Printed in the Herald-Times, March 16, 1998
To the editor:
Regarding Mike Leonard's March 10 column, I believe he has completely missed the point of why Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., and Sen. Lieberman, D-Conn., wish to remove federal funding for the closed-captioning of the Jerry Springer program.
Despite Leonard's claims, removing federal funding for the closed-captioning of the Springer program is not about discrimination against the deaf. And while it is true Lieberman in particular has been on record advocating government restrictions on both "obscene" television programs and on video games, the issue here is not censorship. People just don't want their hard-earned tax dollars going to fund a program which they find offensive.
The First Amendment may not allow the government to go in and restrict what Springer can and can't have on his program, but the First Amendment certainly does not require the government to subsidize the Springer program. Refusing to give money to Springer so he can broadcast borderline pornography in closed caption is not censorship.
If Springer is so concerned deaf and hearing-impaired have access to his program, let him use some of the profits from his program to make it closed-captioned. It is not the business of the federal government to provide corporate welfare, especially to a program which denigrates the values so many Americans hold dear.
I am disgusted the earnings the government forcibly takes from my paycheck go to a program that attacks my value base. What about my freedom, Mr. Leonard, to have a voice in what the money I send to Washington is spent on?