After the FCC fined CBS $3.3 million for a smut-filled episode of teen drama Without a Trace, CBS filed a FOIA request asking for information on complaints the show generated. The station found 4,211 people had complained about the episode's depiction of a teen orgy. But according to CBS, it's not clear that any of those 4,221 had ever, you know, seen the show:
All of the 4,211 e-mailed complaints came from Web sites operated by the Parents Television Council and the American Family Association, the stations said in a filing on Monday.
In only two of the emails did those complaining say they had watched the program, and those two apparently refer to a "brief, out-of-context segment" of the episode that was posted on the Parents Television Council's Web site, the affiliates' filing said.
"There were no true complainants from actual viewers," the stations said. To be valid, complaints must come from an actual viewer in the service area of the station at issue, the filing said.
It's amazing how 4,221 people can manage to avoid watching such programming, even as our all-powerful CBS overlords strap us down, tape our eyes open, and beam offensive images into our soft brains.
Potentially salacious, but ultimately disappointing, video clip here.
Reason's Jacob Sullum called out the complaint-generating PTC machine back in March.