(Please be aware that there is some harsh language below. Politicians are quoted.)
Blurted Obscenities Don’t Breach Decency
Morning Edition, June 5, 2007 · A federal appeals panel ruled that blurted obscenities do not violate decency standards. The decision was a strong rebuke of the Federal Communications Commission. Under President Bush, the FCC has taken a much harder line on airing profanities — even unscripted expletives during live broadcasts. Four major TV networks faced multimillion-dollar indecency fines. But the judges ruled in their favor, saying that if President Bush and Vice President Cheney can blurt out profanities, then the government can’t punish TV stations for doing the same.
For anyone who missed this, two years ago, at the direction of the White House, the FCC multiplied it’s fines for indecency by a factor of ten. They jumped from $32,500 to $325,000. Following that, the agency began issuing record numbers of citations, cleaning up the airways for We the Idiots, victimized by our own inability to change the channel.
While this was happening, our elected leaders were dirtying up the place with a bunch of foul language of their own. As when Bush told Tony Blair over an open mic “See the irony is what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit and it’s over.” Or when Dick Cheney told Patrick Leahy to “Fuck off.” Bush (again over an open mic) tells Cheney that Adam Clymer, New York Times reporter is a “major league asshole” to which Cheney agrees, “Oh yeah. He is. Big time.” According to his mother, Newt Gingrich calls the First Lady a bitch, and ex-Senator George Allen calls a dark-skinned Indian man a “macaca,” a nasty racial slur for blacks in the country of his mother’s birth.
Setting aside the obvious and enormous ironies of this situation, I’d like to focus instead on something that Kevin Martin, the Chairman of the FCC said regarding this case. Claiming that the court was “divorced from reality,” (which, in fairness, is what the court said about the FCC) Martin went on to bottom-line his concerns. He stated that unless the FCC was able to levee these extraordinary fines against TV networks, that “Hollywood will be able to say anything they want, whenever they want.”
Hunh. Imagine that. Americans, able to say anything they want, whenever they want. There’s not much I can really add to that.
In closing, if you’re concerned about the ears getting burned off of your children as they sit down to a happy evening of NYPD Blue or The Shield, I suggest you look once more for guidance to our leader, President Bush.
“Every day our nation’s parents strive to raise their children in a culture that too often produces coarse, vulgar and obscene entertainment. In our free society, parents have the final responsibility over the television shows that their children watch, or the websites they visit, or the music they listen to. That’s a responsibility of moms and dads all across the country, to make sure their children are listening to or watching the right kind of programming.
The best way to do that is for parents to be vigilant, pay attention to what their children are doing. One thing they can do if they’re worried about people watching a bad program is turn off the TV. That’s why they put the ‘on-off’ button there.”