Maybe They Should Increase it to $20 Million

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The FCC just took another daring step toward extinction yesterday by more than doubling its previous record for a fine, to $1.2 million (compared to just $550,000 for Janet Jackson's tit), for some pixilated whipped cream action on a reality show called Married By America. (What, you don't remember the pain you suffered 18 months ago? See The Smoking Gun for documentation. One of the FCCers' droller charges is that the episode was intended to "pander to and titillate the audience." Horrors!)

One of these days and it won't be long, someone will reckon that a legal challenge to the FCC's encroachment of the First Amendment could be less costly than coughing up the ever-skyrocketing fines.

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  1. “Maybe They Should Increase it to $20 Million”

    My turn: it’s for the children!!

  2. The FCC seems hell-bent on inviting a serious court challenge and the sooner that happens, the better. Is the outfit inviting its demise?

  3. I bet they back off after the election. They’re trying to throw the fundies a bone by cracking down on heathen TV. No need to do that after the election.

  4. The impressive thing is that NPR reported this morning that the fine stemmed from a whopping 150 complaints nationwide.

    I think we need to send out brochures to those complaintants explaining “How to Turn Off Your TV”.

    A friend, upon learning of this, responded “Was it cable or broadcast?”

    Honestly, I don’t think it matters. A large number of American households have cable – I think I heard that more have cable than broadcast nowadays.

    I asked the friend what the difference was – a child with cable can turn on “Spirce Hot” just as easily as this FOX program – assuming they have cable. Either way it’s the parents responsibility to monitor this – and if needed, to buy a TV with a V-chip or something.

    The friend retorted “Well, with cable you pay for it, with broadcast you don’t.” Which explains why it costs nothing to make a broadcast TV program nowadays apparently.

    If you want to control everything your child watches, disable the TV tuner and only allow them to watch DVD’s on an Xbox or some other DVD player that allows parents to disallow material with ceartian ratings.

    Another friend pointed out that the V-chip makes it very easy to determine if a given program has nudity (and is thus worth watching). That Buffy the Vampire Slayer is such a tease!

  5. I don’t like being called a “fundie”, thank you, I just don’t want my baby seeing tits on TV while I’m breast feeding him.

  6. I’m certain the Right will claim that any broadcaster challenging an FCC ruling is “treasonous” and that such a challenge is proof of a left-wing conspiracy.

    And has anyone every told the FCC that more people were affected, traumatized and emotionally scarred watching Dale Ernhardt die horribly on live TV than by Jackson’s breast? You’d think NASCAR dads would have their priorities straight.

    Also, as a broadcaster, which is a surreal trade to begin with, I find it strange that the contemporary TV environment is commonly referred to as a “Post Janet Jackson World.”

  7. Nobody will take the FCC to court anytime soon — certainly not any of the giant media conglomerates like Fox or Viacom, who are the targets of the largest fines. These fines are still peanuts compared to the cost of the FCC holding up approval of a pending aquisition or not renewing a station’s license. That’s why Infinity ultimately caved on Howard Stern’s fines; they couldn’t get any of their deals approved while the fines were being challenged.

  8. No wonder the networks are losing audience share.

  9. Nobody will take the FCC to court anytime soon — certainly not any of the giant media conglomerates like Fox or Viacom, who are the targets of the largest fines. These fines are still peanuts compared to the cost of the FCC holding up approval of a pending aquisition or not renewing a station’s license. That’s why Infinity ultimately caved on Howard Stern’s fines; they couldn’t get any of their deals approved while the fines were being challenged.

  10. Aaaarrrgh. Remind me who the aggrieved parties are here that the FCC is protecting?

    My 3-year-old son watched the Superbowl with me, and not only did he see Ms Jackson’s nipple, he saw it extra when we rewound the TiVo and paused to see if we really saw what we thought we saw. When we explained it, he thought it was hilarious.

    I am positive that not only will it not scar him for life, he had completely forgotten about it an hour later.

    Anyone so psychically fragile as to be terrorized by this really ought to reconsider whether they have the wherewithall to ethically raise a child.

  11. The existence of the FCC rests upon the “scarcity rationale” i.e. the limited number of frequencies available on the radio spectrum gives the feds a compelling state interest in regulating frequencies and ensuring that they are in the “public interest.”

    With the advent of satellite, cable, and on-line broadcasting, that argument is becoming increasingly untenable.

    I’m certain that there are market-based alternatives for parents who are dedicated to pursuing nipple-free viewing options

  12. Actually, Fox *ought* to be fined for its “reality” programs. Not for indecency, of course–but for constantly ripping off other networks’ shows… http://www.realitytvworld.com/index/articles/story.php?s=2660

  13. FCC stands for Federal Communist Commission. They operate on a crypto-Marxist theory of state ownership of the airwaves. OK, I’m exaggerating a little, but these guys need to be brought down a peg or two.

  14. What, exactly, would be the point of mounting a legal challenge? I see no reason at all to suppose that the Supremes would do anything other than maintain the censorious status quo.

    Grow up, people. Freedom of speech, as a legal issue, is a non-starter. If you doubt me, consider the Supreme’s acceptace of campaign finance reform.

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