FCC Indecency Stats Continue Their Roller Coaster Ride

from the up-and-down-we-go dept

Matthew Lasar writes in to point out that the roller coaster effect of FCC indecency complaints has continued. We've pointed out in the past that indecency complaints to the FCC follow something of a roller coaster path, mainly because almost all of the complaints actually take the form of form letters generated off the websites of certain advocacy groups -- and rarely are sent in by anyone who actually saw the offending material (other than, perhaps, on the website of the advocacy groups, which often tend to make the "questionable" content a lot more accessible than anyone else). Lasar notes that after a slow August with only 3,108 complaints, the FCC was inundated in September with a whopping 163,553 complaints. Of course, this could just mean that TV really was that much more offensive in September, but it would be interesting to find out what the complaints pertained to, and just how many of them were of the form letter variety.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    ScytheNoire, Jan 2nd, 2007 @ 4:02am

    FCC is censorship

    the FCC likes to claim that they are not censoring, but that's exactly what they do. some companies need to start standing up against the FCC.

    i'd also like to see groups who stand for free-speech to start sending in complaints about things on television that others might find offensive, like just about any right-wing political nut-job who claims to stand for family values (which is a bullshit term), any religious programming (especially on sunday mornings), and especially to any news broadcast, which are always politically tilted.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Brian D., Jan 2nd, 2007 @ 4:26am

    Fall premieres

    Of course there are going to be less complaints in August, when TV is full of repeats. In September, there were all new shows to complain about.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 2nd, 2007 @ 4:28am

    I think they should then ignore form letters to focus on people who spontaneously make their own arguments and decisions. Cheating software used by teachers would be rather well suited to the task of finding duplicates, I think.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Dosquatch, Jan 2nd, 2007 @ 4:58am

    questions

    What teeth does the FCC have? I know they can levy fines for violating the nebulous rules, but what happens if someone refuses to pay their fine? A stiffer fine, also to be refused? A yanked license? Jailtime?

    Is it possible to ignore the FCC out of existance?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    misanthropic humanist, Jan 2nd, 2007 @ 5:21am

    Re: questions

    Is it possible to ignore the FCC out of existance?

    Yes. But it takes a push to start the dominoes falling.

    At some point, if one or two players can garner enough publicity
    and momentum behind a statement that they simply do not recognise the FCC that will precipitate a crisis of confidence.
    The same goes for any quasi organisation such as "associations" like the RIAA which have no real legal basis or any kind of "authority".

    But who will step up and start the ball rolling?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Thinker, Jan 2nd, 2007 @ 5:27am

    I wonder...

    I wonder how the FCC would react if they received thousands of form letter complaints from one of these groups over an indecent act that never actually happened.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 2nd, 2007 @ 6:00am

    we should try that

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Sanguine Dream, Jan 2nd, 2007 @ 6:07am

    Re: I wonder...

    I honestly would not be surprised if that hasn't happened already.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Chronno S. Trigger, Jan 2nd, 2007 @ 6:11am

    RE: FCC is censorship

    Try it. There E-mail is fccinfo@fcc.gov for all complaintes. Wright up a form letter. Announce it here and give us a link to it so we can put our names on it and E-mail it off to them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 2nd, 2007 @ 7:05am

    Re: FCC is censorship

    While I agree that the FCC is censoring and that is bad, I disagree with everything else you said. I can agree that the the government shouldn't be censoring content, but everyone else has the right to do whatever they want.

    People have the right to complain to broadcasters about content, and if broadcasters see it as a loss of revenue or agree on some moral level, broadcasters may heed the complaints.

    Also, people have the right to complaint to sponsors for supporting content they don't like. If enough people complain, companies will yank ads from an offensive program. Most broadcasters hold back on offensive content not for fear of the FCC but because they fear loss of viewership and/or sponsorship.

    And that's how it's supposed to work. The wheels tend to grease themselves just fine without the government's help.

    And yeah, content-bitchy groups tend to cherry pick what they find offensive from one week to the next, but they have the right to do so.

    We need the FCC for plenty of other things, such as frequency regulation, but not for content regulation

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    The infamous Joe, Jan 2nd, 2007 @ 7:39am

    Juris my diction.

    I didn't think the FCC had any power of non-airwave broadcast media-- like cable. How is it that I still hear bleeps and see fuzziness when I'm watching Comedy Central?

    I don't understand.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Komataguri, Jan 2nd, 2007 @ 8:43am

    Re: Juris my diction.

    Because they do not want to be flooded with angry parents who do not supervise their children, crying foul about how horribly Comedy Central corrupted their unsupervised, uneducated youth?


    Also, Comedy Central does air uncensored content.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    weebit, Jan 2nd, 2007 @ 4:11pm

    ignore the forms

    accept only snail mail letters. And if the letters look mass produced then don't accept these.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Solo, Jan 2nd, 2007 @ 4:37pm

    I have a fantastic idea to solve the problem of people being offended by what they see on TV. They should either

    1) change the channel, or, better
    2) turn it off and get on with your life

    If you don't watch TV you suddenly reclaim a huge portion of your life (not filled with ads) and suddenly you have time to talk to you kids or your folks, take walks, play with your dog, write a blog, maybe write that novel you've been putting off for the last 25 years.

    But really, don't tell me not to watch something because you think it is offensive. It's probably why I like it in the first place.

    TV is a lot less important when it's not at the center of your life. (but it sure keeps people in check)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Chris Bradley, Feb 2nd, 2007 @ 12:03am

    Comedy Central 100% Racist

    Comedy Central 100% RACIST.
    Filed under: Uncategorized — chrisbradley @ 5:22 am

    Comedy Central has affirmed a 100% Racist stance by supporting the activities of Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert. I Strongly Advise An Across The Board Boycott of All Audience Viewing In Favor of NBC. For late night comedy.

    Steven Colbert tonight on his program in Black History Month, Criticised the Black Caucus for non-inclusion of whites and suggested the creation of a “White Caucus” while displaying offensive Black Slavery imagery and the confederate flag on merchandise, supposedly in his collection.

    1). The Confederate flag is not an American Symbol. It is a historic symbol recommending a return to divisiveness and the historic passions of past slavery and indifference to equality.

    2). Display of offensive graphics reminding people of slavery and humiliation of a people so long oppressed is uncalled for and is offensive to not only the general public opinion, but also dangerous and threatening in a world where hundreds of thousands of complaints regarding defamation and racism have been filed since the beginning of 2007.

    3.) The United Nations has expressed its concerns regarding Holocaust denial in a statement. Due to a global concern of the rise of international intolderance. Steven Colbert went so far as to suggest that Jews be harassed on “Rash Hashana” which is their highest of holy days.

    So Steven Colbert has not only declared himself a hater of black people. He is also an anti-semetic individual. And I doubt you would look far to find a connection between him and the Nazi Party, the KKK, or the White Supremecist Movement in General. In this respect, and the fact that he has been granted such a prominent position on the network comedy central, and the fact that the network hosts other famed Anti Semites like Lisa Laminelli, I have serious doubts that the network in and of itself is completely corrupt, racist, and driven completely by the white power structure.

    I offer my signature and months of astute watching of these programs as evidence,

    And as of today, have signed off of Comedy Central 100%.

    Sincerely Yours,

    Christopher J. Bradley

    Noisecontrol Publishing.

    February 2, 2007
    Open Letter to the President re: Comedy Central
    Filed under: Uncategorized — chrisbradley @ 6:16 am

    Dear Mr. President,
    To this day, I remain loyally yours, I have a vested interest in seeing Hillary Clinton NOT elected to president in 2008, and I feel you are taking a strong positive stance as the world leader you should be.
    As you are aware, there are media issues you need to address. 1 being with Turner broadcasting. I believe a second is with the parent company that owns Comedy Central. I have written the below blog entry and delivered it to the New Yorks Times. I personally do not believe they will print it. So I have also sent it to Digg. It will get out there. I am also submitting it directly to you.
    As a native born child of South Carolina I am personally offended by Colberts use of the Confederate Flag in Racist Actions on Cable Television this evening. I see it as a statement of openly declared media war. In addition he mentioned a threat to JFK airport which also brought an alarmist feel to many viewers I am certain, especially, since I know personally that many people on the street are still not even aware of the events that occurred in Boston 2 days ago.
    Comedy Central deserves the immediate attention and force of the US Government, and Censorship should be applied post haste. Colbert should be tried. He is not a supporter of you, and I believe is an enemy of the American People in Sheep’s Clothing.

    The contents of the file I sent to the New York Times, Follow,

    Thank you for your continued work, and positive, pro active policy in the war against terror. I support you 100% and I hope that you are successful in building your library.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Chris Bradley, Feb 2nd, 2007 @ 12:04am

    Comedy Central 100% Racist

    Comedy Central 100% RACIST.
    Filed under: Uncategorized — chrisbradley @ 5:22 am

    Comedy Central has affirmed a 100% Racist stance by supporting the activities of Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert. I Strongly Advise An Across The Board Boycott of All Audience Viewing In Favor of NBC. For late night comedy.

    Steven Colbert tonight on his program in Black History Month, Criticised the Black Caucus for non-inclusion of whites and suggested the creation of a “White Caucus” while displaying offensive Black Slavery imagery and the confederate flag on merchandise, supposedly in his collection.

    1). The Confederate flag is not an American Symbol. It is a historic symbol recommending a return to divisiveness and the historic passions of past slavery and indifference to equality.

    2). Display of offensive graphics reminding people of slavery and humiliation of a people so long oppressed is uncalled for and is offensive to not only the general public opinion, but also dangerous and threatening in a world where hundreds of thousands of complaints regarding defamation and racism have been filed since the beginning of 2007.

    3.) The United Nations has expressed its concerns regarding Holocaust denial in a statement. Due to a global concern of the rise of international intolderance. Steven Colbert went so far as to suggest that Jews be harassed on “Rash Hashana” which is their highest of holy days.

    So Steven Colbert has not only declared himself a hater of black people. He is also an anti-semetic individual. And I doubt you would look far to find a connection between him and the Nazi Party, the KKK, or the White Supremecist Movement in General. In this respect, and the fact that he has been granted such a prominent position on the network comedy central, and the fact that the network hosts other famed Anti Semites like Lisa Laminelli, I have serious doubts that the network in and of itself is completely corrupt, racist, and driven completely by the white power structure.

    I offer my signature and months of astute watching of these programs as evidence,

    And as of today, have signed off of Comedy Central 100%.

    Sincerely Yours,

    Christopher J. Bradley

    Noisecontrol Publishing.

    February 2, 2007
    Open Letter to the President re: Comedy Central
    Filed under: Uncategorized — chrisbradley @ 6:16 am

    Dear Mr. President,
    To this day, I remain loyally yours, I have a vested interest in seeing Hillary Clinton NOT elected to president in 2008, and I feel you are taking a strong positive stance as the world leader you should be.
    As you are aware, there are media issues you need to address. 1 being with Turner broadcasting. I believe a second is with the parent company that owns Comedy Central. I have written the below blog entry and delivered it to the New Yorks Times. I personally do not believe they will print it. So I have also sent it to Digg. It will get out there. I am also submitting it directly to you.
    As a native born child of South Carolina I am personally offended by Colberts use of the Confederate Flag in Racist Actions on Cable Television this evening. I see it as a statement of openly declared media war. In addition he mentioned a threat to JFK airport which also brought an alarmist feel to many viewers I am certain, especially, since I know personally that many people on the street are still not even aware of the events that occurred in Boston 2 days ago.
    Comedy Central deserves the immediate attention and force of the US Government, and Censorship should be applied post haste. Colbert should be tried. He is not a supporter of you, and I believe is an enemy of the American People in Sheep’s Clothing.

    The contents of the file I sent to the New York Times, Follow,

    Thank you for your continued work, and positive, pro active policy in the war against terror. I support you 100% and I hope that you are successful in building your library.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Chris Bradley, Feb 2nd, 2007 @ 12:04am

    Comedy Central 100% Racist

    Comedy Central 100% RACIST.
    Filed under: Uncategorized — chrisbradley @ 5:22 am

    Comedy Central has affirmed a 100% Racist stance by supporting the activities of Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert. I Strongly Advise An Across The Board Boycott of All Audience Viewing In Favor of NBC. For late night comedy.

    Steven Colbert tonight on his program in Black History Month, Criticised the Black Caucus for non-inclusion of whites and suggested the creation of a “White Caucus” while displaying offensive Black Slavery imagery and the confederate flag on merchandise, supposedly in his collection.

    1). The Confederate flag is not an American Symbol. It is a historic symbol recommending a return to divisiveness and the historic passions of past slavery and indifference to equality.

    2). Display of offensive graphics reminding people of slavery and humiliation of a people so long oppressed is uncalled for and is offensive to not only the general public opinion, but also dangerous and threatening in a world where hundreds of thousands of complaints regarding defamation and racism have been filed since the beginning of 2007.

    3.) The United Nations has expressed its concerns regarding Holocaust denial in a statement. Due to a global concern of the rise of international intolderance. Steven Colbert went so far as to suggest that Jews be harassed on “Rash Hashana” which is their highest of holy days.

    So Steven Colbert has not only declared himself a hater of black people. He is also an anti-semetic individual. And I doubt you would look far to find a connection between him and the Nazi Party, the KKK, or the White Supremecist Movement in General. In this respect, and the fact that he has been granted such a prominent position on the network comedy central, and the fact that the network hosts other famed Anti Semites like Lisa Laminelli, I have serious doubts that the network in and of itself is completely corrupt, racist, and driven completely by the white power structure.

    I offer my signature and months of astute watching of these programs as evidence,

    And as of today, have signed off of Comedy Central 100%.

    Sincerely Yours,

    Christopher J. Bradley

    Noisecontrol Publishing.

    February 2, 2007
    Open Letter to the President re: Comedy Central
    Filed under: Uncategorized — chrisbradley @ 6:16 am

    Dear Mr. President,
    To this day, I remain loyally yours, I have a vested interest in seeing Hillary Clinton NOT elected to president in 2008, and I feel you are taking a strong positive stance as the world leader you should be.
    As you are aware, there are media issues you need to address. 1 being with Turner broadcasting. I believe a second is with the parent company that owns Comedy Central. I have written the below blog entry and delivered it to the New Yorks Times. I personally do not believe they will print it. So I have also sent it to Digg. It will get out there. I am also submitting it directly to you.
    As a native born child of South Carolina I am personally offended by Colberts use of the Confederate Flag in Racist Actions on Cable Television this evening. I see it as a statement of openly declared media war. In addition he mentioned a threat to JFK airport which also brought an alarmist feel to many viewers I am certain, especially, since I know personally that many people on the street are still not even aware of the events that occurred in Boston 2 days ago.
    Comedy Central deserves the immediate attention and force of the US Government, and Censorship should be applied post haste. Colbert should be tried. He is not a supporter of you, and I believe is an enemy of the American People in Sheep’s Clothing.

    The contents of the file I sent to the New York Times, Follow,

    Thank you for your continued work, and positive, pro active policy in the war against terror. I support you 100% and I hope that you are successful in building your library.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This