Did you know that the FCC is paving the way for more sex, more f-bombs, more profanity and more nudity on America’s television airwaves? That’s what the Parents Television Council is telling people who go to its website.
The FCC recently issued a call for comment on the indecency issue, a not-unexpected move considering the Supreme Court ruling on indecency last year in which it’s sudden decision to lower the boom on fleeting incidents that had long been exempt from punishment was struck down because broadcasters were not given adequate warning on the FCC’s shift in enforcement policy.
Additionally, the lack of a clearly defined indecency definition was questioned.
But to hear PTC tell it, the FCC is just handing broadcasters the right to go blue 24/7.
In its call to action, PTC wrote, “The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently proposed changing the rules governing their enforcement of broadcast decency laws. Under the new rules, the FCC would only investigate and issue fines against the most ‘egregious’ broadcast content. Harsh profanity and ‘non-sexual’ nudity might not be punished under the new rules — IF we allow those new rules to be implemented. That’s right. The FCC is giving the broadcast networks license to air as much explicit profanity and nudity at any time of the day, regardless of how many children might be in the viewing audience.”
This will of course lead to an “explosion” of vile content as broadcasters take advantage of the FCC’s new rules. And yes, “It’s an outrage!”
According to PTC, the FCC is now more of a lobbying wing of the entertainment industry rather than a federal agency looking out for the interests of citizens.
It has encouraged its supporters to send comments to the FCC on the matter, and includes a sample comment for the guidance of those unable to come up with a comment on their own.
It says, “I oppose any changes to the current FCC indecency standards. The FCC must continue to vigorously oppose ALL indecent content, even if brief or ‘fleeting.’ The Supreme Court has affirmed the FCC’s authority to enforce policies prohibiting indecent broadcast content during hours when children are likely to be in the viewing or listening audience. Relaxing the current policy would not serve the public interest and I urge the FCC to reject all proposals that would allow for the broadcast of expletives and nudity on FCC-licensed station.”
RBR-TVBR observation: PTC’s use of scare tactics is shameful. The FCC did not indicate a predisposition one way of the other when it issued its call for comments. It is simply attempting at long last to craft an indecency enforcement policy that broadcasters have some hope of abiding by and that will stand up in court.
Notice how the PTC can’t keep its message straight within a couple of sentences as it gives in to its zeal to frighten. It goes from saying harsh content “might” not be punished to “the FCC is giving the broadcast networks license” to broadcast harsh content in no time flat. Hey, PTC, it’s one of the other, right?
As far as the FCC’s motives go, PTC is dead wrong. If the FCC simply wanted to hand out its blessings on profanity and other objectionable content, it would have allowed lower court rulings to stand – indeed, that is what this publication urged it to do and not bother with a new proceeding at all.
But it did not do that – it took its fight all the way to the Supreme Court – clearly proving beyond any shadow of a doubt that it does take its power to enforce indecency standards seriously and will walk as many miles as it takes to protect them.
It simply cannot walk any higher than the Supreme Court.
The part of PTC’s message which says the FCC is paving the way for sex, f-bombs, profanity and nudity is an utter distortion of reality. It’s sad that the organization can’t avoid the histrionics and simply ask its members to remind the FCC that it would like it to find a way to enforce the rules as they were attempting to before. They are perfectly free to have that opionion and make it part of the record. But how many will comment because of unfounded fears whipped up by PTC?
And by the way, a reasonable assessment of fleeting infractions will reveal that there is a public interest element that argues against turning them into instant fine generators – doing that inhibits the broadcast of live events of any kind, including news and information events – and inhibiting that kind of content is not in the public interest.