with dynamite but did I repeat those actions? I am mostly talking about heavy visual depictions of sex more than language or even so called violence. I agree 100% with the if you don't like it don't watch it view but I still don't have to like what's presented on regular television. I totally agree that it is ultimately the parents responsibility to keep their kids informed and in line and not some agency but these agencies are the one's in place to make these networks behave. There is already a parents group after FX about Nip/Tuck and they have succeeded in getting major sponsors to pull out but that show still continues to air with new ones on the way. See what I mean? Only a governing agency ultimately has the power to come down on these networks.

One more important one is Howard Stern on E! That is sometimes funny in its strange little way but in my opinion E! could do much better than that crap.

John wrote:

"Although I do not condone graphic sexual content on basic cable; I do think its time it grew up. I am a parent of a 4 and half year old and I police what my child watches; I'm not a extreme with it as his favorite stuff are movies (Spiderman, Jurassic and even Hellboy)."

That's a little bit contradictory don't you think. If what's on television is not so objectionable to be removed, then why are you policing it? Let him watch what he wants no matter what and I'm confident that your explanations and guidance will prevail as have most of our outcomes from good parenting.

I agree with you that censorship is dangerous but common decency is just as important. The heavy depictions of sex are just not necessary. Again, that is my main concern.

I think that a well informed youngster will do much better than one left to interpret for themself.

And Boyd, I think I just about answered all of your comments too.
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Old December 1st, 2004, 10:16 PM   #6
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Well, to address your basic question: as Boyd said, the FCC regulates the public airwaves -- broadcast TV and radio. Cable TV and satellite radio are different beasts, and do not fall under the FCC's control (although the FCC would like to change this). Originally, the FCC was created because the government felt that the airwaves were a limited and valuable resource. Keep in mind that the FCC also regulates things like pirate radio stations -- not because of profanity, but because they are an unlicensed use of the airwaves (which also must maintain space for military/aeronautic/etc transmissions as well).

I don't know that I would say that the FCC was created as a morality police; and I certainly hope that they never gain control over cable/satellite. Think about it this way -- you have to pay to get cable, just like you have to pay to get into a movie.
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Old December 1st, 2004, 10:25 PM   #7
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Thanks John. The FCC sure has been whipping out the fines lately.
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Old December 1st, 2004, 11:51 PM   #8
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<<<-- Originally posted by James Emory : John wrote:
That's a little bit contradictory don't you think. If what's on television is not so objectionable to be removed, then why are you policing it? Let him watch what he wants no matter what and I'm confident that your explanations and guidance will prevail as have most of our outcomes from good parenting.
-->>>

Contradictory? Not at all, but good try.

It is not objectionable to me (the adult, the parent, the rulemaker). It is my autonomy to decide when and what my child can watch.

I do not let my child watch 'what he wants'. It is each parents right and responsibility to decide this. Not the FCC.

I think "heavy depictions of sex" as seen on Nip/Tuck is a subjective matter; one mans 'heavy depiction'...

There are parents out there that havent a clue what their kid is doing; surfing the web, locked in the room watching t.v. Not this one.

And you are correct; you dont have to like whats being presented on television, nor the theatre, nor radio. What difference does it make if its on Basic Cable, Network or Pay Cable? Every single person I know has the Digital Cable Package from Hades (gotta watch the Sopranos).

If you dont like it; dont watch it. If you dont know what your kids are doing then you have deeper issues than catching an episode of Rescue Me. But please dont try and keep it off. I think its worse to ban or censor something than it is to have it available. America is so 'prudish' when it comes to this subject matter.

I dont think the young uns need to be protected from the 5th but need to be exposed to the 5th. Let the parents make the decisions. The government has enough say in our lives.

It amazes me to see 'parents groups' spending so much time and energy trying to boycott a show like Nip Tuck. It usually brings more press and viewers than without. Why cant these prudes spend some time in charity for children?

I do agree with you; Stern's show is bad and E could do way better.
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Old December 2nd, 2004, 12:02 AM   #9
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Whew. You let me off easy on that one. Thanks! Ha, ha.
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Old December 2nd, 2004, 12:09 AM   #10
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LOL

I have no illness towards differeing opinions. thats another topic i support. free speech, free debate and communication.

in all fairness; i see your side of the coin clearly. i just happen to be very in touch with what and when my son is doing.

one thing i wont let him watch is 'really freakin scary' films. He has seen some R films with Adult content; but no Halloween, Se7en, Silence of the Lambs stuff. of coourse i saw Halloween when i was 8, Carrie at the drive in...

He loves Jaws though! And he's a little surfer!
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Old December 2nd, 2004, 07:56 AM   #11
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Re: MPAA & FCC conflict

<<<--James wrote: It looks like the internet, broadcast and cable are the perfect ways around the MPAA regulations. -->>>

I missed this one before, but I wanted to clarify: The MPAA is a self-regulating arm of the film industry -- as oppossed to FCC, which is a gov't regulating agency. No film is 100% required to be rated by the MPAA; most do simply because the majority of theatres will not carry an unrated movie and most papers (media, etc) will not allow advertising for unrated movies -- regardless of the content.

Also, the MPAA has no legal authority; the ratings systems was co-developed with theatre owners, not the government. It is self-regulating - so often a pre-emptive strike so that the gov't doesn't come in and start telling you how to do your business.

So the internet. etc, are not "perfect ways around MPAA regulations" (at least not in a negative way) because these things are not in partnership with the MPAA -- they are not covered by the ratings system to begin with. The ratings were codeveloped with theatre owners, and later on video stores voluntarily joined in. Movies that are rated by the MPAA do display those ratings when shown on cable, though.

The MPAA's own history can be found here: http://www.mpaa.org/movieratings/about/content.htm
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Old December 2nd, 2004, 10:22 AM   #12
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Thanks again John B.. That's interesting to know. I've seen a few making of shows over the years and the MPAA really gave some studios and directors a hard time about some content. It made them change or leave things out altogether to get a particular rating that they, the directors and/or studios, wanted for marketing purposes. Usually, self governing industries aren't so efficient. The MPAA has ruffled some directors' and studios' feathers so much that they might as well be government run as far as their strictness.


John Hudson will love this. I didn't mention this before and should have. A little contrary to my original post, I have to admit that I do look at some of the content on television and think, you know that probably ought not to be shown when and where it is but as much as I don't like it, it is better than some government agency specifically telling us what we can and can't watch like in some of these other countries. I just shake my head and go on thinking it's better than the afformentioned alternative.
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Old December 2nd, 2004, 11:08 AM   #13
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<<<-- Originally posted by James Emory :

I was much younger too and went out of my way to see things that you weren't suppose to see and I didn't turn out bad either. But, I only made an effort to see or hear it if I was curious


And then in terms of v-chip lockout, you get into your child's way of thinking and say...

if I want to see that stuff, I'm going over to what's his name's house down the street because his parents either don't care or he found the code to his box. -->>>


Hey James,

I couldn't help but get a chuckle from this part of your post. You are in essence saying that your child will do just as you did when you were young. Where there's a will, there's a way!

Please don't take this the wrong way. I read all of the posts and understand everyone's point of view. I just found this part a little humorous and I hope you see the irony.

best regards,

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Old December 2nd, 2004, 11:37 AM   #14
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Yes Greg. That is true. I don't have any kids yet but I expect that any kid, not just mine, is going to find a way around any supression device or method. I sure did! I have always been industrious. When told that I can't go past a certain point, I will eventually try or succeed to get around it. Some work has actually come from that. The point of that flashback was in fact to say that this is what will happen no matter what deterrent is in place. It's like those anti-squirrel bird feeders. Have you seen the lengths that a squirrel will go to get that seed? I have to also say that I appreciate my parents for protecting me from alot of the crap, whatever it may have been back in the 70s & 80s. But at least some effort has been made to screen out objectionable content by government and industry. In the end, I think good parenting is the only solution.
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Old December 3rd, 2004, 10:51 PM   #15
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As a matter of fact James, I have seen those feeders. My parents still live in central Arkansas and have lots of feeders and trees in their backyard. My dad is always cursing the squirrels cause they find a way to get that seed, like you said. That neverending battle is humorous in its own right.


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