FCC should stick to its original purpose and regulate decency

Return To Article
Add a comment
  • Bruce Edward Walker Midland, MI
    April 17, 2012 7:48 a.m.

    Rather than have a gov't agency determining what defines offensive material -- something that is subjective in any event -- wouldn't it make more sense for concerned consumers to write letters, protest, boycott programs they find offensive? There can be no cookie-cutter approach to this, and wasting taxpayer dollars to investigate and prosecute a fleeting flash of female flesh or a curse word seems ridiculous.

  • Voice of Reason Layton, UT
    March 23, 2012 8:43 p.m.


    Your post certainly left the impression that you think the FCC's enforcement of decency laws is illegitimate. But even if technically you were only referring to the FCC's original mission, it's a sad commentary on society that the FCC is even needed to enforce decency standards, which is clearly the case. Once upon a time broadcasters self-regulated according to community standards. Today, they do everything they can to actively blow through those standards...often while actually bragging openly about it in how "edgy" they are, etc. With moral juveniles like that running our entertainment industry, it's unfortunate but we absolutely need an FCC to enforce standards in the absence of self-control.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    March 23, 2012 7:08 p.m.

    Are george carlins' seven words 'indecent'? No. Whatever influence they have on us we enable. This is like saying the fcc will mandate the number of angels dancing on the head of a pin. However, the whole anecdote part of the article is correct. Broadcast digital, free tv, is far superior to anything cable offers for video and sound quality.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    March 23, 2012 3:17 p.m.

    Headline: FCC should stick to its original purpose and regulate decency.

    I was referring to the headline and the FCC's "ORIGINAL PURPOSE."

    I'm quite aware that this has changed, as noted above, but that doesn't change the fact
    that it's original purpose was NOT enforcing community standards.

    Next time, read the headline.

  • Voice of Reason Layton, UT
    March 23, 2012 2:36 p.m.


    Actually, the FCC most certainly does has the responsibility to regulate obscenity and decency standards over the airwaves. In fact, they don't have a choice - Congress has mandated by law that the FCC enforce these standards. Obscenity is illegal no matter what and is not protected by the 1st Amendment, defined by the Supreme Court as follows:

    "An average person, applying contemporary community standards, must find that the material, as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest;
    The material must depict or describe, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by applicable law; and
    The material, taken as a whole, must lack serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value."

    Merely indecent content, while technically protected by the 1st Amendment, can be regulated with time & manner restrictions for the public good as stated by the SC. The FCC enforces this over the airwaves by prohibiting indecent content between 9am - 10pm, when children are most likely to be watching.

    Next time, dig a little deeper than a quick glance at Wikipedia.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    March 23, 2012 10:53 a.m.

    Revisionist history...again

    The inauguration of Ronald Reagan as President of the United States in 1981 accelerated an already ongoing shift in the FCC towards a decidedly more market-oriented stance. A number of regulations felt to be outdated were removed, most controversially the Fairness Doctrine in 1987. In terms of indecency fines, there was no action taken by the FCC from FCC v. Pacifica until 1987, about ten years later.

    On June 15, 2006, President George W. Bush signed into law the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2005

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    March 23, 2012 10:46 a.m.

    FCC should stick to its original purpose...Which has Nothing to do with decency?

    As specified in section one of the Communications Act of 1934 and as amended by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (amendment to 47 U.S.C. ยง151) it is the FCC's mission to "make available so far as possible, to all the people of the United States, without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex, rapid, efficient, Nation-wide, and world-wide wire and radio communication services with adequate facilities at reasonable charges."[sic] The Act furthermore provides that the FCC was created "for the purpose of the national defense" and "for the purpose of promoting safety of life and property through the use of wire and radio communications."[3]

    Another Right wing letter by someone who couldn't bother looking up what the FCC's original purpose was.

  • joe5 South Jordan, UT
    March 23, 2012 10:17 a.m.

    Tek: I agree completely. Back in my sports days, I rarely went an entire season without getting one or more technical fouls but I never once used a profanity. One of my favorite was when I said to an official: "We learn the rules, we practice the rules, we plan strategy within the rules. When you make a call like that, it steals our time and efforts. You're nothing more than a common thief."

    Noodle: There is nothing more misunderstood that the free speech clause of the first amendment. Even a casual reading of contemporary documents will make clear that his clause was to protect political speech so that no citizen would have his political voice silenced. It had nothing to do with vulgarity or indecency. That was the product of subsequent SCOTUS decisions who wandered far afield of what was intended.

  • Noodlekaboodle Salt Lake City, UT
    March 23, 2012 8:05 a.m.

    What Mr. Gale forgets about is that whole pesky 1st amendment. Free speech doesn't mean people can speak freely the way you like. It means anyone can say what they would like to say. If you are letting your kids watch primetime TV you already are exposing them to adult topics. Why would letting a 4 letter word be said on TV really change that. Your kid shouldn't be watching the Good Wife or CSI. Someone dropping a curse in these really wouldn't change the appropriateness of these shows.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    March 23, 2012 7:18 a.m.

    If you really want to curse someone, or to express a strong opinion, a four letter word basically says, "I feel strongly enough to say a bad word but it may be that I am just not very well-mannered and I talk like this all the time, but I am not mad enough to come up with a really well-thought curse."

    I get literary enjoyment when someone comes with a really well-thought out curse without using a four letter word. "If my grandfather had done something like that I would change my name." Or, "Don't just put their pictures in the newspaper, paste them on the telephone poles, on the sides of cars, in the corner stores until even the mute stones have memorized their appearance. Can there by any hiding from what they have done?" (A Saudi journalist said this about Islamic terrorists.)