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I'm going to be ill.

The government is refusing to caption Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie, apparently fearing that the deaf would fall prey to witchcraft if they viewed the classic sitcoms.

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Thanks to contentlove

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( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
w3woody
Feb. 8th, 2004 11:56 am (UTC)
Ah, the perfect example of what is generally known as "spin."

When you put aside the 400 billion dollar drug entitlement program and increased defense and intelligence spending to support the war on terror and rebuilding capability gutted during the "peace dividend" military cutbacks of the 90's, government overall has been growing in spending around 1%-ish. And what spending increases have taken place under the Senator Kennedy-authored education bill has taken place with cutbacks on other programs.

Closed captioning is, by the way, something that most people consider a "government porkbarrel" project--meaning that there is no economic reason why the networks (such as Nickelodeon, the primary benefactor of the closed captioning money) cannot finance the work themselves--but they don't, because the governemtn gives them a subsidy to do the work instead.

We readily complain about Halliburten eating at the government trough, but we don't think twice about Nickelodeon eating at the same trough.

The most amazing part is that because Nickelodeon and other networks are finding the Closed Captioning trough drying up--and are unwilling to finance this activity out of their own pockets (because they're used to the government giving them millions of free money which they can then subcontract the work to and pocket a "transaction fee"), it's spun as "censorship."

Censorship is not when the government tightens back on forking over millions of pork barrel money to entertainment companies. Censorship is when the government (or those same, currently pissed off, entertainment companies) decide to take something off the air because it's considered "unpalitable" to the American public.

No, this is a bunch of people fighting over the size of the pork barrel they get to eat from.
jnanacandra
Feb. 8th, 2004 12:48 pm (UTC)
Hm, I hadn't thought about the subsidy issue. But the problem I see is more the arbitrariness of which shows they're deciding to cut back, and their refusal to say what their criteria are.

I did find it interesting that in the article was mentioned a requirement for shows to be of "educational, news or informational" value for the government to sponsor captioning. That in itself sounds okay - but then why do the Andy Hardy movies qualify, but I Dream of Jeannie doesn't?

And, I admit, it's a button-pushing issue with me, because I happen to like it when shows are captioned. And I'd rather the government pull all support for captioning than say what shows are good enough for me to be able to watch.
contentlove
Feb. 8th, 2004 01:07 pm (UTC)
Re:
That's more or less how I parse the point. Whether or not the government ought to pay for close captioning at all is a good question. Moreover, the description ""educational, news or informational" is ambiguous enough that you could easily make a case for all/no fictional serialized entertainments to be included.

To me, the interesting part is:

a) what are the filtering criteria being used
b) who decides that
c) why things recently changed
shoebox_bird
Feb. 8th, 2004 04:41 pm (UTC)
Re:
I'm unclear why the Department of Education was ever funding closed captioning of non-educational programs in the first place. The government shouldn't be in the business of paying for closed captioning for non publically-funded programs.

However, the government should be in the business of making laws to ensure accessibility. And, according to the FCC's website on closed captioning laws, it is:
All English language programming prepared or formatted for display on analog television and first shown on or after January 1, 1998, as well as programming prepared or formatted for display on digital television that was first published or exhibited after July 1, 2002 ("digital programming"), is considered "New Programming," and must be captioned according to benchmarks set by the FCC. The following benchmarks establish how much "New Programming" must be captioned each calendar quarter:

January 1, 2000 to December 31, 2001: 450 hours of programming per channel per quarter
January 1, 2002 to December 31, 2003: 900 hours of programming per channel per quarter
January 1, 2004 to December 31, 2005: 1350 hours of programming per channel per quarter
January 1, 2006 and thereafter: 100% of all programming, with some exemptions
epiphany
Feb. 8th, 2004 01:21 pm (UTC)
Witchcraft
I was thinking of converting to devil worship until they covered up Barbara Eden's navel. Then I was considering fucking openly in the streets because I saw J.J.'s nipple.

But thank God the government is working 'round the clock to keep us all safe!

Whew! What a relief!

~ E.
w3woody
Feb. 8th, 2004 05:55 pm (UTC)
Re: Witchcraft
*shrug* You didn't want to be dealt in. What can I say?
stillraven
Feb. 8th, 2004 09:22 pm (UTC)
*tee hee hee*
Sitting here thinking about two hearing-impaired, little witches watching Better Than Chocolate with the subtitles on...
;)
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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