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FCC: Over 99% of indecency complaints are from ONE group


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#41 of 76 OFFLINE   Elinor

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Posted December 16 2004 - 05:06 AM

>"I can't even formulate a response for that attitude. So because they are "public" airwaves, there mustn't be anything offensive on them? Wow...just...wow."

Wow?

Here Tony. Try some reality.

http://www.fcc.gov/e...adcast/opi.html


It is a violation of federal law to broadcast obscene, profane or indecent programming. The prohibition is set forth at Title 18 United States Code, Section 1464 (18 U.S.C. § 1464). Congress has given the Federal Communications Commission the responsibility for administratively enforcing 18 U.S.C. § 1464. In doing so, the Commission may issue a warning, impose a monetary forfeiture or revoke a station license for the broadcast of obscene, profane or indecent material.

Obscene Broadcasts Prohibited at All Times

Obscene speech is not protected by the First Amendment and cannot be broadcast at any time. To be obscene, material must meet a three-prong test: (1) an average person, applying contemporary community standards, must find that the material, as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest; (2) the material must depict or describe, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by applicable law; and (3) the material, taken as a whole, must lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value. See Miller v. California, 413 U.S. 15 (1973).

Indecent Broadcasts Restricted to 10 P.M. - 6 A.M.

The Commission has defined broadcast indecency as language or material that, in context, depicts or describes, in terms patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards for the broadcast medium, sexual or excretory organs or activities. In applying the "community standards for the broadcast medium" criterion, the Commission has stated, "The determination as to whether certain programming is patently offensive is not a local one and does not encompass any particular geographic area. Rather, the standard is that of an average broadcast viewer or listener and not the sensibilities of any individual complainant." Indecent programming contains sexual or excretory references that do not rise to the level of obscenity. As such, the courts have held that indecent material is protected by the First Amendment and cannot be banned entirely. It may, however, be restricted in order to avoid its broadcast during times of day when there is a reasonable risk that children may be in the audience. For a complete summary of the Commission's case law regarding the indecency standard, see Industry Guidance On the Commission's Case Law Interpreting 18 U.S.C. § 1464 and Enforcement Policies Regarding Broadcast Indecency, 16 FCC Rcd 7999 (2001).

Consistent with a subsequent statute and federal court decisions interpreting the indecency statute, the Commission adopted a rule (47 C.F.R. § 73.3999) pursuant to which broadcasts - both on television and radio - that fit within the definition of indecency and that are aired between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. are subject to indecency enforcement action.

Profane Broadcasts Restricted to 10 P.M. - 6 A.M.

The FCC has defined profanity as “including language that denot[es] certain of those personally reviling epithets naturally tending to provoke violent resentment or denoting language so grossly offensive to members of the public who actually hear it as to amount to a nuisance.” See Complaints Against Various Broadcast Licensees Regarding Their Airing of the Golden Globe Awards Program, FCC 04-43 (released: March 18 2004) (“ Golden Globe Awards”). In announcing this definition, the FCC ruled that the single use of the “F-word” in the context of a live awards program was profane. The FCC further stated that it, “depending on the context, will also consider under the definition of profanity the “F-Word” and those words (or variants thereof) that are as highly offensive as the “F-Word,” to the extent such language is broadcast between 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. We will analyze other potentially profane words or phrases on a case-by-case basis.”

*********

Oh look. Indecent broadcasts restricted to after 10 pm.

You don't find "feeling her up" to be indecent? Ok, say it to your 5-yr. old daughter tonight. And be sure to explain what it means.

#42 of 76 OFFLINE   Elinor

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Posted December 16 2004 - 05:09 AM

>"No offense Elinor, but can you show me some numbers that indicate this, or sources that can back this claim? Or is this your opinion?"

Well of course, Tony, it is my opinion. While that might be reason enough for you to argue, it is logical.

Or do you expect to read an expose tomorrow titled "Broad Cross-Section of People Protesting Violence on TV." That really wouldn't be newsworthy would it? Or maybe you don't understand what gets headlines here.

Actually, that would be a newsworthy article ... for The Onion.

#43 of 76 OFFLINE   Jason Seaver

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Posted December 16 2004 - 05:10 AM

Quote:
Before you criticize them, tell me why they are wrong to do what they are doing (the letter writers).
Because they are trying to impose their will on what is and is not "appropriate content" on the rest of the country, and give it the force of law. This is wrong, and that there is an agency in our government willing and able to help them do it strikes me as a betrayal of the First Ammendment.

Can seeing real and/or pretend sex, violence, and bad language affect a child's mind? Yes. Hell, it can effect an adult's mind. And I don't doubt that many of the letter-writers have the very best intentions. But the broader principle of free speech, even if it's speech that makes us uncomfortable or angry, is just as important if not more so. Is it better to sacrifice your convenience for the freedom of all, or the other way around?

And even if you accept that the FCC should have some hand in regulating the content of the airwaves rather than just registering technical standards and making sure that signals don't overlap, the extremely small numbers of complaints that can lead to a fine large enough to have an effect on a country of over two hundred million puts power in a disproportionately small number of hands.

(Man, I hope I haven't crossed the "no-politics" line here)
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#44 of 76 OFFLINE   Elinor

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Posted December 16 2004 - 05:17 AM

>"Because they are trying to impose their will on what is and is not "appropriate content" on the rest of the country, and give it the force of law. This is wrong, and that there is an agency in our government willing and able to help them do it strikes me as a betrayal of the First Ammendment."

Jason, aren't they just exercising their First Amendment rights in protesting what they see? They aren't imposing their will on anyone, they are expressing their opinion. Right? Or are they only allowed to contact FCC if they agree with you?

Btw, current FCC regulations, as cited above, would have to be challenged in Court and ruled unconstitutional to be in violation of the First Amendment. I believe it has been tried more than once. The law still stands.

#45 of 76 OFFLINE   Ricardo C

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Posted December 16 2004 - 05:18 AM

Jeff,

Quote:
When it comes to the kids, I do think parents should be objecting to graphic content, regardless of whether it is violence or sexual in nature.


I would object to parents letting their kids watch CSI in the first place Posted Image We're not talking about vibrators showing up in Blue's Clues, we're talking about a show aimed squarely at adults. If a child watches it, point fingers at the parent, not the network. Parents wouldn't need to object questionable content if they didn't let their kids view it to begin with.

Elinor,

Quote:
Do you ever wonder why kids are more violent? Is there a chance that it is at least partially caused by violence in entertainment?

Quote:
Do you wonder why most kids today are sexually active before HS graduation? Is there a chance that it is at least partially caused by the increased sexual content in entertainment?

No. I believe sex and violence on film or TV are not necessarily pernicious. Overly permissive parents who can't be arsed to check what their kids are watching or doing, are a much bigger factor.

Quote:
Do you believe violence and promiscuity among children is a good thing?

Posted Image

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Do you believe ratings are an effective control measure for tv?

Ratings are a guide. Parents should be an effective control measure for the TV their children watch. Don't blame Larry Flint for Ted Bundy, blame Ted Bundy. Don't blame J.D. Salinger for Mark David Chapman, blame Mark David Chapman. And please, don't blame

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Do you blame the parents for everything bad that happens?

I blame parents who disregard the content information being provided to them by the networks and then blaming the content providers because their child watched something they object to.

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Are you a parent?

No, and neither are you. What's your point?

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Should we want less violence/sex among our children?

My fianceé and I hope to have children in a couple of years. When my children are old enough to watch TV, I intend to supervise what they watch, and should they show they are prepared to handle it, I would allow them to screen certain mature films/shows. Sex and violence do not warp minds. The cheapening of sex and the glorification of violence, might. Context is everything.

I would be comfortable with my teenaged child watching "Full Metal Jacket", for example, provided they understand the intent of the film, and that it is not a celebration of violence. "Eyes Wide Shut" would be another film I might consider letting them watch before they qualify to get into R-rated films by themselves, provided they can handle not only the content, but the context.

Once they're past 16 or so, I would hope my wife and me will have done a good enough job of raising our children that they will be discerning viewers with a good grasp on reality.

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How could we accomplish that?

I don't think anyone has the perfect answer, but I can tell you censorship is not the way to do it.

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Before you criticize them, tell me why they are wrong to do what they are doing (the letter writers).

1) They call for censorhsip.

2) They call for censorship.

3) They call for censorship.

Quote:
Personally, I think violence and sexual activity among children is bad. I think the causes are many but firmly believe there is a reciprocating relationship between a society's culture (art, entertainment) and its behavior (violence, etc.). Meaning, entertainment/art reflects what is going on AND influences it. It is not the entire cause. Just one of many. I think you fix problems a little bit at a time.

That's a perfectly fine point of view. I don't agree entirely, but I respect it.

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I think one of those bits just might be campaigning against gratuitous violence/sex on tv.

I would say campaigning for content warnings is as far as it should go.

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They are the public airwaves ... they should be used to promote the public good, in a consensus of what is acceptable.

And this is where things get dangerous. Why should someone else decide what is good for me? As has been said before, they are not being forced to watch that which they find objectionable. But rather than exercise discretion and do their homework, if only for the sake of their children, they'd rather remove anything that offends them, causing the majority of the viewing public to suffer the effects of media censorship, all because they felt the urge to impose their values on the rest of the population.

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You want violence and sex, rent a DVD.

You want sanitized entertainment, turn off the dang TV Posted Image

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#46 of 76 OFFLINE   Richard Kim

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Posted December 16 2004 - 05:22 AM

Quote:
You don't find "feeling her up" to be indecent? Ok, say it to your 5-yr. old daughter tonight. And be sure to explain what it means.

I don't think anybody here is suggesting that saying such a phrase to a five yr old girl is appropriate. On the other hand, neither is showing her graphic and gory crime scenes.


Quote:
My fianceé and I hope to have children in a couple of years. When my children are old enough to watch TV, I intend to supervise what they watch, and should they show they are prepared to handle it, I would allow them to screen certain mature films/shows.

Posted Image

#47 of 76 OFFLINE   Ricardo C

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Posted December 16 2004 - 05:24 AM

Quote:
They aren't imposing their will on anyone, they are expressing their opinion.


They're lobbying an official government body to regulate the content available to the rest of the country. That is a little more serious than "expressing their opinion".

"I don't care for this" = Opinion.

"I don't care for this and I'm working the system to make sure you can't watch it even if you want to" = Censorship.

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#48 of 76 OFFLINE   Tony Whalen

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Posted December 16 2004 - 05:26 AM

Quote:
Here Tony. Try some reality.

Quote:
You don't find "feeling her up" to be indecent? Ok, say it to your 5-yr. old daughter tonight. And be sure to explain what it means.

Lovely.

Elinor, I've attempted to keep the discussion civil and not unfriendly. You needn't be condescending. Again.

No, I don't find the phrase "feeling her up" overtly obscene. Does it refer to an indecent act? Yes. Would I explain it to a five year old? No. Posted Image Give me a break. (Besides, my five year old wouldn't have been watching a crime-drama in the first place!)

Is that phrase questionable? Probably? Is it "indecent"? Guess it depends who you ask. It doesn't bother ME. I've sure heard worse things. Whatever regs you'd like to throw out for our mutual review are find and dandy, but we're STILL talking about a program that was rated as MATURE CONTENT, whether it was on at 8 or 10 or 2.

Nor do I find a non-anatomically-correct sex toy to be obscene if it's sitting placidly on a shelf.

As to the lengthy regs you posted (yes, I'm familiar with them) ... that isn't the point here. The point is the censorship this small group is attempting. The point, directed to YOU Elinor, is that you watched a program that is marked as Mature, got Mature content, and were surprised/shocked at said content.

You don't have to watch it. If it unsettles you, that is your moral and ethical code. I have NO problem with that, nor should I.

Just don't tell me what I can and can't watch. That's all I'm saying here.

#49 of 76 OFFLINE   Jason Seaver

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Posted December 16 2004 - 05:34 AM

Quote:
Jason, aren't they just exercising their First Amendment rights in protesting what they see? They aren't imposing their will on anyone, they are expressing their opinion. Right? Or are they only allowed to contact FCC if they agree with you?
They can contact the FCC all they want, although I think that regulating content should be outside the agency's purview. The right to petition is in the same document as the right to free speech, and exercising that right is healthy, and I never said or thought otherwise.

Quote:
Btw, current FCC regulations, as cited above, would have to be challenged in Court and ruled unconstitutional to be in violation of the First Amendment. I believe it has been tried more than once. The law still stands.
And it should be challenged on a continual basis until it is expunged. Just because it is legal for the federal government to levy large fines based upon what five people out of millions who watched a program write (or who may not have watched the program but are just joiners) doesn't make it right.
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#50 of 76 OFFLINE   ThomasC

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Posted December 16 2004 - 05:38 AM

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They are the public airwaves ... they should be used to promote the public good, in a consensus of what is acceptable. You want violence and sex, rent a DVD.
IMHO, the only true public airwave is PBS, funded by the public. NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, UPN, and the WB are all corporate entities, competing against each other to get a bigger share of the market, and will do almost anything to get you to watch their programming. They have to compete with cable channels as well, which can technically show anything they want, so they'll stoop as low as they can to get your eyes back on their channel. IMHO. Posted Image

#51 of 76 OFFLINE   Elinor

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Posted December 16 2004 - 05:40 AM

>""I don't care for this and I'm working the system to make sure you can't watch it even if you want to" = Censorship."

Nope. Bzzzzzt. They can say whatever they want to whomever they want, they can write letters, they can make political contributions, but unless they are the authority that can prevent the broadcast or impart punishment, they aren't censoring anything. They have every right to do what they are doing, in THIS country. Networks can censor tv. Governments can censor tv. People cannot.

Anyone who would suggest that they shouldn't be doing it, would be supporting censorship of THEIR opinions.

Hmmmm.

#52 of 76 OFFLINE   Jeff Ulmer

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Posted December 16 2004 - 05:42 AM

We live in a society that is based on a military economy. It is in the interests of those behind this economy to desensitize us to violence, otherwise, we would have far more objection to the activities that perpetuate our economy. Having a clear distinction ingrained in us as children between good and evil is also fundamental to furthering this cause. We have to believe that we are good, and those with different ideals or viewpoints are bad. It is the only way we can rationalize the conduct of our governments. That;s all I'll say because I've probably already corssed the line, for which I apologize, but there are very obvious and nefarious reasons why violence in the media is tolerated. We can't exist without it.

Again, as far as our children are concerned, it is about balance. If a child's only window on the world is through the television, they are getting a warped view of reality, prone to influence and propaganda. It is a parent's job to educate, to make sure that the child knows that what he/she sees on television is not reality, and that violence and promiscuous activity need not be the norm, and have serious consequences.

Unfortunately, many of the parents of today are victims of their own parents' failures, which is part of a problem with society as a whole. The modern drive to succeed at all costs, the competition to acquire material possessions, the misguided notion that status is important, are all part of the social fabric that is causing our society to disintegrate. Our time is being utilised in ways that are unbalanced. Careers should not superceed the proper upbringing of children.

Dictating our views is not only inappropriate, it is part of the problem human beings have created, as it eliminates all possibility of dialog and the sharing of different perspectives. None of us is right, there is no black and white, but that doesn't fit in with the way we are expected to behave.

Anyway, I do believe that the FCC has become an unwitting conduit for special interest groups to impose their moral values on others. We have to respond in kind, and tell the FCC that it is not acceptable to regulate based on a minority opinion. Adults are quite capable of judging for themselves what is appropriate or not, and it is the responsibility of parents to make sure that their kids are getting a balanced perspective on the world.

#53 of 76 OFFLINE   Elinor

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Posted December 16 2004 - 05:42 AM

>"IMHO, the only true public airwave is PBS, funded by the public. NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, UPN, and the WB are all corporate entities, competing against each other to get a bigger share of the market, and will do almost anything to get you to watch their programming. They have to compete with cable channels as well, which can technically show anything they waytn, so they'll stoop as low as they can to get your eyes back on their channel. IMHO."

The law says the public owns all the airwaves, radio, tv. etc. I believe certain bands restricted to military use are exempt.

I absolutely concur about the competition.

#54 of 76 OFFLINE   ThomasC

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Posted December 16 2004 - 05:46 AM

Quote:
The law says the public owns all the airwaves, radio, tv. etc.
The law may say that, but reality doesn't suggest that at all.

#55 of 76 OFFLINE   Elinor

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Posted December 16 2004 - 05:47 AM

>"Anyway, I do believe that the FCC has become an unwitting conduit for special interest groups to impose their moral values on others. We have to respond in kind, and tell the FCC that it is not acceptable to regulate based on a minority opinion."

Bingo. Those who want more sex and violence have every right to lobby FCC for more of it. That is the right of free speech.

#56 of 76 OFFLINE   Jason Seaver

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Posted December 16 2004 - 05:48 AM

Quote:
Anyone who would suggest that they shouldn't be doing it, would be supporting censorship of THEIR opinions.
No, that is just utterly wrong.

Stating that people shouldn't write the FCC to because they didn't like hearing certain words or seeing certain activities is offering an opinion.

Stating that people shouldn't be allowed to write the FCC to because they didn't like hearing certain words or seeing certain activities is advocating censorship.

And, you know, that's still all right, until the government starts acting on it. Just like the difference between saying you shouldn't see sex on TV, and fining people for it.
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Trading Post Inn - Another gender-bending soap, with different collaborators writing different points of view.

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#57 of 76 OFFLINE   John Miles

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Posted December 16 2004 - 05:49 AM

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Do you ever wonder why kids are more violent

They aren't. That's what bugs me about the whole thing: our newfound sense of moral outrage is directed at a perceived statistical problem that doesn't even exist.

Do some research before regurgitating what you've heard elsewhere. Right around the time id Software unleashed "Doom" on the world, the juvenile violent-crime rate took a sharp turn south... and it's been headed that way ever since.

#58 of 76 OFFLINE   Tony Whalen

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Posted December 16 2004 - 05:52 AM

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Right around the time Nolan Bushnell unleashed Pong on the world, the juvenile crime rate took a sharp turn south...

My god... if Pong caused all that, I can't even imagine the carnage that Pac-Man caused! Posted Image

Posted Image Sorry... just trying to lighten the thread a tad. Posted Image


Great article there John! Thanks for that! Posted Image

#59 of 76 OFFLINE   Elinor

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Posted December 16 2004 - 05:53 AM

>"And it should be challenged on a continual basis until it is expunged. Just because it is legal for the federal government to levy large fines based upon what five people out of millions who watched a program write (or who may not have watched the program but are just joiners) doesn't make it right."

Well, now, that's the tricky part, isn't it?

If 5 million protest and 45 million do not, does the FCC count the 45 million? Of course not. That's why everyone has to participate. Those who are silent empower those who are vocal.

#60 of 76 OFFLINE   Richard Kim

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Posted December 16 2004 - 05:53 AM

Quote:
Do some research before regurgitating what you've heard elsewhere. Right around the time Nolan Bushnell unleashed Pong on the world, the juvenile violent-crime rate took a sharp turn south... and it's been headed that way ever since.


Exactly. Ever since Columbine, the news media has given much more coverage on youth violence, giving the public the false impression that it is on the rise.


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