Fuck the FCC – in its Ass

I really can’t express myself in any other terms after reading this.

[The FCC} fined KCSM, a public broadcaster operated out of San Mateo Community College, $15,000 for profanity that aired in the Martin Scorcese-produced documentary “The Blues: Godfathers and Sons.” In a 2006 order, the commission said, “The gratuitous and repeated use of this language [the word “fuck”] in a program that San Mateo aired at a time when children were expected to be in the audience is shocking.”

Scorcese replied in a letter to the FCC last year that he had “deep concern over the adverse impact that the FCC’s actions will have on the creative process generally.”

Why did the FCC pick on tiny KCSM? Because a single viewer complained about it.

“All it takes is one viewer to complain,” said Marilyn Lawrence, KCSM’s general manager. Given the $200,000 in discretionary spending the station has in its $5 million budget, Lawrence said $15,000 isn’t an insignificant amount. Although the station is appealing the fine, KCSM remains skittish about attracting the FCC’s attention again.

For a recent art history show it aired, the station instructed its producers to airbrush the nude behind of the Venus de Milo statue. While KCSM has restored the full contours of Venus’ marble behind in subsequent airings, it still precedes the program with a “Viewer Discretion Advised” warning that states, “The following program is a college-level telecourse and may contain subject matter intended for mature audiences.”

The station also still pixelates bare body parts in movies like 1967’s PG-rated “The Graduate” – even when the movie is aired as part of a film-history telecourse. The station is so scared about profanity leaks that it bleeped out a person cursing in German in an English TV program it aired.

“Now, my staff spends at least half a day a week looking for those types of things,” Lawrence said. (Source, The Legal Reader Blog.

Full source story link provided at the Legal Reader.

6 Responses to Fuck the FCC – in its Ass

  1. AGhostInTheSnow says:

    Are you Fucking kidding me?! I’ve had a problem with the FCC for years now, after I saw how they vilified guys like Howard Stern, Bubba the Love Sponge and CBS for what?! A few penis and vag jokes, a satirical take on Sesame Street characters smoking pot and an accidental (or not) nipple slip. Well, let me be the first to say, thank you FCC for saving us from these horrors and shocking matters by justly enriching your own pockets through the levying of ridiculous fines. Now if only they had fucked with Tommy from Scorcese’s “Goodfellas”…..

  2. AGhostInTheSnow says:

    You should send the FCC your “Fuck Brief”…. it’s an eloquent argument for the use of a word which has embedded itself in the everyday American’s lexicon. The FCC should not be allowed to levy a $15k fine for ONE person’s complaint… the FCC shouldn’t be able to levy fines for any person’s complaint, if they didn’t want to listen they had the option of turning the knob and tuning out.

    Zac

  3. Kurt Hunt says:

    The broadcast indecency standard is painfully (and probably unconstitutionally) vague, and this is pretty much the only possible result of that. Broadcasters become so risk averse that they refuse to air anything remotely questionable, and our culture is lessened because of it. If you haven’t read it, check out the 2nd Circuit’s recent decision on fleeting expletives; the opinion has a bunch of dicta about how the current standard probably can’t withstand constitutional muster. I seriously doubt anything will come of it, but it’s a nice analysis of why the indecency regime is bad.

    Just so happens I’m working on a note on broadcast indecency; I’ll keep you updated as it gets closer to publication.

  4. Sixteen million Americans fought in WWII. A half-million of them died in it. That’s equal to the entire population of Washington, DC. Or of Wyoming.

    Very few of those 16,000,000 are still alive, and a dwindling number of Americans actually knows one of them. To create and preserve a record of what actually happened, Ken Burns has made a 14-hour documentary for PBS. It has exactly four instances of words you might hear—or say—if someone were trying to kill you.

    The Parents Television Council plans to scour those fourteen hours for the four words they don’t want anyone to say or hear. They will again pressure the FCC—that’s your government at work—to punish stations carrying the program if they think the nation’s children shouldn’t see it, regardless of what their parents want.

    The PTC is going to look at a 14-hour program about a war that killed 72,000,000 human beings, and they are going to focus on two “fucks,” one “asshole and a “shit.” How juvenile is this response? How obsessed are these people?

    Why do they have a seat at America’s public policy table? Why, in a world of 21st century telecommunications, is the FCC now in the business of counting magic syllables?

    How can it be good for America’s families when the government decides what programs parents are allowed to show their children about the most serious subject in the history of humanity—war?

    PBS stations across the country are wondering if they need to show a version of the documentary stripped of the four—count them, four—“offensive” words. Each station risks fines starting at $325,000 if the FCC decides they have violated some nebulous, arbitrary, and thoroughly unconstitutional rule about “inappropriate” content. To local stations in Atlanta and San Francisco, much less Little Rock and Kansas City, 1/3 of a million dollars is a lot of money. You can’t use integrity to pay rent and salaries. You need cash.

    The PTC is unmoved by any adult discussion about art, literacy, history, parental responsibility, or basic decency. “It’s hard to believe that removing four words are going to significantly damage the program,” says PTC president Tim Winter.

    He is clueless about what those half-million Americans died for. And he is clueless about the dangers of writing history to pacify consumers of that history. Ask people who lived in the Soviet Union, where history changed with each new regime. “In most countries, the future is unpredictable,” the joke went. “In the USSR, the past is unpredictable, too.”

    Are those four words of any importance whatsoever?

    Only if an American can’t say them, and an American can’t hear them, and an American can’t decide whether or not his kid can hear them—because the government is deciding for us.

    Goddam it, isn’t this what those half-million Americans died for in that war?

  5. AGhostInTheSnow says:

    Wow! Very well put, Dr. Klein.

    Zac

  6. splifton says:

    I think the FCC is doing a FINE job.

    Why don’t people understand that in order to Receive Jesus Christ Message, it must be pure or spirit. Watching the profane and titilating material only gets you further away from Christ Love.

    I believe that Children are the Future, teach them well, then let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they posses inside, give them a sense of pride… How can we do this if words like “Fuck” and pictures of “naked” human beings are broadcast on public airwaves.

    Its not TV its HBO.
    -Feldman

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