If ever there was reason to be thankful that the federal government faces high constitutional hurdles when it comes to regulating program content, the fact that some citizens of the United States are asking for FCC action over the fact that Bristol Palin made it to the finals of ABC’s Dancing With the Stars provides it.
The Smoking Gun turned up a number of complaints filed with the FCC via the Freedom of Information Act, with allegations of vote-fixing and Tea Party collusion being cited more than once.
Many complainants could not wrap their minds around the fact that Palin, daughter of former Alaska governor and Republican VP candidate alongside John McCain (R-AZ), consistently prevailed in viewer voting despite receiving lower scores from the judges than other dancers who were eliminated from the competition.
One complainant went so far as to accuse the program of promoting teenage pregnancy. An FCC filing put it this way: “Bristol is not a star, what did she do, she had sex and got pregnant. Lets reward her…I made several call to ABC’s complaint line and I hope that their phone lines melt.”
It was also called a form of payola, and according to Smoking Gun, a probe of the voting system was requested since “people are bragging how they ‘gamed the system’.” Others saw the enterprise as a platform for the promotion of Bristol’s famous mother.
One of the program’s judges also came up for criticism for giving Palin a hug at one point in the competition.
Palin wound up coming in third in the competition.
RBR-TVBR observation: We have no doubt that the FCC will steer well clear of this issue. It’s just amazing what some people think the Commission is able to do. What’s next – a public outcry for FCC intervention due to an unpopular result in an NFL football game?
We regret to admit that if that ever became a legal recourse for viewers of football on television, the FCC would suddenly start receiving a great deal of foot traffic from fans of the NFL Washington Redskins, who can reach the Commission and deliver such a complaint in person after a ride on the Metro and a short walk from the Smithsonian stop.