A court has ruled that the FCC’s stiff penalties for a “fleeting expletive” on broadcast TV are unconstitutionally vague.
Specifically, the judges said the FCC isn’t clear enough on what’s permissible and what’s not. In one instance, the FCC concluded that uttering a term to describe bull excrement in an episode of the police drama “NYPD Blue” was offensive. But apparently the expression for kissing another’s derriere is permissible, the court noted.
The judges said the FCC hasn’t given clear guidelines on its two main tests for indecency: whether material describes or depicts sexual or excretory organs or activities, and whether a broadcast is “patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards.”
“The English language is rife with creative ways of depicting sexual or excretory organs or activities,” the judges wrote, “and even if the FCC were able to provide a complete list of all such expressions, new offensive and indecent words are invented every day.”
How about a big “F*CK YEAH!” for creativity! And wow, do I miss George Carlin (NSFW).
The court petition stems from the FCC’s change in indecency policies in 2004 to include fleeting expletives and other impromptu indecent material in TV and radio broadcasts.
That decision, during the Bush administration and the tenure of then-FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin, stemmed from complaints after rock star Bono described his Golden Globe award — during live prime-time hours on NBC — as “[expletive] brilliant.” The FCC declared that a single, nonliteral use of an expletive, or a “fleeting expletive,” could be “actionably indecent.”
The Concerned Women are twitterpated.
The Parents Television Council called the decision a “slap in the face,” and Concerned Women for America, an advocacy group for indecency rules, urged the agency to appeal, lest broadcast television be open to the sexually explicit content and language of cable programs such as “The Sopranos” and “True Blood.”
Both Dick Cheney and I have a suggestion for the Concerned Women of America.