Television Hygiene

One thing seems certain: Children are increasingly learning their values from the television set. Another thing seems also true: This is not such a good thing.

I just hope this is not the final word.

Television Hygiene

During the Reagan regime, the Federal Communications Commission "relaxed" some of their rules regarding television for children. Actually it was more like they overdosed them on valium: Everything from G.I. Joe to Huckleberry Hound was justified as educational programming. The Reaganauts never met an animated gun (or real one for that matter) they didn't like.

After years of organizing, Peggy Charen and her watchdog organization Action for Children's Television (ACT) ensured passage of the Children's Television Act of 1990, which required strict definitions of "educational programming." But the regulators remained in the Bush White House, so the law's teeth were pulled.

What a difference an administration can make. President Bill Clinton and the "new" FCC have reimplanted incisors into the regulatory apparatus. Now Congress has scheduled hearings to review stations' compliance with the intent of the legislation.

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Sojourners Magazine June 1993
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