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NEWS
August 13, 1995
Not to be outdone by efforts in the Senate and White House to politely pressure television makers to install a chip in all new sets to screen out violent shows -- the so-called "V-chip" -- the House before its recess voted to make such circuitry mandatory. It is a glib, bureaucratic response that probably won't work. The problem it attempts to solve owes as much to changing family patterns and parenting styles as to what's on the tube.The V-chip is an idea that resonates strongly with those who believe TV violence desensitizes children to the real thing.
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BUSINESS
By MIKE HIMOWITZ and MIKE HIMOWITZ,SUN COLUMNIST | August 10, 2006
A few weeks ago, a friend had a cable jack installed in his bedroom, then slowly went bananas trying to get his TV to work properly. No matter what he tried, it would always skip some channels. Naturally, he blamed the cable company, which responded by dispatching a young technician to check out the signal and the new wall jack. Nothing wrong with either one. Then the lad had an inspiration: He pressed the setup button on the remote control, inspected an on-screen menu and pronounced the problem solved.
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FEATURES
By DAVE BARRY'S | March 24, 1996
The V-chip. A helpful tool for concerned parents? A threat to the First Amendment? An excuse for sentences without verbs?These are some of the questions raised by the recently passed federal law that will require new television sets to contain a little computer thing called a V-chip (the "V" stands for "Some word that begins with 'V' ").I bet I know what your reaction was when you heard about the V-chip. You said: "If the government is going to force TV manufacturers to do something, why not force them to get rid of all those confusing controls and go back to having just two big, easy-to-operate knobs, one for the volume and one for the channel, the way it was on the icebox-sized, black-and-white RCA Victor TV that my family had when I was a boy growing up in the 1950s in Armonk, N.Y., watching Ed Sullivan present accordion-playing bears?"
BUSINESS
By MIKE HIMOWITZ | December 22, 2005
If you watch cable TV, during the next few months, you'll get a notice from your cable company offering a new, "family-friendly" package of channels at a fixed price. By that, the industry means channels that deliver less sex, violence and foul language than today's standard channel bundles. There's nothing wrong with this - in fact, it's a great idea. The problem: Most parents don't really need it. And they ought to think twice before they subscribe to whatever new Pablum Network the cable companies create.
NEWS
By ANDREW RATNER | February 24, 1996
ONE OF THE more heated meetings of The Sun's editorial board in recent memory occurred a few weeks ago. The editorial cartoonist said he could hear the commotion from his studio way down the hall.The debate wasn't about the presidential primaries. This was weeks ago, before things got a little interesting. The stadiums? Nope, since most of the board couldn't understand why the state with the most successful baseball park in America wouldn't relish an attempt to strike gold again.Our argument was over the V-chip and ratings for television shows.
FEATURES
By Jane Hall and Jane Hall,LOS ANGELES TIMES SYNDICATE | February 7, 1996
The passage of a federal telecommunications bill mandating a v-chip in every new TV set presents the broadcast networks with a serious challenge to their public image.Television executives believe the measure violates their companies' free-speech rights and are considering challenging it in court. But they fear they could win the legal battle and lose the public-opinion war if they are seen as trying to stymie parents who want to protect their children from programs laden with sex and violence.
FEATURES
By David Zurawik and David Zurawik,Sun Television Critic | July 12, 1995
Los Angeles -- When Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole lashed out at the entertainment industry May 31 for producing films, songs and television shows that promote violence, many in Hollywood dismissed it as the political rabble- rousing of a presidential wannabe.But, today, as the Senate Commerce Committee begins hearings on television programming, it's clear cable and network executives are taking the growing national debate on media messages more seriously. Hollywood is listening to Washington, with some top executives even acknowledging the possibility of genuine reform in the shape of channel-blocking technology known as the V-chip.
BUSINESS
By MIKE HIMOWITZ and MIKE HIMOWITZ,SUN COLUMNIST | August 10, 2006
A few weeks ago, a friend had a cable jack installed in his bedroom, then slowly went bananas trying to get his TV to work properly. No matter what he tried, it would always skip some channels. Naturally, he blamed the cable company, which responded by dispatching a young technician to check out the signal and the new wall jack. Nothing wrong with either one. Then the lad had an inspiration: He pressed the setup button on the remote control, inspected an on-screen menu and pronounced the problem solved.
FEATURES
By MIKE LITTWIN | July 17, 1995
Here's what I don't think:I don't think violence on TV causes violence in the streets any more than I think laugh tracks cause humor to break out in the streets.But I do believe that parents should monitor what their children do with their time. And what many children do with their time is watch TV.Which is to say bad TV.I've been reading a lot recently about how we're enjoying a golden age of television. This premise apparently is based on the fact that, on any given night, you can watch prime-time drama based in hospitals or in police stations.
ENTERTAINMENT
By MARTHA WOODALL and MARTHA WOODALL,KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE | June 28, 1999
Parents are gaining a new tool to keep their children from viewing televised violence, sex and profanity.The device has been dubbed "the V-chip," and come Thursday, federal law says, half of the new televisions sold in the United States with screens 13 inches or larger must have one. All sets of that size must include them by Jan. 1.The first sets containing V-chips began arriving in stores this spring. Yet despite the heightened concern about the portrayal of violence in the media since the shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado, the introduction is being greeted by yawns.
ENTERTAINMENT
By MIKE HIMOWITZ | July 1, 2004
LIKE MOST First Amendment watchers, I was relieved this week when the Supreme Court once again blocked enforcement of a bad law with good intentions - the Child Online Protection Act. The 1998 legislation, which has been challenged since its inception and never enforced, would impose harsh fines and jail terms on Web site operators who allow minors access to material deemed "harmful" under "contemporary community standards." The law - Congress' second attempt to protect children from online porn via legislation - is vague, overly broad and would subject thousands of legitimate Web operations to malicious or frivolous prosecution, without diminishing the flow of porn from one of its major sources - overseas Web sites.
ENTERTAINMENT
By MARTHA WOODALL and MARTHA WOODALL,KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE | June 28, 1999
Parents are gaining a new tool to keep their children from viewing televised violence, sex and profanity.The device has been dubbed "the V-chip," and come Thursday, federal law says, half of the new televisions sold in the United States with screens 13 inches or larger must have one. All sets of that size must include them by Jan. 1.The first sets containing V-chips began arriving in stores this spring. Yet despite the heightened concern about the portrayal of violence in the media since the shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado, the introduction is being greeted by yawns.
FEATURES
By DAVE BARRY'S | March 24, 1996
The V-chip. A helpful tool for concerned parents? A threat to the First Amendment? An excuse for sentences without verbs?These are some of the questions raised by the recently passed federal law that will require new television sets to contain a little computer thing called a V-chip (the "V" stands for "Some word that begins with 'V' ").I bet I know what your reaction was when you heard about the V-chip. You said: "If the government is going to force TV manufacturers to do something, why not force them to get rid of all those confusing controls and go back to having just two big, easy-to-operate knobs, one for the volume and one for the channel, the way it was on the icebox-sized, black-and-white RCA Victor TV that my family had when I was a boy growing up in the 1950s in Armonk, N.Y., watching Ed Sullivan present accordion-playing bears?"
FEATURES
By Mike Littwin | March 1, 1996
We can finally rest easy. Our children -- our undereducated, violence-prone, MTV-addled progeny -- now face a bright and certain future.And we owe it all to the smiling TV executives and smiling politicians who met yesterday in an eventful and toothful White House photo-op.Before the cameras and microphones, before God and country, the TV boys said it was a new day. In this new day, which is promised to arrive by next January, the networks and cable stations will voluntarily (wink, wink) rate their programs for sex and violence in much the way that movies do.The politicians greeted the news as if they had just been handed the keys to the electoral college, and maybe they have.
NEWS
By ANDREW RATNER | February 24, 1996
ONE OF THE more heated meetings of The Sun's editorial board in recent memory occurred a few weeks ago. The editorial cartoonist said he could hear the commotion from his studio way down the hall.The debate wasn't about the presidential primaries. This was weeks ago, before things got a little interesting. The stadiums? Nope, since most of the board couldn't understand why the state with the most successful baseball park in America wouldn't relish an attempt to strike gold again.Our argument was over the V-chip and ratings for television shows.
FEATURES
By SUSAN REIMER | February 20, 1996
PRESIDENT CLINTON has signed sweeping, new telecommunications law that requires manufacturers to include in any new televisions a computer chip that will allow parents automatically to block out programs that have been rated for violence, sex or bad language.The four major networks, CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox, have begun talks and are rushing to establish that rating system before the government does it for them.And entertainment industry representatives will travel to the White House next week to be scolded by the president for their collective assault on our sensibilities.
FEATURES
By SUSAN REIMER | February 20, 1996
PRESIDENT CLINTON has signed sweeping, new telecommunications law that requires manufacturers to include in any new televisions a computer chip that will allow parents automatically to block out programs that have been rated for violence, sex or bad language.The four major networks, CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox, have begun talks and are rushing to establish that rating system before the government does it for them.And entertainment industry representatives will travel to the White House next week to be scolded by the president for their collective assault on our sensibilities.
FEATURES
By Los Angeles Times | October 21, 1993
Ruth Taggart worried that her children, Christian, 12, and Justina, 16, watched too much television.So last spring the Torrance, Calif., single parent bought TV Allowance, a device resembling a desktop calculator and costing about $100, that limits TV time to nine hours a week for each child.Parents preset the machine, giving each child an access number and entering the number of hours of TV watching allowed. When time's up, the child's number won't turn on the set. The parent has an override code number.
FEATURES
By Newsday | February 17, 1996
The Fox network -- in what appeared to be a pre-emptive strike against ABC, CBS and NBC -- became the first major television network to embrace a ratings system for violence and sex.In a statement Thursday, Fox Chairman Rupert Murdoch (above) said, "We have decided to implement the MPAA-like [Motion Picture Association of America] rating system for the TV programs on Fox."The three other major networks also indicated that they will consider adopting a rating system for the so-called V-chip that will alert viewers to whether TV shows contain explicit violence or sex.Until this week, the networks had vowed to fight any imposed ratings system, arguing that it violates their First Amendment rights.
FEATURES
By Jane Hall and Jane Hall,LOS ANGELES TIMES SYNDICATE | February 7, 1996
The passage of a federal telecommunications bill mandating a v-chip in every new TV set presents the broadcast networks with a serious challenge to their public image.Television executives believe the measure violates their companies' free-speech rights and are considering challenging it in court. But they fear they could win the legal battle and lose the public-opinion war if they are seen as trying to stymie parents who want to protect their children from programs laden with sex and violence.
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