FCC's Martin Hates Regulation, Except When It Suits Him Politically
from the seven-hundred-thousand-dirty-words dept
It’s sort of funny how when it comes to things like net neutrality and line sharing, Kevin Martin and his cohorts at the FCC keep their hands out and spout a less-regulation-is-better-regulation mantra, but when it comes to things like wiretapping and “indecent” broadcasting, they’ve got no problem using the heavy hand of regulation to intervene. But Martin’s attempt at regulating morality by doling out record fines to broadcasters looks like it could backfire, as TV networks are fighting back in court. They’ve got two main arguments: first, that the FCC is toeing the line of the First Amendment, and second, that the decency standards are so arbitrarily and inconsistently applied that the FCC is overstepping its authority. It’s that inconsistency argument that many legal observers say could pose the biggest problem for the FCC, which defends itself by saying it’s only reacting to viewer complaints. It fails to note, however, that the vast majority of those complaints are computer-generated form letters and emails from “family-friendly” pressure groups, whose involvement lead to a 67,394% increase in the number of complaints received by the FCC between 2001 and 2005. The bigger question, though, is who’s selling all these easily offended people televisions that can’t change channels or be turned off?