Ruling means families will hear %#$*#!!$%

first_img“Arbitrary and capricious”? Sounds more like a description of the network broadcasters who, after the 2004 Janet Jackson Super Bowl, apologized left and right for the “accidental” nudity, but then sued, saying it wasn’t indecent. That case is still pending. Wait until these out-of-touch federal judges get hold of that one. So now at any given time of night, and even throughout the day, the public must have ear plugs close by for the kids and a finger hovering over the mute button. Meanwhile, society cedes yet more territory to the classless who, if the networks are to be believed, can’t possibly be expected to come up with language that could be printed in this paper. We need to stand up now or accept a future where Marge Simpson is the only voice of reason left. Amy Johnson is Los Angeles chapter director of the Parents Television Council (www.parentstv.org). 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “You know, Fox turned into a hard-core sex channel so gradually, I didn’t even notice. Yeesh!” – Marge Simpson commenting in a 1995 “The Simpsons” episode set in 2010. HAVE you found yourself in Marge’s shoes? Have you been amazed at what they broadcast on TV? Apparently, for some New York judges, the answer would be no on both counts. They just ruled that profanity on TV is OK at any time. Their decision will ensure many more “can they do that on TV?” moments in your living room. Imagine it’s a Sunday night at 7 o’clock. You sit down with your two kids – one 6, the other 10 – and flip on the television hoping to find a program suitable for the whole group. As you scan the channels, your 6-year-old girl catches a glance of her favorite pop-princess star Britney Spears dancing around the stage, and begs you to return to the program, which happens to be a music-awards show. You’re skeptical at first, but then think to yourself, “What harm could an awards show filled with singing, dancing and acceptance speeches really do?” Just as you are pondering this and decide to allow your daughter to sing along with her idol, you distinctly hear one of the awards announcers utter a word that you would expect to hear on an episode of “The Sopranos.” It’s the four-letter f-word, and it’s on Fox. Not HBO. Not Showtime. But on a broadcast network airing early in the evening. You quickly change the channel as your two kids stare at you, waiting for an explanation of why you have told them many times that this was an inappropriate word, yet famous people were saying it in your living room. While you figure out what to say, you think and stare in disbelief because you trusted the public airwaves to provide fun, family-friendly viewing, not obscenities and inappropriateness. Is this how it really should be? Are people, especially families, expected to be OK with being constantly exposed to unfiltered content on television without warning? Well, that’s the implication of what the federal court in New York did, ruling that broadcasters can’t be penalized for expletives that are considered impromptu. This decision came after much buzz surrounding the multiple occurrences of curse words spoken by celebrities on air that reached millions of viewers during the 2002 and then again on the 2003 Billboard Music Awards shows. Cher and Nicole Richie took it upon themselves to insert certain expletives into their speeches. Note that they didn’t have coffee spilled on them, eliciting an unplanned expletive; these were easily preventable smacks in the face to families everywhere. We thought that in March 2006 justice was served. The FCC ruled that so-called “fleeting” uses of expletives are indecent. Fox sued, along with NBC and CBS, for the right to curse on TV. And that brings us to June 2007, when New York Circuit Court judges overturned the FCC’s decision. The judges claimed that the FCC’s efforts on broadcast indecency were “arbitrary and capricious.” last_img read more