FCC rules ‘indecent’

Staff Editorial The Columbia Chronicle (Columbia College)

(U-WIRE) CHICAGO – It’s been nearly three decades since George Carlin offered up his seven words you can’t say on television, in his “Filthy Words” routine, and sadly, not much seems to have changed since then.

Perhaps it’s the unjust backlash from “nipple gate” during the Super Bowl halftime show, or perhaps it’s a security blanket draped over us by George Bush’s puritanical reign of “family values.”

In any case, four-letter words are now taboo on television again, as well as nudity, violence, frank discussions of sexuality or anything that might resemble a realistic portrayal of human behavior.

And the Federal Communications Commission is making sure it stays that way.

Multimedia despots such as Clear Channel (which owns 1,200 radio stations and a large percentage of all the media outlets in the United States) have begun cozying up to the federal government’s audacious and ignorant tactics in the hopes of creating good will in preparation for Bush’s almost certain victory in November.

On March 3, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee voted to end a measure that would dramatically stiffen penalties against television and radio broadcasters who air “indecent material” to the House of Representatives.

The bill, which the committee approved at a near unanimous measure of 49-1 and was recommended by the FCC, approved fines of up to $500,000 per violation, in addition to agreeing to require the FCC to hold hearings on revoking a broadcaster’s license after three violations.

“We have forged what I believe is a bill that will protect young people from indecency and deter companies from pushing the envelope of appropriate broadcasting,” said Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the primary author of the bill.

On Feb. 26, Clear Channel pulled Howard Stern off of six of its stations in compliance with the FCC’s new “zero tolerance” policy, claiming indecency on the part of the popular shock jock.

Stern’s crime?

He had the audacity to criticize Bush and the FCC.

Moral crusaders like Upton have been wringing their hands for decades at the “decline of moral standards” in this country, but it wasn’t until Janet Jackson exposed her pierced nipple to the entire country did they have a facade to advance their agenda.

Despite what the members of the bourgeois and intellectually stunted crusaders club argue, there is no call for the government to be zealously regulating, let alone censoring what they find offensive to their backward and antiquated sense of decency.

We’ve heard all the arguments, but the simple fact remains that the government is there to provide and secure the rights of the people, not alter them, despite what their mutated sense of decorum dictates.

People have a right to express themselves, regardless of how controversial or unpopular their views may be. Any trampling or restriction on these core ideals is tantamount to treason.