Policy

Bush Misspoke on Cable Indecency

4/15/2005 9:20 AM Eastern

President Bush misspoke Thursday when he told a group of newspaper editors that he endorsed indecency standards for cable and satellite programming, a White House spokeswoman said Friday.

“All we’re saying is that he misspoke,” White House spokeswoman Jeanie Mamo said.

After addressing the American Society of Newspaper Editors convention, an event carried live on C-SPAN 3, Bush took a few questions from the audience.

Asked specifically whether he supported the extension of indecency regulations to pay TV providers, Bush replied, “Yeah, I’m for that. I think there ought to be a standard.”

Returning to a point he has made before, Bush added that parents have a responsibility to ensure that their children do not view inappropriate content.

“The ultimate responsibility in a consumer-driven economy is for people to say, ‘I’m not going to watch it,’ and turn the knob off,” Bush said.

Although Bush’s remarks appeared to endorse indecency regulation of pay TV services, he was not specific about any particular type of regulation. Radio and TV stations, for example, are banned from airing indecent content between 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Some favor forcing cable to sell channels a la carte or to put racy content on separate tiers.

Mamo said Bush had intended to reiterate support for legislation that would raise fines for broadcast-indecency violations. Under a House bill passed in February, maximum fines would rise from $32,500 per offense to $500,000.

“President Bush was merely expressing his support for legislation that passed the House … and that calls for increasing fines on broadcasters that violate indecency limits, but it did not address cable and satellite television,” Mamo said.

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