FCC Brings Broadcast Indecency to the Supreme Court, Encourages Networks to Foretell the Future

For the first time in 30 years, the FCC has decided to examine what's naughty and what's nice -- in other words, revisiting the standards for what constitutes an "indecent" broadcast. Sparked by Bono's ill-fated F-bomb on the 2003 Golden Globe Awards and Janet Jackson's, um, flash in the pan during the Super Bowl, the FCC cracked down in 2004 and slapped NBC and Fox respectively with hefty fines, promising to do the same to all other offenders in the future. This includes any accidental airings of curses or other no-nos, which means Courtney Love should probably never be on TV again. "No bueno," said the networks, and after suing to block the new process, a New York judge ruled that the institution of such fines should be hung up until a further decision was reached.

The FCC, however, is determined to shield our virgin ears and eyes, bringing the case to the Supreme Court. Chairman Kevin Martin is stoked: "The Commission, Congress and, most importantly, parents understand that protecting our children is our greatest responsibility. I continue to believe we have an obligation then to enforce laws restricting indecent language on television and radio when children are in the audience." TV networks already use a 5-second delay for live broadcasts, and most radio stations use a similar such animal to avoid the airing of potty words, but that's not good enough for the FCC, who have decided that, from now on, everyone needs to ask Zandar and anticipate these sorts of things. Yes, they've got that kind of faith.

I applaud the FCC's noble crusade to clean up these filthy, nasty airwaves! Imagine a world without indecency... Hey, wait. Why is VH1 just showing a test pattern? I want my wholesome girls-in-bikinis-climbing-all-over-washed-up-rock-stars programming back! Sure, there's innuendo and sexism galore, but all bad words are bleeped out... and that's a real family show right there.

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