FCC Chairman Resembles Rumsfeld, And TV Sleaze Is Like Missing WMD?
Brent Bozell's entertainment column this week focuses on a Simon Dumenco column in Advertising Age magazine demanding the resignation of FCC Chairman Kevin Martin because he's too cozy with "ultra-conservatives" who want the FCC to uphold broadcast decency standards in any way:
If Dumenco wants to play Donald Trump and fire assorted government officials that bring him displeasure, perhaps he shouldn’t start with Mr. Martin, who is merely enforcing the law as it stands. Memo to Mr. Dumenco: If Martin refused to enforce decency provisions, then he would be in violation of the law.
When it comes to the newly enhanced fines that Hollywood hates, perhaps Dumenco should first call for the resignation of the almost 400 House members and the 99 or so Senators who voted for them. Then he should call for the resignation of President Bush, who took the legislation approved by virtually everyone in Congress (and when was the last time that happened?) and signed it into law.
There’s more Mr. Dumenco could do, if properly motivated. He could call for the resignation of the Supreme Court of 1978, which upheld the FCC’s duty to enforce indecency provisions for broadcasters. Liberal lion John Paul Stevens wrote for the Court majority that children are “uniquely accessible” to broadcasters, and that curse words were out on the distasteful periphery of First Amendment concerns. Maybe he should step down?
But perhaps the most inept analogy Dumenco unleashed was to compare Mr. Martin to a liberal attack dog’s chew toy: outgoing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
Like Donald Rumsfeld before him, Kevin Martin has stubbornly and willfully relied on faulty intelligence that does not reflect reality outside of a certain hermetically sealed bubble. Martin and his ultra-conservative religious allies would have us believe that they've found the moral equivalent of WMDs on our airwaves: an epidemic of foulness that necessitates the FCC's invasion of American living rooms to protect us from broadcast evildoers.
This makes absolutely no sense because (1) not even the networks are charging that the profanities and teen orgies and stripper whipped-creme scenes they’ve aired are non-existent (or leftovers from the 1980s) and (2) no one speaking up against indecency has compared a curse word or an exposed breast to mustard gas or a nuclear weapon.
Dumenco also creates the straw man that people who'd like to draw the line at F-bombs want to turn all of TV into "Blue's Clues" or "The 700 Club." But he is the one who's suggesting that you cannot draw a line anywhere or you've ruined TV everywhere.
Brent goes on to make a larger point about how the entertainment and advertising trade publications resolutely fail to be skeptical watchdogs of their industry. Instead, they are show poodles for the "creative community" and their crusade for unrestrained broadcast cursing.