Apparently, deaf people need to be protected from some TV shows

As someone who voted for Bush in the last election, I keep looking for reasons to vote for him again in the upcoming November festivities. Instead, I keep finding reasons not to.

[sub]And I’m not enamored of any of the Democratic candidates, either, so I may end up not voting at all this year.[/sub]

But this news about the U.S. Department of Education’s new stance on closed captioning disturbs me tremendously. Never mind that hearing people will still be able to enjoy the programs that are on the “disapproved list”, we just got to make sure that the millions of deaf children and adults can’t have any access to it.

As someone who is deaf and quite reliant upon closed captioning for the enjoyment of TV shows, I’m stunned that they would do this. I’m hoping that there is more to this story, that it isn’t really as bad as it seems, but after several sessions of googling to find more information, it appears that this is really going to happen.

Note to the U.S. Department of Education: your impending policy on this is just fucked up.

I found a couple of entries on the “approved” list rather telling. The federal gummint is willing to caption a show about astrology. They’re also willing to drop the dough to caption shows aimed squarely at pre-literate two-year-olds. (Oobi and Miffy and Friends are both pre-school shows on Noggin.)

Someone had good lobbyists.


How was it decided in the past which shows would get closed captioning?

Wait a minute.

Law and Order is close-captioned. I know because I switch it on our tv when Ivylad is on the phone and a bit loud, or the kids are cleaning up in the kitchen and banging dishes around.

I work in broadcasting, and we are required by the FCC to provide so many hours a year in close-captioned programming. By 2006, I think, all of our programming must be close-captioned.

It sounds like the US Dept of Education is denying federal grants to close-caption certain programs. That does not mean the syndicators cannot go out and pay transcribers to close caption it themselves.

I would have a problem with my tax dollars going to close captioning programs. My employer pays[ someone to do it, so these people can too.

How does closed-captioning actually work? Is the technology such that the networks can’t just add it themselves? How much would that cost them? Would they get in trouble from the government?

How does closed-captioning actually work?



Welll…certainly screwed that up.

Take Two

I’m no expert in closed-captioning law, but I think this is just a list of what the gummit is going to pay to have CCed. Given limited resources, obviously there have to be some choices made.

There’s quite a few sitcoms on the disapproved list, for example, and I can’t find one comedy show (that is not targeting toward children) on the approved list. But the Simpsons has captions, so I guess Fox just gets a commercial sponsor to pay for it.

This is pretty weak.

But I hope you vote this November. I really hope you vote against Bush, too. :slight_smile:

TBH, I think the article’s a little overwrought, verging on completely paranoid. I don’t see why it should be the Department of Education’s responsibility to subsidise Law and Order or Power Rangers subtitles. Those programs couldn’t remotely be described as educational. It’s not censorship, just a reasonable-sounding approach to the department’s funding remit. From this perspective, while the astrology show doesn’t make much sense, the pre-school shows certainly do, even if not all the kids will be able to read. If you look at the whole lists, while it’s certainly possible to disagree with individual choices, it couldn’t be more clear that the division is on educational lines; “censorship” simply doesn’t come in to it.

If you think subtitles need to be subsidised, fine (I don’t know enough about their prevalence without funding to have an opinion), but don’t whack the education department’s budget with the burden. That money is supposed to be teaching children, not entertaining adults.