A weekly commentary by CBS News Correspondent Andy Rooney It originally aired on May 11, 2003.
I don't usually follow what's happening in Congress very closely, but I was interested recently when Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., got so mad at all the junk email he was getting that he proposed a law making it illegal to send out email sales pitches.
The senator's bill is good, but it doesn't go far enough for me. We need protection from all kinds of intrusive advertising. There's no place to hide anymore.
Wherever we go, they find us and advertise at us.
The other day, I got into a hotel elevator in New York and above the buttons you press for your floor was a television screen with an advertisement running. They've got you in an elevator because you're trapped until you get to your floor.
No matter where you are or what you're doing, there's advertising in front of you.
Once a month, I get an envelope from my bank with my statement in it. It's important to me. The bank knows I'm not going to throw the envelope away unopened so they put a lot of advertising in the envelope that has nothing to do with my money.
That ought to be illegal.
I don't want a vacuum cleaner from my bank. I don't want to borrow $10,000. I don't want another credit card. All I want to know is how much I have left and where I spent what I don't have anymore.
Newspapers are a pain, especially on weekends because of all the junk advertising they fold into them. Here's The New York Times, a great newspaper, but isn't there any way for them to pay good editors and reporters without cluttering up the paper with trash that falls out in your driveway when you open it?
Magazines are unpleasant to read for the same reason. You have to tear the junk out of TIME or Newsweek before you can read them. Even a classy magazine like Harper's.
Our telephones have junk advertising. If you want to call information on 411 you have to listen to a plug for Verizon before you get your number: Verizon Nationwide 411, make progress everyday
We're all familiar with the car dealers who plaster their name around the license plates on the back of your car. You drive around as a moving ad for them for as long as you own it.
Television is worst of all, of course. They keep moving in on an hour with more commercial time, but at least you get something free in return for the junk on television.
Advertising makes the wheels go round in America, no doubt about it. Not only that, it pays my salary. But we don't want it in our face all day. What we need, Sen. Schumer, is a Freedom from Unwanted Advertising law.
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