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The 7 - Current Events & Politics - Lawmaker Targets Profanity on Airwaves Register and log in to post!
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Leroy
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#1 Posted on 16.12.03 0955.24
Reposted on: 16.12.10 0955.42
I found this a bit infuriating... all over a few four letter words. I am actually surprised the FCC didn;t fine them straight out...

------------------

Lawmaker Targets Profanity on Airwaves

Mon Dec 15, 8:31 PM ET

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By ERICA WERNER, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON -

A California lawmaker, upset that rock star Bono used vulgarity on live TV and regulators have done nothing about it, wants to ban certain swear words from the airwaves. Republican Rep. Doug Ose said he was amazed when the Federal Communications Commission (news - web sites) refused to take action against television stations that showed the U2 frontman using an expletive at the Golden Globe Awards (news - web sites) last January.

The FCC (news - web sites)'s enforcement bureau said in October that Bono's comment was an adjective or expletive that did not meet its definition of indecency or obscenity because it did not describe a sexual function.

"C'mon, give me a break," said Ose. "I don't think there's a parent in the country who wants to hear this stuff come out of their TV."

He introduced a bill last week that would punish television and radio broadcasters if they aired any of eight specific words and phrases. The language of the bill, the Clean Airwaves Act, is far saltier than Bono's comment.

The five FCC commissioners, responding to an appeal by the Parents Television Council, a Los Angeles-based watchdog group, are reviewing the October decision regarding Bono's comment.


(edited by Leroy on 16.12.03 0757)
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redsoxnation
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#2 Posted on 16.12.03 1008.26
Reposted on: 16.12.10 1009.08
The simple rule should always apply: If a show is live, then there is nothing that can be done. If its on 7 second delay and its not bleeped, fine them. Yet another example of why Congress has WAY to much time on their hands.
Grimis
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#3 Posted on 16.12.03 1049.16
Reposted on: 16.12.10 1049.39
Here is the bill in PDF, which is funny becuase the words are actually in the bill.

What's not funny is the up to two years in prison one can get for doing it.

This bill has little chance of getting out of the Senate and probably wouldn't cause too much of a stir unless some knucklehead judge imprisons somebody.

Of course, this is a waste of everyone's time and frankly imprisoned not more than two years should be removed from the law in the first place.
CRZ
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#4 Posted on 16.12.03 1247.34
Reposted on: 16.12.10 1247.38
    Originally posted by Grimis
    Here is the bill in PDF, which is funny becuase the words are actually in the bill.

    What's not funny is the up to two years in prison one can get for doing it.

    This bill has little chance of getting out of the Senate and probably wouldn't cause too much of a stir unless some knucklehead judge imprisons somebody.

    Of course, this is a waste of everyone's time and frankly imprisoned not more than two years should be removed from the law in the first place.

I dunno, two years in prison for Bono might be a larf.

Interesting that they didn't include "God damn," which some people find to be the ULTIMATE perjorative. Maybe they left it out to avoid the appearance of pandering to the religious right?
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#5 Posted on 16.12.03 1317.49
Reposted on: 16.12.10 1318.02
I'm unclear on the usage here. What's the difference between 'asshole' and 'ass hole'? And it's illegal to say 'cock sucker' but not illegal to say 'you suck cock'?

-Jag
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#6 Posted on 16.12.03 1441.01
Reposted on: 16.12.10 1441.58
If Bono is going to be jailed for anything, it should be his early 80's haircut.

Also, if you're letting your kid stay up to watch the Golden Globes, then they're probably old enough to not be affected by a little cursing.

PalpatineW
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#7 Posted on 16.12.03 1823.06
Reposted on: 16.12.10 1825.08
If the airwaves are publically owned, and the majority of the public finds these words objectionable, why can't we regulate this "obscenity?"
Leroy
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#8 Posted on 16.12.03 1843.44
Reposted on: 16.12.10 1845.06
    Originally posted by PalpatineW
    If the airwaves are publically owned, and the majority of the public finds these words objectionable, why can't we regulate this "obscenity?"


We do - it's whatever the courts find obscene.

FCC: OBSCENE AND INDECENT BROADCASTS

There are two distinct legal definitions - indecency and obscenity. Indecency is very specfic and covers the "7 words you cannot say on TV" and any graphic description of a sexual or excretory. There are exceptions - such as a live newscast (i.e. if a reporter is covering a story and someone randomly yells out profanity, the station isn't at fault).

Obscenity is a much broader term, and it is literally up the court to define it - usually, the courts don't want to touch it with a 10 ft pool. Regradless of what you personally find offensive - someone else may find it artistic.

The problem is, the FCC has never been consistent as to what they enforce and what they do not. There was a case against a community radio station in Oregon (KBOO) which aired a Sarah Jones rap song that had not one profanity in it - but they still tried to fine the station (they later rescinded the fine, but I believe the station had to pay its own legal fees).

FCC listens to rap again, drops KBOO indecency fine

Howard Stern and company supposedly get fined regularly, but the advertising income more than covers what they pay in FCC fines.

In my view, it's all hogwash - and you should be able to say whatever you want - most stations have their own standards anyway. This is one area where I think there should be little to no regulation if you want to have free speech.

redsoxnation
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#9 Posted on 16.12.03 1907.56
Reposted on: 16.12.10 1910.59
    Originally posted by PalpatineW
    If the airwaves are publically owned, and the majority of the public finds these words objectionable, why can't we regulate this "obscenity?"








Taken to the next extent, FOX Game of the Week could cause people to be sent to jail should boom mic's pick up some off color language occurring in the stands during say a Red Sox/Yankees game.
Jaguar
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#10 Posted on 16.12.03 2008.57
Reposted on: 16.12.10 2009.32
    Originally posted by PalpatineW
    If the airwaves are publically owned, and the majority of the public finds these words objectionable, why can't we regulate this "obscenity?"


Here I thought you were a Republican? If we don't regulate who owns the stations, why should we regulate what airs on them? If people really don't like obscenities on their radio/tv, then obviously those stations will go out of business. Right? Conservatives are for LESS regulations and government interference with business. Right?

-Jag
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#11 Posted on 16.12.03 2152.12
Reposted on: 16.12.10 2158.20
    Originally posted by Jaguar
      Originally posted by PalpatineW
      If the airwaves are publically owned, and the majority of the public finds these words objectionable, why can't we regulate this "obscenity?"


    Here I thought you were a Republican? If we don't regulate who owns the stations, why should we regulate what airs on them? If people really don't like obscenities on their radio/tv, then obviously those stations will go out of business. Right? Conservatives are for LESS regulations and government interference with business. Right?

    -Jag


Jag, shame on you. Republican pols want is to make sure that they regulate your personal life. That cancels out the less interference in business argument in this case. They know what is best for you in terms of all aspects of your life from your viewing pleasure to what position to use in the bedroom.

Seriously, this is nothing more than a great way to obtain publicity and look moral. And as I have said many times before, issues like this divert attention from solving real problems. I would assume there are bigger problems in CA right now?
vsp
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#12 Posted on 17.12.03 0804.52
Reposted on: 17.12.10 0806.38
Someone needs to send Ose the "It Hits The Fan" episode of South Park, just so they can watch his head explode Scanners-style.

I'm always amused by lawmakers who not only think that they can regulate America until it looks and sounds like Pleasantville, but that doing so _is a good idea_.
The Thrill
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#13 Posted on 17.12.03 0832.25
Reposted on: 17.12.10 0833.37
    Originally posted by CRZ
    Interesting that they didn't include "God damn," which some people find to be the ULTIMATE perjorative. Maybe they left it out to avoid the appearance of pandering to the religious right?


What I wanna know is, when "goddamn" gets bleeped on radio and TV, why is it the "God" part that gets the bleep, while "damn" airs just fine? You'd think the swear word would be the one what gets the tone treatment, as opposed to a deity that many viewers worship.

Go figure.
Grimis
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#14 Posted on 17.12.03 0833.21
Reposted on: 17.12.10 0834.10
    Originally posted by The Thrill
    as opposed to a deity that many viewers worship.
But we can't talk about THAT in public, now can we?
A-MOL
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#15 Posted on 17.12.03 0837.28
Reposted on: 17.12.10 0837.59
Does the US have a 'watershed' at all? Generally in the UK, it's accepted that after 9pm, you may be subjected to foul language, mild violence and, if your lucky, a bit of nipple. And if that offends you, be real careful after 10pm.

I'm trying to think of words that have not been used on British TV. I think all boundaries came down when the "c__t" word was uttered on BBC2 earlier this year.
vsp
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#16 Posted on 17.12.03 0849.18
Reposted on: 17.12.10 0850.09
On American network television, the barriers are being broken down very slowly. Shows like "NYPD Blue" pushed the envelope regarding rear nudity, and it seems to me that there was a network show that showed a breast once in a medical context and the world didn't spontaneously end. In general, nudity on network TV is a no-no.

Likewise, certain words from George Carlin's list have snuck into acceptable network-TV usage -- mostly minor stuff.

On "basic" cable TV, the standards are a bit looser. Most shows that include substantial amounts of nudity and/or profanity are aired after 10 PM, and many networks are self-censoring. For example, you'll hear "shit" or "asshole" on South Park at 10, but the same network will air a dubbed version of a movie at 8 that censors out the same words. If a basic-cable station does air an unedited movie with naughty bits in it, they hype the hell out of it, put it on late and include a bunch of disclaimers.

On "premium" cable (channels like HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, etc., plus pay-per-view), pretty much the only limits are those that the networks place upon themselves.

Radio is monitored a bit more closely, but even then there are certain time ranges and frequency ranges that are not actively monitored by the FCC. I remember listening to college radio and hearing songs like Superchunk's "Slack Motherfucker" after midnight...

All of the above is subject to the indecency/obscenity debate mentioned earlier, of course, which basically boils down to "obscenity is whatever some yahoo in Georgia who feels like filing a lawsuit thinks it is."


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#17 Posted on 17.12.03 0851.26
Reposted on: 17.12.10 0852.14
    Originally posted by vsp
    Someone needs to send Ose the "It Hits The Fan" episode of South Park, just so they can watch his head explode Scanners-style.

    I'm always amused by lawmakers who not only think that they can regulate America until it looks and sounds like Pleasantville, but that doing so _is a good idea_.



Maybe george Orwell was right. Personally, I think that using profaniy in public settings shows two things. A lack of intellect or the willingnes to use it. And the hope of getting a reaction like a two year old does when he thinks he is saying something naughty. Does it bother me? Not really, I just think its sort of juvenile.

On dramas, etc. if it fits the story and the character, I have no problem at all with it. Of course we monitor what our daughter watches. In fairness though, she heard most of it from dad, in fact just last week when I had to put the Frazier fir up and the damn trunk was crooked.
PalpatineW
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#18 Posted on 19.12.03 0235.40
Reposted on: 19.12.10 0240.53
What is the difference between public airwaves and public school? The first amendment lets me shout "nigger" at a clan meeting, but (reasonably) not in a public school.
You can't have your cake, and eat it too. The government is perfectly free to regulate speech on public property; that's part of the whole "public" deal.

And for those who asked, no, I don't believe in the idea of public airwaves, basically for these reasons.

Edit:

    Originally posted by Leroy
    Is it too much to ask that prison rape not be used to sell soda?
>

    Originally posted by Leroy
    In my view, it's all hogwash - and you should be able to say whatever you want - most stations have their own standards anyway. This is one area where I think there should be little to no regulation if you want to have free speech.


Well?

(edited by PalpatineW on 19.12.03 0403)
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#19 Posted on 19.12.03 1007.15
Reposted on: 19.12.10 1007.16
Dammit, Kerry - look what you did. Last week, you go and invent swearing, and now it's gotten so out of control, we need to make a law!
Leroy
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#20 Posted on 19.12.03 1145.47
Reposted on: 19.12.10 1147.44
    Originally posted by PalpatineW
    Well?


Are you seriously unable to discern between having the right to say something, and whether or not you should ACTUALLY say it?

There was no regulation that forced them to pull the ad - and wouldn't be in favour of legislating one.

They pulled it because they had a goal - sell more soda - and poeple who found it offensive spoke up and said, "Look, you shouldn't use prision rape to sell soda."

And that's how the system should work.

(edited by Leroy on 19.12.03 1056)

(edited by Leroy on 19.12.03 1130)
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