The SCOTUS has upheld the FCCs sometimes erratic pursuit of profanity on network television. Fox (the network) has claimed that the FCCs prohibition of profanities is a violation of free speech.
The Czar is not certain where to stand on this.
On the one side, the networks do not own the airwaves: the FCC does, and it has a duty and obligation to require content and material suitable for broadcasting. And if said requirement includes profanity-free family-friendly programming, thats what you, the networks, deliver. And yeah, if the FCC wants to ignore a string of expletives during an uncut broadcast version of Saving Private Ryan while jumping on an awards show because Cher let slippy-slip a naughty word, thats their prerogative, too…but the Czar expects the FCCs decision was not very capricious, given that Saving Private Ryan is a reasonably accurate pseudo-documentary that captures how soldiers talk(ed), and the latter was just some censor who heard the word with a multi-second delay but allowed it to continue through because he can no longer tell the difference between family programming and how air-headed celebrities speak.
But on the other side, the Czarprobably like youhas about 200 choices for television entertainment, of which 196 liberally use obscenities even for station promotional material (check out Comedy Central, evenings with the Cartoon Network, G4, and whatever that Logo network is). And thanks in part to the FCC, we are being pushed to a digital world, so that the number of people who actually receive only broadcast television is now less than five percent of the marketplace. The top four networks have some ground in their claim that they are being held to a decreasingly effective standard. Back in 2002, there was a rumor among some network executives that the only reason The Sopranos was crushing the competition and dominating the Emmys was because there were no FCC restrictions as to the content, allowing HBO to go all-out and use realistic dialogue and frighteningly graphic scenes of mob life. True or not, there is something to be said for the massive popularity of cable series versus the spiky and unpredictable viewership of repeititve slop shown on the broadcast networks. The Czar enjoyed the rich complexity of John Adams, and very much doubts that ABC could have done it. GorTechie could probably explain why BSG was a success versus, say, Enterprise.
Naturally, as a parent, the Czar believes it would be nice to have some television programming in which young children are not subjected to red-iron-hot words every few minutes. Indeed, that seems to be the FCCs opinion: lets do this for the kids watching.
But there are two problems with this.
- Even better than having three or four networks be largely profanity free, how about parents turn the television off and do something with them besides subjecting them to fleeting profanities? Problem solved. Monitor what your kids watch, or deal with the consequences of it, or just turn the thing off.
- How would a profranity-free three or four networks make the slightest bit of difference when kids have so many cable channels to watch, music to hear, movies to catch, and books to read that all feature profanities? We live in an age of mass communication. Censoring words in three or four networks, at this point, might be like cleaning three windows on a condemned house.
While conservatives may initially eschew the idea of letting the networks keep up with cable, and having all those nasty words pollute our kids ears, the real conservative view may be let em show what they want. Market forces will dominate: if the increasingly uncensored Two and a Half Men ratings tank suddenly, then you have your answer. If they remain high, or go higher, you gave the viewers what they want. Sink or swim. This works for the cable networks, and it can work for the broadcast networks. Equal competition.
The Czar remains uncertain. Let us know what you believe and why. Your Czar will happily publish the best emails.
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.