More Cursing Probably Coming Soon To A Television Near You
Yesterday, in a ruling that surprisingly really didn’t get a lot of attention, a US Appeals court declared unconstitutional the FCC’s broadcast decency standards which had been in place since 1978 when George Carlin’s infamous “Seven Dirty Words” routine was broadcast by a radio station.
That is…significant. Because it would appear as though, right now, broadcasters can broadcast pretty much anything they want without fear of fines or other regulatory action by the FCC.
If this situation lasts for any significant amount of time, expect broadcast programmers who have long been at a disadvantage to cable and satellite programming when it comes to edgier content, to start taking advantage and pushing their new limits. Or, more accurately, lack thereof.
A bad thing? I don’t really think so. The FCC’s decency standards were pretty absurd. For instance, the FCC once ruled that the use of the word “bullshit” on an episode of NYPD Blue was indecent, but the use of the term “dick head” was not. Doesn’t make a lot of sense, does it?
Personally, I say we never bring the decency standards back. I don’t think the government should be wasting tax dollars trying to define what is and is not subjectively “decent” for a viewing/listening audience as large and diverse as America’s. Plus, they did a crappy job of it. Plus, in the digital age, broadcast media is such a tiny sliver of overall content as to make the FCC’s efforts to protect the American public from f-bombs all but meaningless.
I’m all for ratings systems. A little warning about the content of a given show or movie is much appreciated. But outside of that, if you don’t like what you’re listening to or watching then change the channel or station. Nothing sends a louder message to media providers than a dip in ratings.Tags: broadcast media, censorship, cursing, Entertainment, fcc, Freedom Of Speech, radio, television