Now They Come for the Children

In a blog post today, Federal Communications Commissioner Michael O’Rielly suggested a reconsideration of “ineffective and burdensome requirements” that television broadcasters air minimal amounts of educational and informational programming for children. The following statement may be attributed to Benton Foundation Executive Director Adrianne B. Furniss:

Then they came for the children. In the past year, the Federal Communications Commission has been dismantling its Congressionally-mandated role to protect the public interest. The Republican majority’s regulatory “weed wacker” has knocked down online privacy, net neutrality, and other consumer protections. Now Commissioner O’Rielly proposes to eliminate one of television broadcasters’ last public interest obligations – a commitment to serve children with some programming that is primarily educational instead of commercial.

Commissioner O’Rielly’s proposal should be dead on arrival. It is unthinkable that the FCC would turn its back on children – and the law.

Benton, a non-profit, operating foundation, believes that communications policy—rooted in the values of access, equity, and diversity—has the power to deliver new opportunities and strengthen communities to bridge our divides.