- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 3, 2007

Ratings legacy

“Jack Valenti, the long-reigning king of the Hollywood lobbyists, died [April 26] nearly four decades after he fathered the Motion Picture Association of America’s movie rating system. It is thanks to Valenti that compact codes like ‘PG’ and ‘NC-17’ define who is allowed to watch a film in a theater and who must wait ‘til he’s 18 or the picture comes out on video, whichever happens first.

“The ratings … are imposed by a shadowy central authority with its own peculiar prejudices. …

“The MPAA has a lot of influence, but it can’t really block an unrated film from theaters. It has become much less difficult, though hardly painless, to put out a movie without its stamp of approval, and even the big studios are happy to avoid their own rules when it comes time to call in those theatrical prints and issue an uncensored director’s cut on DVD. But even as the system grows weaker, battered by the less-regulated alternatives of the Internet and home video, the drive to control what people can say and hear continues unabated”

— Jesse Walker, writing on “Censors for Free Speech,” Tuesday in Reason Online at www.reason.com

Rare criticism

“It is rare for a mainstream media journalist to openly criticize the media’s coverage of a particular issue. But that is exactly what CNN’s Lou Dobbs did on Tuesday’s ‘American Morning.’ In an interview with co-host Kiran Chetry, Dobbs blasted the media’s coverage of illegal immigration, saying ‘They’re selling an agenda. And they’re not applying critical judgment. And critical judgment and skepticism is our job as journalists. We’re talking about comprehensive immigration legislation as reform. We’re using the word “reform” as if it were true. There’s no skepticism.’

“Dobbs’s interview was part of ‘American Morning’s‘ coverage of pro-illegal immigration rallies on May Day, the traditional socialist workers’ holiday. When asked if any progress had been made in the past year concerning illegal immigration, Dobbs said that ‘we’re making, at the margin, progress, but it’s at the margin,’ and that there was some better enforcement at the border. He then criticized one of the congressional immigration reform proposals, the Flake-Gutierrez immigration bill, calling it ‘an absurdity.’ ”

— Matthew Balan, writing on “Lou Dobbs Attacks Media Coverage of Illegal Immigration,” Tuesday at NewsBusters.org

‘Real stupid’

“I think Don Imus bowing down to Al Sharpton is the perfect example of just how powerful identity politics have become.

“No doubt, what Imus said was deplorable. But is it any worse than what hundreds of rappers say day in and day out in their music? Not even close. Worse still: Does firing Imus do anything to address the near fatherless generation of black children — 70 percent of them are growing up in out-of-wedlock homes? No. Does it address the racial gap in learning between black and Latino children and their white and Asian counterparts? No.

“Sharpton and Jesse Jackson don’t want to talk about these things, though. Because that would require moral courage to hold people accountable for their actions. So the race-baiters pound away at Imus while turning a blind eye to the rappers, the breakdown of the two-parent family, and public education crumbling under the weight of liberal teacher’s unions. That’s not keepin’ it real. That’s keeping it real stupid.”

— Angela McGlowan, interviewed by Kathryn Jean Lopez, Wednesday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

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