Have you ever sat down on a Wednesday night with a hot buttery bowl of popcorn and a cold soda to watch your favorite movie in its television debut? Watching closely with anticipation you prepare yourself for the great action and drama that captured your imagination when you originally saw it in the theater, only to find that every swear word and potentially offending scene has been dubbed over or removed. Don’t you love it when badly mimicked mouth movements and the extraction of entire scenes have replaced all of the original thrill and suspense? Of courseeveryone does, don’t they? Seriously thoughwhy does the government find it necessary to force television stations to edit and censor all of the programs that are aired? This editing and censoring may have been based on well-grounded ideas and morals, but it has come to the point where it is becoming ridiculous.
The government interferes with public televisions broadcasts, but doesn’t bother regulating magazine or book publications. Why is this you ask? Good questionone that should be answered, but can never seem to be. The United States government claims that the filtering of public broadcasts is necessary to insure that programming remains educational and informational for the public. If television was only shown in schools and other educational facilities, censoring and editing could be completely justified. There really is no reason for programming in America’s schools to be anything but educational. This, however, is not the case. Television broadcasts are received nationwide, not only in schools, but in homes and businesses as well. When someone is relaxing in their private home, they should be able to watch whatever they please. There is absolutely no reason that someone’s personal tastes should be hindered or restricted by the government. This not only violates the first amendment rights of producers and directors, but also the first amendment rights of the viewers.
The first amendment guarantees freedom of speech to all free Americans. While this “freedom of speech” can be left open for interpretation, it definitely allows for the freedom of an individual to express themselves in the arts, and the freedom for an individual to watch, read or listen to these performances. Freedom of speech should definitely be limited if the actions or words of someone are physically or mentally abusive towards another. There is no logical argument that anyone can use to claim that swear words, violence and sex, when portrayed on television, is abusive towards anyone. These elements are most often not directed towards any specific person or group of people, and if they are, the offended parties have the option of changing the channel or turning off the TV. No one is forcing them to watch it. People watch television under their own free will, and just because some find the content offensive, does not justify depriving the rest of the population from viewing unedited programs.
There could be some validity to the arguments of the Federal Government regarding censorship of the media if, and only if, they were even somewhat consistent with their laws and regulations. If they’re going to censor television, why don’t they censor all of television? Does it seem right that in order to watch unedited programs and movies, you must pay an additional fee of thirty dollars per month to subscribe to the premium channels? That is basically saying that it is o.k. for anyone to view uncensored material as long as they can afford to pay a small fee. So now the situation shifts from no one being able to view unedited programs, to those who are willing to pay a nominal fee being able to view raw material. The government should never expect people to agree with the censorship of media, especially when they fail to even be consistent about it.
The main reason for censorship in television is to aid in sheltering the youth of America from possibly corruptive influences acquired from movies and programs. It is definitely in good intention for the government to try to protect the youth from violent and disrespectful behaviors, but the larger adult population should not be restricted in the same way. It should be up to the parents of these children to monitor what their children watch. It is time for the parents to stop blaming the artists for their free expressions, and to start blaming themselves for their lack of responsibility in raising their children. Parents in this day and age seem to be too busy to take time to sit down with their children to observe what they’re watching. It is time for parents to stop expecting the government to baby-sit their children. If they won’t take the time to investigate the content of their children’s favorite shows, then they have no right to complain about lack of censorship in television. It is time for the majority of people to stop being punished for the lack of responsibility that some parents show in raising their children.
It doesn’t just stop with television though. Have you ever been flipping through the radio stations, and heard your favorite song? Of course you stop to listen to it, only to find that they have blurred out every possibly offensive and suggestive word. But why is it that some radio stations have analyzed and edited every word of every song, yet others play the original, unedited versions of songs? Once again, inconsistency in the system. It is very hard to justify censorship when it is questionable from one instance to the next. Musicians put those words and phrases in their songs for a reason – so they can be heard. It just seems so unfair that unless you buy the album, you can’t hear the original lyrics, the way they were intended to be heard.
It seems like a recurring situation in that you can view or listen to uncensored material if you can pay for it. That is basically saying that it’s not about morals, it’s about money. That fact in itself is promoting bad ethics. Another problem that may not be so obvious to U.S. citizens is that the government has such a chokehold on the media that they can control what flows in and out of it. That gives them an amazing ability to cover up their own dirty actions.
The government regulates what we take in to try to keep us in good behavior, while they secretly cover up the innumerable amount of immoral and illegal activities of their own. Regulating what people can and can’t see strikingly resembles a dictatorship. It seems like a “Do as I say, not as I do” scenario when it comes to the behavior of the government. Citizens should have the right to know about all the activities of their own government. After all, it was the citizens who put them in office. If people give their trust to individuals to run our country, then they should be aware of exactly how those individuals are running our country.
It is ironic that the government censors the media to try to maintain a moral society, while at the same time; they use censorship to cover up and withhold all of their own immoral acts. Many of the actions of America’s government are far worse than anything they try to shelter the people from.