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'Hold On" To The Chief

With all deference to The Chief, President Bush didn't get it exactly right during his indecency bill signing ceremony riff on the evils of TV programing.

"People expect us to adhere to our responsibilities," said the president. He's a part of the executive branch. [referring to Martin, who was close by]. And since I'm the head of the executive branch, I take responsibility, as well, for putting people in place at the FCC who understand one of their jobs, and an important job, is to protect American families."

More than one person pointed out to me that the FCC is an independent agency not a part of the executive branch.

Which is true. If we're talking real bosses, it is the Congress, though it can only mandate or proscribe FCC action through legislation.

The White House appoints the commissioners, and their budget is approved by OMB, they are connected to the executive branch in terms of ethics rules and salary structure, but the White House cannot directly tell the FCC what to do or not do.

Still, I think I got the President's point, which is he takes responsibility since he appointed a chairman who thinks like he does on the issue.

I have a hard time faulting the president for taking responsibility for something, in this case the crackdown, though I can and do fault him and everybody else in range for the crackdown itself, which is Monty Python absurd at best and Franz Kafka frightening at worst.

Of course, the President was also kinda wrong when he said "this law will ensure that broadcasters take seriously their duty to keep the public airwaves free of obscene, profane and indecent material." Sorry, wrong, wrong, wrong.

Currently a broadcaster's duty, I suppose, is to try and anticipate what the FCC doesn't like, then not do it. Though I would like to think their real duty is to tell the emperor he is walking around in his jaybird suit and to take a hike.

Anyway, the airwaves are not supposed to be free of profanity and so-called indecency, which are protected speech at 10 p.m.-6 a.m., and should be protected the rest of the time in my opion.

OK, this is absolutely the last indecency-relaated post until the next one.

By John Eggerton