Rockefeller Laments TV: “Worst State I’ve Ever Seen It”

The Democrats are in control of Congress, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the the feds are going to be any less lenient when it comes to broadcast indecency.

In fact, following a Senate grilling of FCC chairman Kevin Martin today, you’d think the networks should get ready for a big long chill.

At a Senate Commerce Committee hearing, Variety’s William Triplett reports that Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) lamented that “junk, sex, scandal” was the majority of what aired on TV now. “Commercial television is in the worst state I have ever seen it,” he said.

Martin, also a vocal critic of sexual and violent content on TV, nodded approvingly and seemed to even welcome Rockfeller’s question of whether the industry’s current attempt to regulate content was working.

“No,” Martin said emphatically. Rockefeller is the author of a bill that would all the FCC to regulate violent content as well as indecency.

But Rockefeller criticized the FCC when he said that the commission had “abandoned its core responsiblity” by insisting on public interest requirements during TV stations’ license renewal process.

Martin was hesitant to endorse that viewpoint.

Things got a bit rougher for Martin when he was questioned by other senators about other issues, like a growing “digital divide” in which upper-income homes benefit more from the explosion of new digital offerings than poorer, rural homes.

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