Imagine watching NCIS without faces because the closed captions obscured them. You could only identify the characters by their hair.
Under the Federal Communications Commission’s closed-captioning order, there are no standards on how captions are to be provided. The quality varies tremendously — from excellent to execrable.
For this reason, it is essential that the FCC implement closed-captioning standards for television. These are issues of direct communication. Issues include misspelled or garbled words; omitted letters or words that are missing entirely; paraphrasing instead of verbatim rendition of the storyline; lack of description of sound effects or music; and lack of identification of speakers. There are also issues regarding ease of communication. These include the use of upper-case letters (which are harder to read) rather than mixed-case letters; inappropriately using roll-up captions rather than pop-on captions; and the placement of captions in locations that obscure relevant information such as people’s faces or descriptive banners.