Adam Thierer at PFF and The Center for Democracy & Technology's Sophia Cope got hold of a two-year-old transcript of a panel discussion at the National Lawyers Convention.
No.... Wait! Come back. This is actually interesting.
Included in the debate is a little ditty by FCC Chairman Martin who throws out the idea that parents might be liable for their kids consuming "indecent" material. How indecent? The conversation at that point was centered on satellite radio "shock jocks." And, previously, the parent liability issue is first raised by a "Morality in Media" rep who want to protect kids from HBO and Showtime.
Even if you assume that Martin's comment was made in the spirit of rhetorical legal debate (as I do), the suggestion is still note worthy enough.
In a free society, public officials should not act in loco parentis when parents have the power to make media decisions on their own. Raising children, and determining what they watch, play, read, listen to, or download, is a quintessential parental responsibility. We should leave it that way and keep the threat of criminal sanctions for poor parental judgment out of the discussion.
And Cope raises the ante...
(Martin) seems to imply that the government should have the authority to regulate content at any cost, regardless of how burdensome the government’s chosen method is on the right to freedom of speech. We should expect more responsible rhetoric from a public leader who has such immense power to affect a fundamental liberty.
Not to pile on here (seems pretty unnecessary), but it's trial balloons like these that make people get apoplectic about seemingly innocuous pieces of legislation that might allow the FCC to tip their toe into Internet content regulation.