How The FCC Got Millions To See Charlotte Ross's Naked Behind... And Then Lost In Court

from the nice-work,-FCC dept

We had just discussed how two separate appeals courts were trying to determine whether or not the FCC's indecency fines over "fleeting nudity" on TV were legal. The case involving Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" is just beginning, but the other case, involving Charlotte Ross's bare behind being shown on NYPD Blue has now concluded with the (not surprising) decision to toss out the $1.43 million fine the FCC issued against ABC. This wasn't all that surprising, given that the courts had already struck down FCC fines over "fleeting expletives," and had suggested that fleeting nudity would fall under the same analysis. Even the FCC had admitted that under the ruling concerning "fleeting expletives," the NYPD Blue fine was probably a goner. It's still appealing the original ruling about fleeting expletives, however, so it's not over yet.

Of course, the history of almost all of these cases all tracks back to the infamous Parents Television Council (PTC), the group that is famous for flooding the FCC with bogus "complaints" from its members who never actually saw the content in question, but were urged on by the PTC to send complaints. We recently had noted that PTC was coming under some serious scrutiny concerning some of its more questionable practices.

However, what we still found most amusing about this particular case is the fact that when Kevin Martin (who headed the FCC when the original fine was issued) decided to pursue this fine over Charlotte Ross's nudity, all it really did was drive a tremendous amount of interest in people seeing what the clip was about. In other words, in trying to fine ABC for "indecency," the PTC and Kevin Martin helped to publicize the video, which for a while was apparently the most popular video on YouTube. And now, not only did the PTC and Kevin Martin help millions of people learn about ways to see Charlotte Ross' bare behind, but the FCC got absolutely nothing for it, given this latest ruling.


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  1.  
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    fogbugzd (profile), Jan 5th, 2011 @ 12:22pm

    In the process of getting nothing they managed to waste a whole lot of taxpayer money.

    If the new Republican Congress really wants to make cuts they should get the government out of the job of morality cops. Of course that won't make some parts of the party happy, but it would be refreshing to see the party truly return to its small government ideology.

    While they are at it they could stop DHS from being a wholly owned subsidiary of the MPAA. That would save money, protect democracy, get DHS back to doing what it is supposed to be doing, and poke a stick in Obama's eye all at the same time. That ought to appeal to them.

     

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  2.  
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    redrum, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 12:33pm

    I would think that by "Fleeting nudity" they meant it was just a flash. But thats a good shot of a rather nice rear. And then they went back to it! Way to go ABC, you really know what we want to see. F the FCC. Seriously, thats a nice caboose :)

    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/1076268/charlotte_ross_in_shower

     

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  3.  
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    Hulser (profile), Jan 5th, 2011 @ 12:43pm

    In other words, in trying to fine ABC for "indecency," the PTC and Kevin Martin helped to publicize the video, which for a while was apparently the most popular video on YouTube.

    While on the surface, this may seem ironic, I don't think it really is. This situation isn't that the FCC didn't want anyone to see Charlotte Ross's ass, but ended up actually prompting millions more people to see her ass than would have. This would be ironic. But that's not what happened. The FCC didn't want anyone to see Charlotte Ross's ass on network television.

    Now, to be clear, I couldn't care less about nudity, fleeting or otherwise, on network TV. I find it very strange that people freak out about their kid seeing a tit far more than someone getting shot on TV. But if you focus on just this particular situation, then I don't really see any irony here. It's about context. You can go to the beach wearing almost nothing and it's OK, but if you show up to your office in the same clothes, you'll be escorted out of the building. At least ostensibly, the FCC didn't care about whether or not a bunch of people saw a naked ass. They just had a problem with that ass being shown via a medium that doesn't traditionally show that kind of content. I don't know much about the PTC, but I get the sense that they don't want anyone to see an naked ass anywhere, but this isn't the official stance of the FCC.

     

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  4.  
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    Rich, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 1:04pm

    Re:

    I disagree. The "network television" part is irrelevant. The FCC has said many times that they desire the authority to also censor cable TV and the Internet.

     

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  5.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Jan 5th, 2011 @ 1:07pm

    Re:

    Religious morality need not have any roots in reality or logic.

    If you dig a bit, it's clear the PTC is a "Christian" organization--whose members are apparently too busy to take any responsibility for their child's education and find it easier to harass broadcasters than raise their child themselves...

    But, yeah, no logic there. Tits are apparently bad--go figure.

    (from their site:)
    Parents Television Council, PTC, Clean Up TV Now, Because our children are watching, The nation's most influential advocacy organization, Protecting children against sex, violence and profanity in entertainment, Parents Television Council Seal of Approval, and Family Guide to Prime Time Television are trademarks of the Parents Television Council.
    My reponse, of course, would be "what the hell are you letting your kids watch? What's wrong with you? Have you tried turning off the TV? F@cking dolts..."

     

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  6.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jan 5th, 2011 @ 1:10pm

    Re: Re:

    Have you tried turning off the TV, sitting down with your children, and hitting them? -Bender

     

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  7.  
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    MrWilson, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 1:20pm

    Re:

    They're not actually interested in playing morality cops though. That's just one of their platforms for getting votes from the conservative voters.

    When the checks from the corporations and lobbyists stop clearing, then they might changes their positions.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 1:28pm

    PTC normally has their little dog and pony show about which show did something which they are against. Those that send in the petitions, often never see what it is they are sending a petition on. Unless things have changed, they are encouraged to send the same petition again and again, which in the past, the FCC has treated as a different complaint from the earlier one they had just sent. It inflates the complaints and makes it seem bigger than it actually is.

    Like another commenter above, I find it more offensive to see someone killed than to see nudity. It's a common thing to see in some of the European countries on tv. Not sex shows but common flashes of nudity. That is after all real life. To make make believe that mommy and daddy had just enough sex drive to make Little Johnny and then it all disappeared is BS.

    No wonder kids in the US have such psychological trauma growing up. First they find out Santa isn't real, then they find out that their parents have lied to them as well. Worse that the whole country is in on the lie.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 1:50pm

    Re:

    I wouldn't kick her out of bed for eating crackers. I would like to thank the FCC for finally doing something worthwhile and pointing out her butt. I'd never have seen it otherwise (I don't watch much TV)

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 2:29pm

    Re: Re:

    "That's just one of their platforms for getting votes from the conservative voters."

    So there's an agency left in government (besides the military) that is looking for conservative votes? I don't think so. I think its more like the FCC is looking for ways to justify its expansion (the FCC was originally a very small part of the government) and that small sector of conservatives that did the letter campaign was a useful tool.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 2:34pm

    Re:

    The morality cops exist because of the Republicans. Let's not even go there. Just go search for Ed Meese III to get an idea of what Republican are able to come up with. Talk about wasting money.

    I think that the FCC had to take the cases to their logical end to get a solid judgement to work from. No matter the outcome, it is important to have a final decision.

     

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  12.  
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    Huph, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 3:34pm

    Re:

    Come on. I hate it when people believe that American kids are traumatized sexually because they can't see tits on Two and a Half Men (if there's anything that *shouldn't* be allowed on TV, it's that show). Just because something isn't on TV doesn't mean we don't learn about it. I knew the difference between "normal" sex and anal sex when I was 6!

    Let's put it this way: if you have a child who is a boy and if he has, or knows ANYONE who has an older brother or an older friend, then your child knows ALL about sex.

    Do you guys really have a problem with a display of violence? Violence is also part of reality. Is it that *you* can't tell the difference between what's real and imaginary, so you presume others have the same problem? Or is this just some sort of moralistic fascism? Because if you believe that violent imagery on television affects a person's psyche, then you'd have to agree that sexual imagery on TV would also affect a person's psyche.

     

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  13.  
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    Huph, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 3:39pm

    What About Dennis Franz's Ass?!

    Seriously, this exact same program showed Dennis Franz's (!) ass waaaay back in 1994! Also in a shower scene! A much racier one, in fact. Sex was implied and there were "dirty" jokes swishing around in that tepid water closet.

    In fact, I think I'd appreciate some compensation for having *that* image burned into my mind for lo these many years. Maybe Tipper Gore can get on that.

     

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  14.  
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    Huph, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 3:42pm

    Re: What About Dennis Franz's Ass?!

    This makes me think of something I saw on the commentary for a Simpsons DVD. One of the writers was discussing how they could get away with a lot more racy stuff back in the 90s than they could today. I believe it was the 135th Episode Spectacular commentary, when the episode got to the "reason everyone is watching: Hardcore Nudity!"

     

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  15.  
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    co, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 5:04pm

    Re:

     

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  16.  
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    Coward (Anon), Jan 5th, 2011 @ 5:06pm

    Re:

    And just this year the PTC tried to get the show "Bleep my Dad Says" banned before it even aired because everyone knows what "Bleep" really means so it isn't any different from using the real word. Frakking morons. Or should I say Freeling morons.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 5:38pm

    I love nice ass shots; its a good tease that gets me through the day errr night, i am glad of this ruling, i think freedom of speech is paramount to our culture,

    i wouldn't let my with our without these shows with our without the ass shots, if you dont like it, don't watch it.

     

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  18.  
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    MrWilson, Jan 5th, 2011 @ 10:11pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I was responding directly to this sentence:

    "If the new Republican Congress really wants to make cuts they should get the government out of the job of morality cops."

    I wasn't referring to a government agency. I was referring the aforementioned Republican Congress.

     

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  19.  
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    techflaws.org (profile), Jan 5th, 2011 @ 10:34pm

    Re: Re:

    Because if you believe that violent imagery on television affects a person's psyche, then you'd have to agree that sexual imagery on TV would also affect a person's psyche.

    Right, in one case ppl go out and start shooting other ppl, in the other case ppl go out and start f****g other ppl. Guess what's gonna have a more positive impact on society?

     

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  20.  
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    techflaws.org (profile), Jan 5th, 2011 @ 10:36pm

    LOL!

    Still can't wrap my head around this one. In Europe we get to see ass and tits in pretty much any commercial for soap and stuff in the afternoon and NO, the children are not hurt by it and nobody's freaking out.

     

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  21.  
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    fogbugzd (profile), Jan 7th, 2011 @ 8:29am

    In the process of getting nothing they managed to waste a whole lot of taxpayer money.

    If the new Republican Congress really wants to make cuts they should get the government out of the job of morality cops. Of course that won't make some parts of the party happy, but it would be refreshing to see the party truly return to its small government ideology.

    While they are at it they could stop DHS from being a wholly owned subsidiary of the MPAA. That would save money, protect democracy, get DHS back to doing what it is supposed to be doing, and poke a stick in Obama's eye all at the same time. That ought to appeal to them.

     

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


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