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Sense or censorship?

February 19, 2008
“It is important for those in the industry to show some thought about who they are marketing some of these programs to.... I'm concerned about sex, but I'm also concerned [about] some of the violent slasher-horror films that come out.... I don't want my 6-year-old or 9-year-old seeing that trailer while she's watching 'American Idol'.''

So said Sen. Barack Obama in a speech in Hollywood. [see commentary here.

Regardless of your politics, it’s difficult to argue with his point.

You don’t offer lap dances at Applebee’s and you don’t show coming attractions for the next “Saw” movie at Chuck E. Cheese’s.

So why should sex-joke-heavy promos for snarky sitcoms air during “Deal or No Deal”? And I’m sure I’m not the only one uncomfortable when explicit erectile dysfunction ads, er, pop up  while you’re watching a Sunday afternoon football game with your kids (okay, people who know me know that I rarely watch a Sunday afternoon football game, but you get the, er, point).

As a parent, I can avoid turning the TV to “Sex in the City” or “The Sopranos.” But I have no way of knowing when such ads will appear. And I’m not sure a V-chip would either.

Whenever Hollywood producers bemoans the evils of censorship, I have trouble siding with them completely because I know that while they talk a high-minded anti-censorship, free-speech game, they steadfastly refuse to handle the selling of their material in a responsible way.

In short, for me it’s not irresponsible programming. It’s irresponsible marketing.

Your thoughts?
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