CBS today (June 12) accused the Federal Communications Commission Children's Task Force of "unwarranted and blatant social engineering" in its recommendations for governmentally mandated amounts of educational or instructional children's programming in certain time periods. In a strongly worded 125-page statement filed with the FCC, CBS claimed that the Task Force recommendations violate both the First Amendment and the Communications Act.
The FCC Task Force based its recommendations on the alleged failure of the broadcast industry to comply with the commission's 1974 Children's TV Report and Policy Statement, which called on broadcasters to make a meaningful effort in the area of children's TV, including a "reasonable amount" of children's programming designed to educate and inform. The new recommendations would require broadcasters to carry a weekly minimum of five hours of educational programming for 2-to-5- year-olds and 2 1/2 hours of such programming for 6-to- 12-year-olds, scheduled between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. on weekdays.
According to Monitor TV critic Arthur Unger, this CBS statement accusing the FCC of First Amendment violations is the strongest response in recent years to FCC activities.