Call It The V For Victory Chip
BUSINESS WEEK's contribution to the public dialogue concerning TV ratings and the V-chip was misleading ("TV ratings: How politics undermined parents," News: Analysis & Commentary, Dec. 30). I understand the news value of finding a new angle on an old story, but in this case the new angle was askew.
The fact is that if government had not intervened in this matter, there would be no national debate over a ratings system and no reasonable expectation of making the V-chip widely available in all but the smallest TV sets. A nasty dispute between the broadcasters and the TV set manufacturers had killed this important consumer feature in 1993. Only Congress, through passing the V-chip law, broke the industry stalemate and revived this technological blocking device for parents.
Your article did accurately report that the age-based ratings favored by the TV industry are not what parents want or need. The industry proposal is now subject to public comment at the Federal Communications Commission. Every parent who is concerned about the ratings should make his or her feelings known to the commission. But it is clear that if we had waited for the TV industry to provide millions of parents with the ability to block out unwanted programming, we would still be waiting.
Edward J. Markey
U.S. House of Representatives