Utley utterance inspires FCC complaints


Philadelphia Phillies second-baseman Chase Utley has been chased all the way to the FCC by Philadelphians angry about his choice of language when celebrating his team’s World Series win. The Commission has 26 complaints in hand. That’s out of an estimated 825K television viewers of the Phillies’ victory parade 10/31/08, according to Nielsen. Others heard Utley’s f-bomb over the radio, says the local Philadelphia Inquirer.

RBR/TVBR observation: That means that 0.003% of those hearing the bomb over television complained. By all means, we must protect this tiny minority. Even the Parent’s Television Council stayed away from this one – otherwise, the total complaint count would have been much higher.

This is clearly yet another example of a fleeting expletive, not an assault by broadcasters on the moral fabric of America. This is why the Supreme Court must shoot down the FCC’s attempt to get a correct lower court ruling on fleeting expletives reversed. The importance of protecting the freedom of the electronic press to provide live event coverage, coupled with the exceedingly obvious ability of Philadelphians to handle the slip-up, should make this a SCOTUS no-brainer.