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Benton Sends Out Send-Ups

Washington communications policy think-tank The Benton Foundation, which sends out a daily e-mail aggregation of communications stories and links, sent an April Fools Day version Thursday that included the following:

"STUDY: 90% OF TV CONTENT INDECENT--Preliminary data for a report due to Congress January 1 finds that 90% of television programming is "indecent," according to regulators' new definition. "Wow, this problem is much worse than we thought," said one staffer. Broadcasters were quick to dispute the findings. "The study is ridiculous," argued an executive at the American Association of Television People. "Most of our programming is crass commercialism and shameless self-promotion. We're doing stuff legislators never dreamed of when they wrote indecency laws. And, anyway, you can block some of it with the V-chip."

"PRESIDENT REVISES BROADBAND GOAL--Combining two popular recent proposals, President Bush urged Congress to adopt as a national goal broadband access on Mars by 2020. "Look," the President said, "we're already planning on sending scientists, astronauts and Al Gore to Mars, they will need information flowing across cables and telephone lines in a fast way. We can help. That's what broadband technology is. It means we'll open the interplanetary highways of knowledge new interplanetary highways of knowledge." The President added later in the day that broadband access on Mars should not be taxed."

After some public bickering earlier this week, lobbyists for TV, cable and consumer electronic industries finally agreed, it is the fault of the American public that the transition to digital broadcasting isn't going smoother. "Some say chicken or egg, programming or hardware," said one lobbyist. "I say its that darn guy who keeps buying the Egg McMuffin when we're offering quiche. Buy the quiche! Sure, it is expensive and you get more than you want, but it tastes better.... The industries are working on a joint proposal to the FCC that will allow broadcasters years to return analog TV spectrum in case they find a really profitable use for it and cable operators will be able to double prices for carrying both analog and digital TV signals (no, wait, they've already done that). Expect a decision sometime after the November election."

Benton bylined the DTV story "Will McCunnell," a jab at B&C's own Bill McConnell. The April Fools edition has become a tradition with editor Kevin Taglang.