Watchdog calls for preemption of violence rules


Jonathan Rintels, Executive Director of the Center for Creative Voices in Media, was pleased with the Second Circuit ruling on fleeting expletives, and thinks that it has an obvious lesson for those contemplating legislation which would attempt to place limitations on violent broadcast programming.

He first applauded the court action, and noted that his organization was an intervening party. Rintels said, "These overly broad and arbitrary Commission decisions put creative, challenging, controversial, non-homogenized broadcast television programming at risk. In many cases, the very kinds of television programs that parents want their children to watch – high quality documentaries, histories, and dramas – were affected. Thus, the chilling effect of these now-overturned Commission decisions harmed not only media artists, but the American public."

He didn't mention Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) by name, but Rockefeller was clearly in his thoughts when he urged Congress to steer clear of the FCC's recent request for authority to regulate violent program content. Rintels commented, "Last April, the FCC told Congress that it could give the Commission new powers to regulate so-called "violent" broadcast television content, however that might ultimately be defined. In light of today's clear Court of Appeals ruling that the FCC has abused its discretion to regulate television content, and acted "arbitrarily and capriciously," it would be extremely unwise – even irresponsible – for Congress to now grant these exponentially expanded new powers to the Commission."