FCC: The Police


The FCC has accepted the argument that (a) it's OK to broadcast the word "bullshitter" during a news interview, and (b) the category "news interview" is broad enough to include a chat with a contestant from Survivor Vanuatu.

First Amendment fans shouldn't get too excited, though. Two other indecency rulings went the other way, and Michael Powell's successor as FCC chairman, Emeric Pressburger Kevin Martin, shows no sign of retiring his role as censor-in-chief. "Hollywood continues to argue they should be able to say the F-word on television whenever they want," he said. "The commission again disagrees."

And then there's this:

Broadcasters, who had challenged the original ruling as unconstitutional, … reiterated their long-standing complaint that FCC guidelines remain inconsistent and murky.

And one commissioner, Jonathan S. Adelstein, alleged that the reversals were not made on merit but to improve the agency's chances of winning the broadcasters' lawsuit by jettisoning its weakest parts.

"Litigation strategy should not be the dominant factor guiding policy when 1st Amendment protections are at stake," Adelstein said.


NEXT: The Radical Deaf

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  1. so now the fcc is going to go back to making awesome movies like the red shoes, rather than just okay movies like peeping tom?

  2. Take away the right to say fuck and you take away the right to say fuck the government.

  3. Interesting.

    Neither “The Canterbury Tales” nor the complete works of William Shakespeare could make it past the FCC if they were produced in their entirety as TV programs.

  4. fuck that, what is a word going to do? “oh noes my children heard fuck on TV they’re brains will rot with this evil word of curse” It has consistantly baffled me tht in a supposedly free country we have more censored television than cuba.

  5. The FCC still has to apologize to each and every one of us for their silence on the Saving Private Ryan debacle a few years back, where stations refused to air it because of uncertainty that they might face indecency fines.

  6. This is why bin Laden’s tapes always said “Death To America” rather than “Fuck America”. He was just being compliant with the FCC. Can’t have the message censored, ya know.

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