The FCC’s fine of WDBJ Roanoke, Va., for inadvertently including three seconds of a Web promo for a porno in a news story once again demonstrates the second-class status of broadcasting. It is absurd that broadcasting is still subject to such rules when the nearly equally pervasive Web is absolutely loaded with all manner of explicit sexual content that goes far, far further. Cable, too, is much worse than broadcasting in spewing out programming offensive to many Americans.
The deadline for reply comments on the FCC’s Indecency policy have been extended. These replies had been due on July 18. But a request from CBI, a collegiate broadcasters organization, asked for more time given the extensive initial comments filed in the proceeding and the fact that college broadcasters have difficulties in responding to issues over summer school holidays. On Friday, the commission issued a Public Notice extending the deadline for these reply comments to Aug. 2.
The watchdog group says the network’s filing is an attempt to “re-litigate the Supreme Court cases that it lost, rather than addressing the proposal by the FCC to focus only on ‘egregious’ instances of indecency.”
The deadline for comments on the FCC’s indecency rules was extended until June 19, confirmed in a notice published in the Federal Register this past week. Given this extension, it is worth reviewing what the FCC proposed to do in this proceeding, as there is a significant amount of misinformation circulating in certain publications and in rumors floating around the Internet about the scope of the proceeding and the FCC’s intent in launching its inquiry.
The Supreme Court on Friday refused to review a lower court decision that threw out the FCC’s $550,000 fine for CBS over Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” during the network’s live coverage of the 2004 Super Bowl. The high court’s rejection of the Obama Administration’s appeal means the agency now may have to come up with a refund for the network — which already paid the record fine.
The Supreme Court heard arguments back on Jan. 10 in FCC v. Fox Television Stations, a case testing the constitutionality of the commission’s ban on indecent words and images on TV, and court watchers are curious. What the &#@$ is taking so long?
What the [fleeting expletive] is Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito thinking? Midway through the argument last Tuesday on the constitutionality of the FCC’s broadcast indecency restrictions, Alito says: “Well, broadcast TV is living on borrowed time. It is not going to be long before it goes the way of vinyl records and eight-track tapes.” […]
In response to briefs filed with the Supreme Court, the watchdog Parents Television Council chastises ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox for “their resolve to shred any remaining boundaries for decency, paving the way for the harshest profanity and graphic sexual content to be aired in front of kids at any time of day.”
The watchdog group files in support of FCC authority to fine broadcasters for airing indecent material between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.