Jan 152015
 

Merchants spend billions of dollars each year to advertise on television because audiences are effectively influenced by this medium. In much the same way, many claim, children and adults are also effectively influenced by the violence they see on that same medium. Our television industry is blamed for desensitizing violence and making aggressive behavior more acceptable in our society. Studies have found a high correlation between media violence and aggressive or violent behavior in children. It is estimated that by the time they finish elementary school, children who have watched 3-4 hours of TV a day have viewed more than 8,000 murders. By age 18, the average American child has viewed more than 200,000 acts of TV violence. A 17-year study found that watching television triggers aggressive responses -and not only in young children. Studies have found that by age 30, those who watched more than an hour of TV a day, whether or not they watched programs that were rated as violent, were nearly four times more prone to committing aggressive acts including robbery, battery, rape and murder as those limiting daily viewing to an hour or less. Television broadcasts are readily available to most children and many watch more than 3 hours of network or cable TV each day. At least half of all American children have a television in their bedroom. Child advocates believe that violent and adult programming, including violent cartoons, should not be broadcast during the time children are likely to view them.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming current TV programming policy

I support prohibiting violent video programming during children’s viewing hours if the FCC determines v-chip rating and encoding is ineffective, and wish to identify a legislator who will reintroduce S.161 – Children’s Protection from Violent Programming Act (108th Congress 2003-2004

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

One of the latest manifestations of our pro-life versus pro-choice struggle is the emergence of health clinic ads that have offered abortion services which these clinics did not provide. With ads for “abortion care” and “pregnancy alternatives,” Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPC) are organizations that counsel pregnant women against having abortions. These centers are usually operated by churches or other organizations that oppose abortion. CPCs provide abortion, pregnancy and childbirth counseling. Some of these organizations also offer financial assistance, child-rearing resources and adoption referrals. Most CPCs have recently changed their advertising approach and are no longer running these types of ads. However, many studies by many groups and individuals have found that CPC centers routinely disseminate false medical information, such as the health risks of abortion, to vulnerable women. Advocates claim one should not be misled when seeking health care, especially during pregnancy. They wish to prohibit these and other types of deceptive advertising which target women’s services. CPC supporters say their right to counsel these women is permitted under the free speech protections of our First Amendment.

Pending Legislation:

S.981 & H.R.2030 – Stop Deceptive Advertising for Women’s Services Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current abortion advertising policy and wish to defeat S.981 & H.R.2030

I support requiring the Federal Trade Commission to promulgate rules to prohibit, as an unfair and deceptive act or practice, a person from advertising with the intent to deceptively create the impression that: such person is a provider of abortion services if such person does not provide such services, or such person is not a provider of abortion services if such person does provide such services, and wish to pass S.981 & H.R.2030

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Most parents wish to control their children’s viewing of mature-rated movies and TV programs. The violence-rated chip (v-chip) technology, which allows television sets to block violent-rated shows, is ineffective because media companies often do not rate their violent programming as violent. Studies have shown at least 70% of all violent programming is not specifically rated for violence. A study of TV-PG rated shows found nearly 11 incidents of explicit adult content per hour. The violence in these shows included “dismemberment, decapitation and animal abuse.” Critics claim our media’s age-based rating system is not a content-based rating system. They say age ratings are merely Hollywood’s and Madison Avenue’s idea of what is appropriate for our children. Critics claim studies have shown our media industry continues to deliberately market inappropriate material to children, regardless of its rating. According to one survey, American parents overwhelmingly prefer a simple ratings system that tells them what is in a program, rather than one that gives them advice on whether their children should be allowed to view it. Industry advocates claim these TV rating surveys are flawed and that most parents are satisfied with the current TV ratings system.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming current TV ratings system policy

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill replacing our current television age-based ratings system with a content-based ratings system that includes descriptions of the content of television programs

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

More than $15 billion a year is spent on advertising targeted at children, $4 billion by our fast food industry alone. The reason for these expenditures could be due to the fact that children directly influence the buying decisions of at least $200 billion spent on food purchases each year. Our Surgeon General has declared childhood obesity a national epidemic. Overweight children are showing up in our doctor’s offices with adult health problems such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. Some even show early warning signs of heart disease. Also, it is estimated that the average American child watches between 25,000 to 40,000 TV commercials each year, about double the amount that British children view. Children who watch Saturday morning TV view more than twice as many ads for unhealthy foods as do adults during programs airing after 9pm.

As junk-food ads have the potential to harm the health of children’s bodies, some say that viewing inappropriate media may have detrimental effects on the health of their minds. Our Federal Trade Commission says our entertainment industries routinely market adult-rated movies, music and video games to children under 17 years old. Only some of these manufacturers have put content warning labels on their products, but even so, adult-rated video games continue to be easily purchased by children most of the time. Studies have found that even in retail stores with programs to restrict such sales, minors were successful in purchasing restricted video games more than 70% of the time. Congress has long asked these industries to voluntarily and accurately rate their products for violent and adult content, and to prevent children’s access to this material. Studies on the possible link between video games and aggression have been inconclusive.

Pending Legislation:

H.R.287 – Video Games Ratings Enforcement Act

I oppose reforming current child advertising policy and wish to defeat H.R.287

I support prohibiting shipping or distributing in interstate commerce, selling, or renting a video game the outside packaging of which does not display a label containing an age-based content rating determined by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ERSB); directing the Federal Trade Commission to require all retail establishments that sell video games to display information about the ESRB content rating system; prohibiting any person from selling or renting video games containing the ESRB content rating of: “adults only” to any person under the age of 18, or “mature” to any person under the age of 17; treating violations of such requirements and prohibitions as an unfair or deceptive act or practice subject to a civil penalty of not more than $5,000 per violation, and wish to pass H.R.287

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill to prohibit junk-food television advertisements during the hours programmed for children

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) say more than 30 mortgage advertisers are responsible for ads that make false or deceptive claims. These companies include mortgage lenders, brokers, real estate agents and home builders. The FTC and CFPB are investigating whether these advertisers have broken federal laws that protect us from misleading ads. These agencies share enforcement authority over non-bank mortgage advertisers such as mortgage lenders, brokers, servicers and advertising agencies. These questionable ads offer very low fixed-rate loans, guaranteed approval and low monthly payments. However, they do not disclose the loan’s details and conditions which are likely to disqualify many hopeful borrowers. Some of these ads also contain statements, images, symbols and abbreviations that suggest the advertiser is affiliated with a government agency.

Pending Legislation:

H.R.1706: Mortgage Settlement Monitoring Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current mortgage advertising policy and wish to defeat H.R. 1706

I support establishing the Office of the Independent Monitor to determine the compliance with its terms of all parties to the amended consent orders (settlement) finalized on February 28, 2013, between the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and 11 mortgage servicing companies subject to enforcement actions for unsafe and unsound practices related to residential mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure processing, as well as any future agreement between the Board and the Office and a mortgage servicing company, and wish to pass H.R.1706

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

For decades, the pharmaceutical industry has claimed that research costs are the reason American drugs are so expensive compared to the rest of the world. However, recently revealed facts show that many of these firms spend more on advertising than on research, some more than twice as much. For several years now, Americans have been bombarded with TV ads for prescription medications. In 2013, pharmaceutical manufacturers spent nearly $4 billion on direct-to-consumer television, radio, online, magazine and newspaper advertising. Drug makers now market their products directly to consumers, rather than the traditional method of allowing doctors to make treatment recommendations. Pharmaceutical companies often air ads for products that treat sexual dysfunction, incontinence, pain, hormone imbalance or depression -followed by lengthy warnings of possible horrific side-effects from using their products. Some critics claim these types of ads are not appropriate to be viewed by children. They also say drug ads are not produced by people who are experts in healthcare, but who are somewhat competent in sales and marketing. These ads should be considered for what they are, a promotion, not a source of factual consumer information. Advocates claim most consumers are not adequately informed to assess the accuracy or truth of a drug ad, or whether it is appropriate for their condition, or if they even have a condition that requires such medication.

Pending Legislation:

H.R.923 – Say No to Drug Ads Act

I oppose reforming current pharmaceutical advertising policy and wish to defeat H.R.923

I support amending the Internal Revenue Code to deny a tax deduction for the cost of direct-to-consumer advertisement of a prescription drug, and wish to pass H.R.923

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

More than 90% of all American adults now own a cellular phone and more than half of these cellphones are smart phones. Mobile marketing via short message service, or spam text, is the name given to the cellular service that allows companies to send unsolicited text ads to consumer’s cellphones. This form of marketing is rapidly expanding as a new channel to reach potential customers. Spam text supporters claim that mobile marketing benefits customers by sending personalized purchasing information which is time and location sensitive. Companies often use location-based ads to send a sales-pitch to consumers entering a shopping mall or when passing a theatre or restaurant. Many spam text critics consider these unwanted messages a nuisance and a violation of privacy. They also claim spam texts are sometimes used to install malware on mobile devices in order to collect personal information from cellphone users -including information used to steal one’s identity. Advocates say that for marketing purposes, merchandisers could track the aggregate presence of cellphone users without violating an individual’s right to privacy.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming current spam texting policy

I support prohibiting a person from using a mobile telephone messaging system to transmit unsolicited advertisements, and wish to identify a legislator who will reintroduce H.R.122 – Wireless Telephone Spam Protection Act (108th Congress 2003-2004)

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

There are about 750 million telephone numbers assigned in the United States and telemarketers make an estimated 100 million sales calls each day. In order to identify potential customers, telemarketers often purchase consumer profiles from merchants and other information brokers. Last year, millions of Americans lost nearly $40 billion to telemarketing fraud. Those over 60 years of age file almost half of all telemarketing fraud complaints. Consumer advocates say older people are targeted because they are often at home and can easily preyed upon by swindlers taking advantage of their isolation or loneliness. Telemarketing trade groups claim their industry creates millions of jobs and pumps more than $700 billion into our economy. Even so, at least 70% of Americans have added their telephone numbers to the Federal Trade Commission’s do-not-call registry which prohibits commercial telemarketers from calling residences on this list. Telemarketers claim the do-not-call list is unconstitutional because it limits speech based on its content and because it only bans marketing calls -not calls from politicians, charities and other groups. Robocalls, or phone calls that use a computerized auto-dialer to deliver a pre-recorded message, were used prominently in our last Presidential election. Privacy advocates also support including robocalls on the do-not-call registry.

Pending Legislation:

S.1358 & H.R.1953 – Seniors Fraud Prevention Act of 2013

H.R.1315 – Robo Calls Off Phones Act

I oppose reforming current telemarketing policy and wish to defeat S.1358 & H.R.1953 and H.R.1315

I support establishing an office within the Bureau of Consumer Protection to advise the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on the prevention of fraud targeting seniors and to assist the FTC in monitoring the market for mail, television, Internet, and telemarketing fraud including recorded message telephone calls (robocalls) targeting seniors; requiring the FTC to disseminate to seniors and their families and caregivers information on the most common fraud schemes, including methods of reporting complaints either to the FTC’s national toll-free telephone number or to the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network, where complaints become immediately available to the FBI, state attorneys general, and other appropriate law enforcement agencies; providing, in response to a specific request about a particular entity or individual, publicly available information regarding the FTC’s enforcement action; and maintaining a website as a resource for information on fraud targeting seniors, and wish to pass S.1358 & H.R.1953

I support directing the Federal Trade Commission to revise the do-not-call registry provisions of the Telemarketing Sales Rule to prohibit politically-oriented recorded message telephone calls to telephone numbers listed on that registry; defines a “politically-oriented recorded message telephone call” as an outbound telephone call that plays a recorded message: the purpose of which is to promote, advertise, campaign, or solicit donations, for or against any political candidate or regarding any political issue; or that uses any political candidate’s name, and wish to pass H.R.1315

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

There are currently about 18 million alcoholics in the U.S. and more than 88,000 Americans drink themselves to death each year. About 480,000 Americans also die from tobacco related products each year. Health advocates claim the makers of these harmful products routinely market cigarettes and alcohol to our young. These products are often advertised on billboards, television, radio and other mediums which are unavoidably seen and heard by minors. However, our Federal Trade Commission claims it has not found overt evidence of such targeting. Our tobacco and alcohol industries currently regulate themselves by creating standards for the ethical advertising of their products. These standards discourage irresponsible drinking and prohibit the promotion of a beverage’s alcohol content or the effects of alcohol. These standards also call for alcohol ads to be placed only in media where 70% of the audience is over 21. However, critics say these harmful products should not be advertised on any medium that is viewed by minors. They say a precedent exists for banning these types of ads without running afoul of our First Amendment. Tobacco advertising was banned from television once the dangers of smoking were acknowledged.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming current alcohol and tobacco advertising policy

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill to ban alcohol advertisements on media that is viewed by children

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill to ban all tobacco advertisements on media that is viewed by children

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill to ban all alcohol and tobacco advertisements on media that is viewed by children

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is now considering reversing an 80-year ban which prohibits one company from owning a newspaper and television station in the same market. Its resulting report could allow one media company in a single city to acquire as many as two television stations, eight radio stations and a major newspaper. Currently, there are 10 media companies which own about 700 local television stations across the country. Opponents say that a truthful, objective and inclusive media is indispensable to our democracy. They worry more consolidation would limit diversity and ideas in the marketplace, giving a small number of media giants too much influence in shaping our public debate. They claim these new rule changes will spur a wave of mergers that will crowd out independent stations and stifle local coverage and dissenting viewpoints. Critics say this is exactly what occurred in 1996 after the FCC revised ownership rules for radio stations. These changes reduced the number of radio station owners by 25%, from 5,100 in 1996 to 3,800 by 2001. The FCC claims its media ownership rule changes will give consumers better access to a wider range of cable channels and other news and entertainment sources. Many conventional media companies say current FCC rules hinder their ability to compete with emerging digital platforms. As evidence of the need to compete with broadcast and online media, they point to the difficulties our newspaper industry has suffered for several years. Overall, media industry representatives claim they could increase efficiency and offer residents better and more comprehensive news coverage by combining newspaper and TV operations. They also claim any restrictions on media ownership and viewer reach is contrary to the free speech protections of our First Amendment. The FCC is planning to complete its report in 2016.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming current media ownership policy

I support invalidating the actions of the FCC in repealing the media ownership limitations under the Communications Act of 1934, and wish to identify a legislator who will reintroduce a version of H.R.2462 Protect Diversity in Media Act (108th Congress 2003-2004)

 Posted by at 12:00 am