Most Americans want an indecency cop on the job


Rasmussen recently released a poll indicating that 57% of Americans believe there is too much inappropriate content on US radio and television. Now it has another one out, indicating that 55% think the FCC should police broadcast content.

Rasmussen said that the while 55% is clearly a majority of those surveyed, it is an 8% drop from results when the same question was asked in 2007.

On the other side of the fence were the 34% of respondents who believe the FCC should stay out of content regulation. 11% weren’t sure.

Asked how the FCC was doing on indecency enforcement for radio and TV, 9% said excellent, 20% said good, 37% said fair, 28% said poor and 6% weren’t sure.

Asked about the nature of the worst inappropriate content on television, 39% said it was violence, 36% said sexual content, 9% cited profanity and 16% weren’t sure.

RBR-TVBR observation: It’s not whether the FCC enforces indecency standards, it’s how they are written and how they are enforced. We’d be willing to bet that the majority of broadcasters would be happy to abide by government-enforced indecency guidelines.

But they have to be clearly delineated and consistently enforced. Unfortunately, indecency enforcement to date has been anything but clear and consistent.

With the ability to levy six-digit fines that can easily multiply into the millions of dollars, not to mention the ability to revoke licenses, it is imperative that broadcasters know precisely what the rules are.

If the FCC cannot define the crime, it should not be allowed to levy the fine. The Second Circuit was absolutely correct when it tossed the FCC’s fleeting expletive policy for being unconstitutionally vague.