Trying to Silence the "Web Mob"

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  1. Adam's Apple
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    Whining about the “Web Mob”
    by L. Brent Bozell, Media Research Center
    June 22, 2006

    Academics like Stuart Shulman of the University of Pittsburgh have estimated that almost all electronic complaining to Washington comes in form letters – some of them, about 20 percent, with original comments appended. They say mass e-mail campaigns could possibly harm interest groups in their attempts to influence government, since many bureaucrats tend to ignore repetitive complaints.

    That has not been the case at the Federal Communications Commission, where mass e-mail complaints against sleazy TV have led to big fines and wailing and gnashing of teeth in Hollywood. The titillation industry can’t stand it when people speak up against their smarmy ways. Hollywood, its hired Washington guns, and fellow-traveling TV critics around the country are now claiming these protesters must not be real people, because doesn’t everybody like a heaping helping of televised sex, violence, and profanity after dinner every night?

    CBS has filed a motion with the FCC that its fines over CBS’s teen-orgy scene on “Without A Trace” should be thrown out because “complaints about the show did not come from real people,” as the Hollywood Reporter explained it. Many of the thousands of complaints came through the website of the Parents Television Council. These people aren’t “real”? Are they phantoms? Aliens from outer space?

    What CBS means is that “mass e-mail campaigns” should not be allowed to influence a federal agency, especially since they complain that only two e-mails mentioned they actually watched the episode of “Without A Trace.” In an editorial, Broadcasting & Cable magazine – which regularly prints “news” stories indistinguishable from its editorials -- fulminated that the FCC should force complainants to swear in an affidavit, cross their hearts and hope to die, that they have viewed the show they find offensive when it originally aired on a TV station. “That would allow the FCC to decide cases on rules, not in reaction to Web-mob pressure. We also believe it would expose the indecency crusade for the sham it truly is,” they wrote.

    for full article:
    http://www.mrc.org/BozellColumns/entertainmentcolumn/2006/col20060622.asp
     

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