Rep. Bono Questions a la Carte Mandates

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Rep. Mary Bono (R-Calif.) circulated a letter to all House members Wednesday in which she questioned Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin’s campaign to force cable to sell channels one by one.

Bono -- who attached a Wall Street Journal editorial from Wednesday’s print edition that slammed government-mandated a la carte -- said that as a parent, she had the “responsibility to evaluate technologies available that allow me to determine what is seen in my home -- not the government’s.”

Bono -- who has one child in high school and a second in college -- is a member of the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, a panel with direct oversight of the FCC.

The Journal editorial discussed the FCC’s recent TV-violence study, which endorsed a la carte as a tool for parents who want to avoid paying for programming they deem excessively violent, indecent or both.

“The FCC’s inclusion of a la carte recommendations is especially troubling, and not merely because it would constitute an unwarranted attempt by the government to dictate a private-sector business model,” the Journal declared.

Echoing those views, Bono said: “Recent attempts by the FCC to advance an a la carte agenda in the name of our children need to be met with a high degree of skepticism.”

She added, “If the government is so worried about unwanted guests in American homes, my question is, ‘Who invited the FCC?’”

In 2004, 39 House members, including Bono, signed a letter asking the FCC to study excessively violent television programming and make a number of recommendations, including potential steps by Congress or the FCC.

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