What 1st Amendment? Well, I suppose, if the 14th and 7th can be relegated to the dustbin of history, why not the 1st? Read the Kaiser Family Foundation report on violence and sex in the mass media on the plane on the way home from Cable-Tec Expo… yet another reason why civics should be mandatory in grade, middle and high school… not to mention college. The report, based on a survey conducted last October of 1,008 randomly chosen parents of children aged 2 to 17 (+/- 4 %) found that two-thirds were “very concerned” about sex and violence in the mass media. At the same time, only one in five “conceded they could do a better job” of monitoring their kids. And that same two-thirds level (not necessarily the exact same two-thirds) of respondents would “support new limits on television content.” Add to that, about a year after the attacks of 9/11, a CBS poll that found “49% of Americans think the 1st Amendment goes too far” and would support a Constitutional Amendment to restrict it. Random Notes

  • “Trash or Slash”? That’s what the Wall Street Journal editors are calling the choice between News Corp and GE/Pearson… methinks they’re all off base. I’d bet Rupert Murdoch would significantly expand and invest in Dow Jones to realize its inherent potential… as a global financial news service instead of a dividend check (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Rupert should bid for the Financial Times and the 50% of The Economist that Pearson owns, too.
  • Wild Animals! Just back from Ecuador… Upper Amazon triple-canopy jungles (hot, hot and humid-humid) and the Galapagos Islands and the rather pleasant city of Quito. Galapagos animals, all without natural predators, are more than just accessible–the sea lions are playful… right in your snorkel mask… Got a nice remembrance when I got back to the office: the National Geographic Channel presentation of the Galapagos along with a book with better pix than I ever took (notwithstanding 5bln tries). At the opposite extreme, paddling through swampy jungles with truly wild animals in the Amazon was blind luck catching a large group of Capuchin monkeys mount a defensive counterattack on a group of Howler monkeys invading the wrong set of tree limbs. Much organized screeching and fang bearing.
  • Telco Growth: Verizon’s Ivan Seidenberg says telephone companies are the new “innovators.” Says he’s got about a half million video subs. Nice to see he’s playing catch-up to cable. And AT&T says it is making substantial progress with U-Verse. Not so hard when you can cherry-pick. Amazing how the culture of politics has shifted enough to allow for redlining in reverse by two of the biggest companies in the world. That’s why I think cable should support–albeit perhaps sub rosa–the filing last week by a consortium of non- profits and local groups to invalidate the FCC’s video franchising ruling.
  • Kudos: To our friend Sally Kinsman… techie extraordinaire! Also to Tom Gorman and Ron Brunt… all recognized by their peers at Cable-Tec Expo last week.
  • “Open Cable”… NOT “OCAP”! It took a policy wonk–NCTA’s Kyle McSlarrow–to re-teach cable an old lesson… don’t label everything and turn it into an acronym. Cable has a long history of labeling services instead of naming them. Be clear. Be more promotional. Be creative. Maybe he should be speaking at CTAM’s Summit, too.

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BET picked up legal thriller “Sacrifice.” The series is based on the movie of the same name, which launched on BET+ in December as the service’s first original film. — HBO renewed “Real Time With Bill

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