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?
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    Theoden, 19 May 2006 @ 12:36pm

    Re: hrmm...

    Change the channel is a GREAT argument because what you might consider "decent" could be offensive to me. Does that give me the right to keep you from seeing that which you find decent?

    Better Parenting does NOT mean that you have to stand over your kid's shoulder 24/7 - it means you TEACH them what your moral beliefs are through words and actions, and know that they will have to face things on their own one day. But if you have taught them well, they can make informed decisions rather than simply wondering where all of this indecency came from and why their mommy isn't stopping them from seeing it.

    It is the radical people who make the most noise, and they do what they can to have their views forced down everyone else's throat. Just because they object to something, they feel that everyone else should be prohibited from seeing it, and that is WRONG. Arbitrarily deciding that something is decent or indecent is NOT the way to run things, and caving to the radical groups is not in anybody's best interests.

    And yes, I have raised children and have practiced "Change the Channel" while I explain WHY I am doing so. That is good parenting.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Discord

The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...

Loading...
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.