Martin responds to malfunction ruling


FCC Chairman Kevin Martin: “Today the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided that the Janet Jackson incident during the Super Bowl Halftime show was not indecent and declared that the FCC was wrong to fine CBS for the broadcast. I am surprised by today’s decision and disappointed for families and parents. The Super Bowl is one of the most watched shows on television, aired during the hours when children are most likely to be in the audience. Hundreds of thousands of people complained about the show, and a unanimous Commission found that it was inappropriate for broadcast television. In fact, following this incident, Congress said we should be assessing greater fines – as much as 10 times the amount we actually fined CBS – for incidents like these in the future. I continue to believe that this incident was inappropriate, and this only highlights the importance of the Supreme Court’s consideration of our indecency rules this Fall.”

RBR/TVBR observation: And tens of millions of people did NOT complain. The law is about what’s on the books, and the interpretation is a matter for the courts. Thus far they have rightly concluded that the FCC commissioners overstepped their authority. That they did so unanimously is immaterial. We now look to the Supreme Court to uphold the findings in two cases at the appellate level.