The gripes of wrath: 1H 2008


The latest report on FCC inquiries and complaints is out, with results for the first two quarters of 2008. There was an uptick in broadcast inquiries, particularly in Q1, mostly with regard to the DTV transition. On the complaint side, there was an uptick on the broadcast side from 1,249 in Q4 2007 to 122,104 in Q1 2008, 99% of which were for indecency/obscenity. In Q2, the indecency/obscenity tally dropped to 25,058.

It is probably no coincidence that the Parents Television Council launched a click and send campaign in January 2008 in response to a slip-up from actress Diane Keaton on ABC’s Good Morning America that occurred 1/15/08; PTC combined an incident on a 12/20/07 airing of CBS’s 60 Minutes which showed some raised middle fingers.

RBR/TVBR observation: The FCC has avoided handing out virtually any indecency fines of any significance while the battle over fleeting occurrences has proceeded all the way to the Supreme Court. Keaton’s F-bomb would clearly fall in the fleeting category and should be immune from government action. That’s how it was seen in court at the appellate level, and we hope the Supremes will follow suit.