Mute House measure on too-loud television

Unemployment still is hovering over 10 percent in the United States. The country remains roiled over how to resolve the issues of high health care costs. Then there is the small matter of a war in Afghanistan, to say nothing of making sure hard-fought gains in Iraq aren’t lost.

What better time, then, for Congress to deal with whether commercials are played too loudly on television?

And what better reasoning than that offered by Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., who has introduced legislation to prevent blaring commercials on the tube?

“I not only dive for the mute button, but I end up having to close my windows so that the blast doesn’t affect my neighbors,” Eshoo said of her measure, H.R. 1048. “I live on a cul-de-sac and so the sound resonates.”

Rep. Eshoo’s faux populism fails the sniff test. She resides in posh Palo Alto., Calif. We’re reasonably certain that the neighbors have recently been introduced to that new television thingy and the Eshoo family isn’t the first one on the block to have it, so the embarrassment quotient of the loud commercial isn’t quite what one might imagine. One suspects the same commercial is playing in the surrounding houses.

One thing is certain. If Rep. Eshoo were reading the newspaper instead of being glued to the tube, there would be no need to dive for the mute.

Still, television is part of the real world, in Palo Alto and elsewhere, and we recognize that complaints about loud television commercials constitute a large portion of complaints to the Federal Communications Commission.

It is for these very administrative matters that we have a Federal Communications Commission.

It would be far better to direct the commission to deal with the minutiae of matters such as whether commercials are too loud. At least it would keep the panel occupied with matters more appropriate to its function and divert it from silliness such as appointing itself the moral overlord of the broadcast world, levying fines for “wardrobe malfunctions” and jokes it deems questionable.

The remote comes with an “off” button as well as one for mute and perhaps both are best left to people to use as they see fit, in Palo Alto and elsewhere.


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