More on FCC policy on linguistic hygiene

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Thu Jun 7 13:34:15 UTC 2007

[June 5, 2007, 5:32 pm]
"Federal Court Throws Out FCC Policy" A federal court has dealt a huge
setback to an effort to clean up the public airwaves. Now, upset parents are
responding to the court decision that could open the door for more foul
language on prime-time television. At issue is whether the Federal
Communications Commission, or FCC, can punish networks for airing obscene
language. After rock star Bono and reality star Nicole Richie both dropped
"f-bombs" during prime-time network broadcasts, the FCC toughened up its
indecency policy. A New York court, however, says the FCC's indecency policy
is, "divorced from reality."

For Dianna Grant, correcting her three-year-old from repeating any bad words
she heard first from mom, is one thing.  Trying to go behind all of the
things she might hear on television, is another. "I don't always use perfect
language and as soon as it comes out of my mouth, what is the first thing my
child says?  Exactly what I just said… When they laugh, it's like hahaha,
let me try that and see if I can make it funny too," she said. Grant is like
a lot of parents, not exactly prudish when it comes to profanity, but
believes it doesn't belong on network TV either. She said, "I think it
should be censored, should bebleeped out. It shouldn't be over the network,
not out in the open like that, no."

While it's easy for the networks to do in scripted TV shows, when it comes
to live programming, with live people who use that kind of language, it's
nearly impossible to govern.
The FCC policy, put into place after Bono blurted the f-word on a 2003
Golden Globes' broadcast, imposes heavy fines on networks that air them. A
New York court threw out that policy, saying it's capricious and arbitrary.
David Shannon, a Church of Christ minister in Mt. Juliet, believes those
words, whether live or scripted, do not belong on nationaltelevision and
that airing them not only sends a wrong message, but has a negative impact
on the culture. He said, "Somebody needs to say, 'Here's a standard and
let's respect that standard and let's set that standard for what's gonna be
best for our youngest citizens as well as the oldest.'"

The television networks are happy, saying the FCC's policy served one
purpose, and that was to control artistic expression. The FCC can appeal the
ruling and at least one chairman hinted that the case might eventually wind
up before the Supreme Court. Chairman Kevin Martin said without a policy,
Hollywood can sayanything it wants, whenever it wants.

Copyright 2007 by WKRN Nashville Tennessee. All Rights Reserved.

N.b.: Listing on the lgpolicy-list is merely intended as a service to its
and implies neither approval, confirmation nor agreement by the owner or
sponsor of
the list as to the veracity of a message's contents. Members who disagree
with a
message are encouraged to post a rebuttal. (H. Schiffman, Moderator)
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the Lgpolicy-list mailing list