Watts (chipotle) wrote,

Keeping the deaf safe from "Bewitched"

The National Association of the Deaf has a list of shows denied for closed captioning by the U.S. Department of Education, as mentioned on Neil Gaiman's weblog (and on Cory Doctorow's entertaining Boing Boing Blog). You'll be gratified to know that programs which are suddenly inappropriate for captioning include "Law and Order," "Pokemon," "The Simpsons," "Behind the Music" and, just to throw in a little ominousness into the ludicrous mix, a series of documentaries on Hollywood's treatment of politics and history.

Did the rules change? Sort of. Now there's a secret five-person panel who gets to make these decisions, apparently. And even better, the five people on the panel didn't know they were on a panel and didn't know that their views would be used for this purpose. The panel never convened and members were contacted individually.

This isn't a matter of government simply deciding that it wasn't their responsibility to pay for closed captioning in the first place--that'd at least be a consistent decision. And while I've seen commentary that casts this as social/political conservatives locking out dissenting viewpoints, the list of approved shows pretty definitively punctures that--a quick scan shows PBS's "Front Line", the "Story of Evolution" series, and Pacifica/FSTV's "Democracy Now." (Listen to that show for a week to hear what liberal media actually sounds like. Dan Rather will, in comparison, sound like Bill O'Reilly.) If anyone sees a pattern here, I'm sure curious as to what it is.

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