Opinion: Congress goes after those annoying TV ads that are WAY LOUDER THAN THE PROGRAMS

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You know how sometimes those folks on TV -- even on our favorite Sunday political talk shows -- are conversing so softly that you turn up the volume a little? And then forget about it?

Until the commercial comes on and it’s WHOA! SO MUCH LOUDER THAN THE SHOWS?

So you scramble for the remote, fiddle with the volume button and curse the product being advertised, ranting about how these stupid things should be illegal.

Even though, come to think of it, there’s a serious question about inviting the feds in to control television volume in individual homes.


Apparently, this loud volume has also struck the ears of Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse. He’s a Democrat, of course. From Rhode Island.

He’s now introduced legislation called the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act of 2009 -- the unnecessary ‘M’ word obviously thrown in to construct the cutesy acronym, CALM. Feels better already, right?

[Corrected, Jan. 3, 2010, 3:50 p.m.: A previous version of this post incorrectly named the bill as the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Migration Act of 2009.]

The bill proposes that the Federal Communications Commission regulate commercials, mandating that the sales pitches must remain at the same decibel level as the show that precedes them. Rep. Anna Eshoo, of Menlo Park, another Democrat, has introduced companion legislation in the House.

‘In my 17 years in the House of Representatives,’ she tells The Times, ‘I’ve never carried a bill which has been received with so much enthusiasm. Only the do-not-call list has even come close.’

But how will we know which candidates to vote for? Besides reading politics blogs, naturally? We often pick whomever talks the loudest in their campaign commercials. Come to think of it again, that’s just like the used-car ads.

-- Mark Milian

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