Powell's "Delicate First Amendment Balance"


If you're going to read Michael Powell's crappy and condescending New York Times op-ed today, I recommend for health reasons to do so through Jeff Jarvis' angry filter.

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  1. I think I was in tenth grade when I decided that if I could only pick one issue to fight, it would be censorship. I’m hoping someone would post all the addresses of these FCC and other government types in one place, then I would hand write my own angry letters to them. It would be especially cool if there were a site that monitored when the protectionist folks were sending letters to them so we could immediatly send a rebuttal in defense of the alleged “offender” of decency.

  2. The problem lies in the fact the censorship is popular with all too many people. This cuts across party lines and most politicians are too gutless to support free speech, fearing that they’ll be labeled as a promotor of “indecency” or a defender of “hate speech.” Many on the right who decry “big government” are all for FCC fines and regulation when it comes to “decency.” And many on the left who support free speech when it comes to “indecency,” don’t support it if they find it offensive to some minority group.

  3. Let the grievences begin!
    Thanks QFMC

  4. Powell: “Critics of the law should instead focus their efforts on changing the law, if that’s what they want.”

    This is such a typical fascist arguement. I remember old Dragnet and Adam 12 episodes, where they bust up “pot parties”, and the hippies make the no-brain points that 1) they’re not causing a disturbance 2) they’re not hurting anyone 3) they’re on private property. Joe Friday shoots back “Well, then, change the law! Until then, I have to enforce it!” Typical Nuremburg (sp?) defense.

  5. I would just like to say, in the most profane, indecent, and obscene way possible with ASCII:


    Thank you.

  6. In the history of broadcast television, there have been only four indecency fines.

    And, 5 paragraphs later:

    Over the years, fines had become trivial. A routine violation generally received a paltry $7,000 fine, with the maximum fine being $27,500.

    It seems to me that any fine, no matter what the sum, would be anything but trivial, given that there have only been four in all of history. I really don’t get it.

    For material to be indecent in the legal sense it must be of a sexual or excretory nature and it must be patently offensive.

    In what way is a breast sexual, excretory, or offensive? Especially when the nipple is covered? I really don’t get it.

    While ABC and its affiliates understandably would have liked to know the program was in bounds before proceeding, the precedent of submitting programming or scripts for government review borders dangerously on censorship. The Communications Act expressly forbids the F.C.C. from banning a program before broadcast, and any such effort might very well run afoul of the First Amendment.

    The police put up an unfamiliar sign. The driver will know whether he’s broken the law or not only after he’s driven past it. I really don’t get it.

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