Anti pornography activist group Morality in Media was hoping for a stronger statement from FCC Chairman nominee Tom Wheeler when he met with the Senate Commerce Committee 6/18/13. Wheeler mentioned calling upon our “better angels” when dealing with indecency but otherwise was short on specifics.
MIM would prefer that the Senate put a hold on Wheeler’s candidacy until he comes up with some better answers.
Organization leader Patrick Trueman stated, “Leadership on TV decency is sorely needed. But, after a four year hiatus on decency enforcement at the FCC we can only hope that Wheeler’s better angels tell him to follow the will of the American public, and vigorously enforce the federal decency law, which he is free to do after the U. S. Supreme Court decision in FCC V. Fox of last June.”
RBR-TVBR observation: Here’s a news flash – Wheeler was short on specifics, period, regardless of topic. That was by design, and it follow the pattern we have seen for every single commissioner who we’ve seen interviewed by the Committee.
It was to be expected in particular on this issue. The Supreme Court, far from saying the FCC is free to enforce indecency as it sees fit, essentially sent it back to the drawing board. It did not make any specific suggestions, but ordered to make sure that stakeholders and the public are participants in the process, unlike the unilateral change in fleeting expletive enforcement inserted by former Chairman Michael Powell. And it said the rules need to be clear enough that broadcasters have half a chance of following them.
That has led to a proceeding on the matter. With the record open, there is little in the way of meaningful comment that Wheeler could have made.
We do know this, however – the proceeding is not intended to bring foul language and nudity onto broadcast television during primetime, which is what MIM has been contending.