Thursday, February 12, 2004


I don't usually use the title of an article as my heading, but tonight Dan Moffett speaks for me. I found this so incredulous that I was struck dumb myself. This is how far the Bush administration is willing to go to enforce its moral agenda on an innocent, and in this case defenseless, public.

The Bush administration has decided that people with bad hearing have bad judgment, too, and need special guidance from the federal government.

So the U.S. Department of Education is declaring about 200 television programs inappropriate for closed-captioning and denying federal grant requests to make them accessible to the hearing-impaired.

The department made its decisions based on the recommendations of a five-member panel. Who the five members are, only the government seems to know, and it isn't saying. But the shows they censored suggest a perspective that is Talibanesque.

I urge you to read the whole article for the reasoning and the underhanded way the policy was instituted without any public input, but here's a partial list of what will no longer be captioned for the hearing impaired.

I Dream of Jeannie
Law & Order
Power Rangers
Sanford and Son
Judge Wapner's Animal Court
The Loretta Young Show
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
classic cartoons
Nickelodeon features
Roy Rogers
Robin Hood
Major League Baseball
National Basketball Association
National Football League
Professional Golf Association tournaments.
The Simpsons
Malcolm in the Middle

The censorship raises baffling questions about who gets in and who's left out. The government has rejected Nancy Drew but is accepting Andy Hardy. Cory the Clown has won approval, but the Cisco Kid is toast. Charlie Rose and Rod Serling are worthy of captions, but Catherine Crier and Dominick Dunne aren't. Go figure.

I mean really, Nancy Drew? I grew up on that series without apparent ill effects.

The Department of Education is .....keeping the new rules secret.

....The five panelists were contacted individually and separately.

According to the article, at least one panelist had no idea he was actually empaneled. They had never even convened a meeting.


Thanks to Jules Siegel, a consummate artist and a man never at a loss for words for bringing this little travesty of public policy to our attention.


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