President Bush: Parents Are "First Line Of Responsibility" For Indecency
January 28, 2005
It seems that President Bush and Howard Stern have something in common -- both feel the first line of defense for protecting against indecent material reaching children starts with good parenting.
In an interview with C-SPAN President/CEO Brian Lamb that will air this Sunday night (8 p.m. & 11 p.m. EST) from the Map Room of the White House, President Bush states that "parents' first responsibility is to pay attention to what their children listen to, whether it be rock songs, movies or TV shows."
"As a free speech advocate, I often told parents who were complaining about content, you're the first line of responsibility," said the President. "They put an off button on the TV for a reason. Turn it off."
As for regulating content that goes over the public airwaves, the President stated, "I do think though that government can, at times, not censor, but call to account, programming that gets over the line. The problem, of course, is the definition of 'over the line.'" He also added that he would ask of an FCC chairman to "Please tell me where the line is, and make sure you protect the capacity of people to speak freely in our society, but be willing to, if things go too far, call them to account."
President Bush added that he thought outgoing FCC Chairman Michael Powell "did a good job of balancing that."
When Lamb referred to the bill that has been introduced by Michigan Representative Fred Upton and would allow for fines of up to $500,000 per indecency violation, the President joked that "they're going to collect a lot of money on some of these TV shows." President Bush then referred to a statement made by Justice Potter Stewart in the 1964 Supreme Court case of Jacobellis v. Ohio, where the justice explained his views of pornography by saying, "I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it..."
After the reference, President Bush then added, "We are a great society because we are a free society, but on the other hand, it is very important for there to be limits. Limits to what parents have to explain to their children. Never-the-less, parents first responsibility is to pay attention to what their children listen to, whether it be rock songs, movies or TV shows."