Three Strikes, You're Out … $1.2 Million


Jeff Jarvis filed a Freedom of Information Act request to examine the alleged 159 complaints that triggered the FCC's record $1.2 million fine against a TV show called Married By America, only to discover that the number of originally worded letters was actually three.

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  1. Form letters are OK by me – it’s kind of an ad-hoc balloting system, if you will. So it’s more fair to say 22 individuals cared to send multiple letters to multiple offices at the FCC.

  2. 22 people to change what 300 million is out of control. I’d prefer a pre-determined percentage of viewers (based on Nielsen ratings) to measure. Actually I’d prefer nothing, but a percentage would be better. Maybe something along the lines of 3-5% of the viewers/listeners complaining would lead to a fine. It’s better than 23.

    And what’s up with the word “girl” and why doesn’t Jeff say it anymore. Heck, I still say “chick” and have quite a few feminist friends.

  3. Not to excuse the petty decisions of the FCC, but how divorced is their investigation from the complaints they receive? I’d imagine that there is some sort of divide between the two, making the number of complaints interesting, but not having much effect on the eventual action of the board. Therefore, one complaint should hold the same actual weight as a thousand. I realize that more complaints probably moves an action up the list, but does it have an affect on the outcome?

    This still doesn’t excuse the poor actions of the FCC, with the moving goalposts and rule by fiat, however.

  4. Highway:

    Theoretically, they’re supposed to be looking at ‘community standards’. Only three complaints indicates that the community doesn’t have a problem with it. That they acted anyway indicates that the FCC doesn’t really give a rat’s ass about community standards, particularly if those standards are relaxing over time.

  5. Brad,

    Who plays with a vibrator while on the phone?
    Spongebill Loofahands!

    The fake populist on the Talking Points Zone–
    Spongebill Loofahands!

    A loud splotchy bully who hollers “SHUT UP!”
    Spongebill Loofahands!

    He drinks Karl Rove’s semen straight out of a cup.
    Spongebill Loofah-hands!

    Spongebill Loofahands!
    Spongebill Loofahands!
    Spongebill Loofahands!

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