From: Subject: Date: April 21, 2005 3:53:51 PM CDT Hankblog: Nice network there. Shame if something happened to it.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Nice network there. Shame if something happened to it.

A great deal has been made in the left blogsphere about Ann Coulter's cover story on Time Magazine this week. Billmon at Whiskey Bar has an interesting theory on what might have motivated it.

When I was pissing on the chowderheads over at Time the other day for their infotainment treatment of Ann Coulter, I argued that the limo liberals at Time Warner were essentially offering protection money to the conservatives.

Something I read in the Wall Street Journal yesterday makes me suspect that statement might be more literally true than I originally thought:

Perhaps it is only fitting that broadcasters gathered here for their annual convention are obsessed with indecency.

Facing possibly higher fines and tougher enforcement over profanities or sexual content, members of the National Association of Broadcasters are wondering: What will Kevin Martin do?

Martin, of course, is the new FCC chairman -- compared to whom baby Powell was a flaming libertine with his mind squarely in the gutter. Since taking over, the new guy's been very vague (ominiously vague, from the NAB's point of view) about just how far he plans to take the New Censorship. But the industry clearly fears the worst.

So just what does this have to do with Time?

At first, I couldn't quite fit Time Warner into this hypothesis, since the company isn't all that big in broadcasting -- and, in fact, just upped its bet on cable distribution by buying Adelphia.

But of course it didn't take me too long to realize that if the broadcasters are scared of being left at a decency disadvantage, they're probably already lobbying to have the cable guys shackled and chained too. And so it turns out:

Broadcasters anticipate a move in Congress this year to raise fines for indecency. Some industry executives argue that if they can't stop that, they will at least try to persuade Congress to extend the rules to cable and satellite broadcasters who are now exempt. Senate and House leaders have signaled interest in extending indecency rules to cable and satellite providers, but there has been no agreement on timing for doing that.
Ah, now everything becomes clear. Anway, give the whole thing a once over if you're so inclined.