Thursday, August 18, 2005

"Complaints to FCC down" but don't rejoice yet...

On the surface, a headline like Complaints to FCC down sharply in '05 is good news but you have to wonder why this is happening. Is it because the FCC rules about obscenity are still so obscure that radio and TV stations are desperately policing themselves, scared of what their perceived violations might be?

This includes someone as unbelievably innocuous as Prairie Home Companion's Garrison Keillor. Apparently, he was saucy enough to say the word 'breast' on the air (you know, like the thing that Janet Jackson has revealed at the Superbowl?). As Keillor noted, context should ideally mean something: "Should you say 'elbow of snow' instead of 'breast of snow'?" Also, if a news report is about breast cancer screening, should women not be informed of potentially life-saving information because the FCC won't tell stations if this appropriate or not?

I'd hope that any sane, rational person would see this as disgraceful. I'd also like to encourage people to complain to the FCC but not about obscenity. I think we should complain about the atmosphere of fear and censorship that they've promoted. Tell them to stop intimidating stations with fines for laws that they refuse to define. Remember that the FCC is a government agency and it's your tax dollars that fund them and they're supposed to be regulating the airwaves in the interest of the public and that's you. Until people stand up to them and remind them of their responsibilities, this madness is going to continue.

As they themselves tell you, "Filing a Complaint with the FCC Is EASY." See their complaint website and give them a piece of your mind.


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