Like Steve Earle sang, Fuck the FCC. Aren’t we modern enough not to worry what words are excitedly uttered over the airwaves? If the FCC wants to regulate filth, why is Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck still on the air? If the American Christian Taliban weren’t so powerful, this wouldn’t even be worthy of discussion.
A United States appeals court tossed out the indecency policy of the Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday, calling it a violation of the First Amendment.
An appeals panel said the F.C.C. policy was “unconstitutionally vague, creating a chilling effect that goes far beyond the fleeting expletives at issue here.”
The ruling was immediately characterized as a victory for big broadcasters like ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC, which have been fighting the indecency policy for years.
Tuesday’s ruling vacates a 2004 decision by the Bush administration F.C.C. to step up enforcement of the indecency policy on the broadcast airwaves. Earlier that year, the singer Janet Jackson’s breast was bared during the Super Bowl halftime show on CBS, reigniting a decades-old debate about broadcast standards.
But Tuesday’s ruling deals more specifically with the F.C.C. policy toward so-called fleeting expletives. After several curse words were uttered during awards shows in 2002 and 2003, the F.C.C. concluded that a single use of an expletive “could be actionably indecent,” triggering fines against broadcasters.
(click to continue reading Appeals Court Strikes Down Indecency Rule – Media Decoder Blog – NYTimes.com.)