In his latest culture column, Brent Bozell notes that federal judges have declared that they don't believe in "judicial second-guessing," but they're going to completely prevent the FCC from doing anything to punish the networks for ripping bras off at Super Bowl halftime shows and all kinds of other fleeting moments of televised sleaze. There may be no Washington pushback against indecency from whichever candidate wins the White House in November:
Disturbing signs are now emerging that the next administration – no matter which party – will be bowing before Hollywood and its fat-cat lobbyists and waving the white flag of surrender on policing nudity and profanity on television. At a recent forum in Washington, representatives of both Barack Obama and John McCain insisted their candidates would step away from FCC Chairman Kevin Martin’s attempts to draw attention to the problem of broadcast indecency.
Speaking for Obama, former Clinton FCC chairman Bill Kennard claimed “We have a lot of headlines about the Janet Jackson case, but it really doesn't address the key issue, which is how we can protect our families and our kids from harmful content.” Wouldn’t fines discourage broadcasters from allowing profane “mistakes”? But Kennard, like every slick telecom lobbyist in Washington, insisted on the absurd line that the V-chip and other technological frauds can help parents protect their children. No V-chip would have – could have -- stopped millions of children from being flashed by Janet Jackson. Kennard knows that, of course. But lobbying means never having to say you’re being honest.
Kennard also unfurled the other line every libertine uses, arguing that since profanity and explicit sex are spreading across every other media platform, from cable and satellite TV to the Internet to cell phones, it’s now outmoded to try and regulate the indecency on broadcast television. Blow up every dam, and the let the flood begin.
Sadly, the representative for John McCain was equally useless. John Kneuer completely agreed with Kennard. The legal framework for indecency enforcement was “overdue for examination.” The framework is outdated, created long before cable and satellite TV. He proclaimed the need for a new framework that “all parties and consumers can understand.”
We are currently headed toward a framework that all consumers should understand. It’s very simple: “You’re on your own.”