Progressive hostility to free speech is turning up in more and more places. USA today has produced a piece of highly biased reporting on a new British censorship measure.
According to the article, the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority has issued a “ban on gender stereotypes” in broadcast ads. Broadcasters that fail to comply can have their licenses revoked. Examples of prohibited material include “commercials featuring hapless fathers struggling to look after kids and women left to do housework.” The headline refers to these as “sexist ads.”
The article declares that “British anti-discrimination laws protect citizens.” It complains that the ASA has “failed to act” against some ads. It doesn’t have a single word from anyone objecting to censorship. It doesn’t question what value there is in banning the depiction of situations people commonly encounter. If people never see fathers struggling to look after kids, will all fathers suddenly be free of the struggle?
It does mention the Bill of Rights, but in a way that sounds like a complaint:
In the United States, there is no such law or regulation concerning gender bias in commercials, ads or TV shows, according to Margo Davenport, a representative for the media bureau of the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, D.C.
“The First Amendment of the Constitution prevents the government from having such a law. We have very limited jurisdiction over content of programming, including ads, except for programming relating to children and indecent programming,” she said.
The ASA is a very active censorship body. It has banned a safety ad showing a cyclist without a helmet riding more than half a meter from the curb. It banned a video game ad showing plus-size women in swimsuits. It’s an immensely powerful censorship body. USA Today’s writers are very sad that the US government doesn’t have such power to control what people can say and show.