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FCC Reports Reduced Indecency Complaints

FCC Reports Reduced Indecency Complaints

We've always been a fan of the wisdom found in John 3:20: "For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed."

We were reminded of that truism while looking over the FCC's Quarterly Report on Informal Consumer Inquiries and Complaints, which was announced yesterday in an FCC press release. It seems that there were just 30,962 consumer complaints about obscenity/indecency on the airwaves received by the FCC in the last quarter of 2006, a whopping 29,821 of which were received in October alone, leaving a piddling 1,141 for November and December.

This figure is down from the 162,170 complaints the agency had received in the previous quarter, a mere shadow of the obscenity/indecency complaints it received in the first half of '06 ... and miniscule compared to the flood of 1,405,419 complaints largely attributable to the Janet Jackson split-second tit exposure the agency got in 2004.

So why the decrease? Is TV and radio actually getting "cleaner" – that is, less offensive to the religio-conservatives who account for the vast majority of such consumer complaints?

Possibly ... but we suspect there's another explanation: That as the number of indecency/obscenity complaints escalated to such dizzying heights, and investigative reporters sought out the source(s) of such complaints, it was revealed that more than 99% of the 2004 complaints originated with one source: The ultra-conservative Parents Television Council (PTC), which provides ready-made forms with which to file such complaints right on its website, and which had been very vocal in its own newsletters and in the mass media about the "dangers" of "indecent speech" on TV and radio.

Once the PTC media blitz had been exposed, however, the FCC announced that it would be giving less weight to such blast-fax and blast-email campaigns, and the PTC's influence over FCC indecency/obscenity investigations and the fines that were eventually levied began to wane ... to the point that now, as the above figures reveal, citizens have come to understand that a certain amount of sexual banter and showing of skin is merely a part of modern American culture, and hardly (if at all) worth worrying about.

Or, put another way, once the media shined a light on the PTC rats, they scurried away to their holes, perhaps waiting for the promised "Reagan [conservative] revolution" to give them power in Washington once again.

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Mark Kernes

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