"Fleeting Expletives" Can Still Fleet
The Christian Examiner got a little bent out of shape yesterday as it reported that Sens. Ted Stevens (R-Veco ) and Daniel Inouye (D-Alzheimer's) were holding up in committee Sen. John D. Rockefeller's Senate Bill 1780, the "Protecting Children from Indecent Programming Act," which would have amended the Public Telecommunications Act of 1992 to allow the FCC to "maintain a policy that a single word or image may constitute indecent programming."
Last June, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled in favor of Fox Broadcasting, CBS and a couple of other networks who'd allowed, for instance, U2's Bono to describe his Golden Globe award as "fucking brilliant," and Nicole Richie to bemoan how difficult it is to get cowshit out of a Prada purse, saying that the FCC had no business fining the networks millions of dollars because normal average celebrities spoke on-air the way real people do in going about their daily lives.
But as Stephen Colbert noted, at least for some, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias."
"What's really at stake today is the continued ability of the FCC to have any sort of broadcast decency enforcement," Dan Isett, director of corporate and government affairs for the Parents Television Council (PTC), told Dr. James Dobson's Family News in Focus. "The broadcast networks are asserting the right to air the s- and the f-word and have even said things like the Janet Jackson incident — a strip tease in the middle of the Super Bowl — are somehow not indecent. Clearly, it's an industry that's lost its way and needs to be reigned in."
"If we lose the ability to keep indecency from the airwaves," added Daniel Weiss, senior analyst of media and sexuality for Focus on the Family Action, "television as we know it will be finished. Instead of quality programming, we will have a stinking cesspool at all hours of the day."
So ... free everyday speech on TV and radio is a "stinking cesspool," eh? Good call, Dan!
And speaking of the Parents Television Council, they just got bent out of shape because the Family Friendly Programming Forum just gave its Family Television Award to "Ugly Betty," the ABC sitcom - a show that the Forum itself helped develop. See, the Forum was formed about 10 years ago by a consortium of advertisers tasked with developing family friendly television shows.
But according to PTC, during just the first season of "Ugly Betty," it "recorded 205 instances of sexual content and 154 instances of foul language" - and we all know what a deleterious effect those could have on today's impressionable youth!
And speaking of PTC's founder, L. Brent "Bozo" Bozell, III, he just published his list of 2007's media-related "winners and losers," the coveted top spot on which loser list was won by — you guessed it! — Jamie Lynn Spears, the 16-year-old sister of Britney, who got pregnant while starring in Nickelodeon's top-rated kids show, "Zoey 101."
"Had the youngest Spears sister been cast as a tawdry teenage tramp on 'Desperate Housewives,' her real-world behavior would be seen as less scandalous," Bozo intoned. "But Jamie Lynn Spears has been a fairly wholesome star on Nickelodeon since she joined the kiddie sketch-comedy show "All That" at the tender age of 11... So much for role models."
(Perhaps of interest was the report that Spears' bundle wasn't actually fathered by her boyfriend, as had been widely reported, but rather by a studio exec old enough to be her grandfather, and that the boyfriend got a sizeable check to maintain the fiction that it's his.)
Other winners, er, losers include "shock jocks Opie and Anthony, for hosting a character named Homeless Charlie, who made jokes on their satellite radio show about the violent rape of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. They continued to laugh as Charlie sickly imagined punching Rice in the face and raping Laura Bush 'to death',"; "The filmmakers of Hounddog, for casting 12-year-old actress Dakota Fanning (The Cat in the Hat) in a five-minute rape scene"; and "Tasteless, anti-religious entertainers [like] Kathy Griffin [who] grasped an Emmy Award for Best Reality TV Show and proclaimed, 'Suck it, Jesus!'."