Today's Blogs

Save the Children

Bloggers dis the FCC’s campaign against violence on TV, debate Joe Lieberman’s stay-the-course op-ed, and wonder what’s next for Rosie O’Donnell.

Save the children: The FCC submitted a report to Congress Wednesday recommending that TV programs featuring “excessive violence” be restricted to late evenings, arguing that violent television has a harmful effect on children. The report also recommends that cable companies offer channels “a la carte,” so that parents can pick and choose what to watch. Bloggers wonder why the FCC thinks it’s a better parent than you.

At The Stuff of Life, libertarian “Lyric” calls the report “a slap in the face of every American parent” because the new restrictions would define violence for viewers: “Just as any laws governing obscenity and pornography would have to define the nature of obscenity and pornography and thus be a subjective value judgment so would any law defining what violence is. … Moral judgments are the domain of the people.” At The Technology Liberation Front, Adam Thierer demonstrates how it is impossible to define violence: For example, “when the agency talks about ‘whether the violence is realistic’ as part of the standard, which way do they mean? If the violence is more realistic, is that good or bad? I ask that question because I sometimes hear some media critics bemoaning the fact that fantasy or animated violence doesn’t portray the actual consequences of violence.”

Meanwhile, online marketing consultant Eric at Pardon My French notes the difficulty of regulating violent images during wartime: “[T]ry watching TV during the day and note which programming is the most violent.  It isn’t 24, wrestling, Woody Woodpecker cartoons, Battlestar Galactica.  Nope - the most violent shows on TV are news programs.” John Cole at Balloon Juice wipes his brow mockingly: “I guess that means reports of our impending victory in Iraq will have to be aired after David Letterman.”

Elaine Liner at mediaVillage isn’t buying the FCC’s violent-TV-breeds-violent-behavior argument: “[T]he only studies that have found any ties between TV violence and violent behavior also show that any direct corollary between viewer and content depends on the psychological profile of the viewer. That is, violent behavior isn’t caused by watching TV–but can be exacerbated by it. Like, the little kids who see cartoon karate kicks and try them out on each other with injurious results.” Nebuchadnezzar at Woolly Days surveys a few recent studies on children and television violence.

And Islander7, commenting at the conservative Free Republic, imagines a dystopian future in which “Jack Bauer will say ‘dang it!’ and instead of firing his weapon will simply make ‘Pow Pow’ noises.”

Read more about violence and the FCC.

Declaration of independence: In a Washington Post op-ed today, Sen. Joe Lieberman criticizes Congress for setting timetables for withdrawal from Iraq. “Whether we like it or not, al-Qaeda views the Iraqi capital as a central front of its war against us,” he argues. “… The challenge before us, then, is whether we respond to al-Qaeda’s barbarism by running away, as it hopes we do … or whether we stand and fight.”

Nevada-based progressive Desert Beacon disputes Lieberman’s “premise that it is Al Qaeda that is the root cause of the sectarian violence. While it certainly appears that the terrorist organization has abetted, and taken advantage of, the volatile situation for its own purposes, to think that 10% to 12% of the armed factions in Iraq are responsible for 100% of the problem ignores 88% of those involved – the Kurds, the Shi’a nationalists, and the Sunnis.”

Liberal Ezra Klein compares today’s op-ed to others Lieberman his written over the past few years, noting the “increasingly anachronistic tune”: “Every few months, Lieberman pops up to identify this – this day, this hour, this moment – as the turning point in Iraq and warn that withdrawal will impede the improvements. Then the country descends even deeper into civil war, and he picks a new instant when everything is on the upswing and only American will stands in democracy’s way.”

Lieberman also spoke today before the Senate, arguing that withdrawal makes neither moral nor strategic sense. Conservative Ed Morrissey at Captain’s Quarters wonders whether Lieberman is “warning Harry Reid and the rest of the caucus that he’s about ready to leave. That would put the Democrats in the minority and the Republicans in the majority, effectively ‘firing’ Reid.” At Hot Air, conservative AllahPundit doubts it: “He won’t flip. Coming from a state as blue as Connecticut, it’d make his prospects for reelection in 2012 exceedingly dim. Only if he’s approaching this issue the way McCain is, as something worth gambling his political future on, would he make a move like that.” Kathryn Jean Lopez at National Review’s The Tank posts the speech in full.

Read more about Lieberman’s op-ed.

Rear View: Rosie O’Donnell will be leavingThe View in June. The New York Post blames tensions between Rosie and co-host Barbara Walters. Bloggers wonder what’s next.

Michelle Collins at VH1’s Best Week Ever blog welcomes news that Rosie could take a role in Les Miserables: “While we’ve always thought Rosie would make a fantastic Jean Valjean, she would instead be vying for the role of Madame Thenardier, the overweight, surly wife of the Innkeeper, or, dare we say… Master of the House? … SHE WAS BORN FOR THE PART. Simply amazing. Now how the hell do we talk Donald Trump into play the Innkeeper?”

At her MSN TV blog, Kim predicts a solo Rosie show wouldn’t have the same appeal: “If she’s given a show where she can basically sit around and rant, unchecked, I think even the people who like her are going to find her uber-annoying.” Entertainment blog I Watch Stuff offers advice: “To continue hearing her annoying, often insane ramblings, fans will be forced to decode the cryptic messages of her stupid blog. Or, for an experience more true to The View, try buying a bird or bat and training it to screech at you for an hour each morning.”

Read more about Rosie’s departure.