Small but extremely vocal organization is bending the ear of the FCC

The Parents Televison Council has been hard at work bitching to the FCC about programming, even though according to this article , many who complain don’t even view the objectionable broadcast.

IMHO, this has nothing to do with partisan beliefs, so take that dog home, he won’t hunt here.

This thread invites intelligent discussion/argument regrading censorship in the media, and those organizations who would affect same.

Why aren’t the folks who support freedom in programming as equally organized and visible? Seriously-I have to question: Do we lose on a de facto basis because we don’t bitch?

Ya might have been better off posting it someplace other than the Pit, then.

Personally, while I find the actions of the PTC dishonest and manipulative, they are technically right when they say that the source and number of complaints shouldn’t really be a factor; it should be an impartial investigation by the FCC to see if any rules are being violated.

However, I do get the impression that they are trying to pressure the FCC to give them specifically what they want here. After all, if the source and number of complaints shouldn’t make a difference, then why organize a mass-email campaign, complete with ready-made complaint forms?

You say it’s not partisan.

You tell me how many of these people all ready to complain about whatever they are told to send in these “prepared” complaint forms, voted anything other than republican?

Well, there’s an unfair request. Or do you have any reason other than your own speculation that those folks are Republicans? I strongly doubt that you’ve got a membership list that also shows who those members voted for in recent elections.

And anyway, the political makeup of the organization has nothing to do with danceswithcats’s subject for debate:

Orchestrated campaigns relying on obviously mass-produced forms or gripes tend to be taken less seriously than more spontaneous complaints.

Anyone who votes in the U.S. does so under a republican framework, so your question makes little sense.

Unless of course you are referring to the Republican party. In that case proper capitalization would be required to make your point.

Point taken.

Looks like the Parents Television Council uses the same PR firm, Creative Response Concepts, as the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

L. Brent Bozell III is President of the Media Research Center, Parents Television Council, and the Conservative Communications Center. His latest book is titled Weapons of Mass Distortion : The Coming Meltdown of the Liberal Media

I think it’s safe to say that danceswithcats assertion that “this has nothing to do with partisan beliefs” is itself a dog that won’t hunt. Brent III appears to be the very epitome of what passes for a conservative in modern America.

That is such a lame cliche.

If Michael Powell values is appointed job, he will kiss the ass of the Christian Right and The Leader. Go ahead and be the first on your block to demand the FCC allow pixilated T&A during prime-time and report back to us on your progress.

The folks who support freedom in programming are investing in media that the Ministry of Truth can’t touch; mainly satellite and cable broadcasts. In only a few years most Americans will be able to see and hear anything they want, anyplace they want, on demand. Groups like PTC and assholes like Michael Powell will be left with Bonanza reruns and Rush Limbaugh to censor, when broadcast television and FM radio go the way of AM radio in popularity and relevance.

Don’t hold your breath or be so naive.,1283,65734,00

I put no faith in the courts stopping the FCC when it comes to a TV blaring in the living room.

Oh, yeah, that liberal media. It’s obvious the “liberal media” is as dead as the beatnik movement, but it’s such a useful lie that I’m sure conservatives will be telling it forever.

As for the OP, Bozell is a well-known Republican op, and the FCC is stacked heavily Republican, so heavily stacked that they totally ignored widespread public input to make it easier for big firms to own more media in more markets. It’s like they’ve got the judges fixed, now they’re trying to get the jury fixed. Ah, well, all of this was extremely predictable once Bush was re-elected. bush is going to toss as many sops to the social conservatives he can without gettign the mainstream riled up.

Read a little further…

And the TV blares away in the living room. While mommy cooks and daddy mows the yard.

You just watch.

They won’t be able to stop themselves.

I disagree. These organizations are opposed to the content regardless of the method of delivery. The goal is not to make the airwaves safe, but instead to eliminate all material that they deem offensive. The fact that the FCC does not have jurisdiction is immaterial. They will apply pressure any where they can. It might be a harder legal struggle to attack satellite or cable broadcasts, but if those are the only targets left - then they will. (This is all IMHO of course).

I am not sure it is a symetrical system. Does the FCC seriously consider complaints that material was censored, not-aired, or not adult enough? Do they consider direct complaints about their policies or judgements? I don’t mean these questions snarky. I honestly don’t know how the FCC works. Since they are appointed by an adminstiration, it seems like there is no guarantee that the FCC’s interest is aligned with the citizens.

There are five members on the FCC.

Three repugs and two dims.

It’s always 3 to 2. By law it has to be.

Federal law or mathmatical law?

No, and yes. The FCC is reactive and responds to rule violations. If you were to complain to the FCC saying something like, “When CBS showed the Sunday Night Movie, they bleeped out all the swear words”, it won’t do any good. CBS doesn’t break any rules by bleeping out the swear words, so there’s nothing for the Commission to do.

However, the Commission’s policies aren’t static. They have a lot of discretion over what they’ll allow, and what they’ll allow changes over time. For the most part, they’ve been liberalizing their policies. (TV programs can get away with a lot more in terms of language and sexuality than they could in the '70s, for example). However, the “wardrobe malfunction” during the Superbowl offended a lot of people, and the “let’s clean up the airways” bandwagon got jumped on by Congress, who put pressure on the FCC to tighten up their stance.

I don’t know that, as far as the FCC is concerned, this is a partisan issue. The Commissioner who’s been most vocal about obscenity and sexuality on the airwaves is Michael Copps, a Democrat, and, before the Superbowl incident, this current Commission hadn’t made broadcast censorship a concern of theirs. In fact, the Commission’s enforcement bureau had just come out with a decision about 6 months earlier saying that it was ok to use “fuck” as an adjective…so you could say “This is fucking brilliant” on broadcast TV. (That decision was reversed after the Superbowl fallout)

Federal law says that the Commission will be made up of five Commissioners, and that no more than 3 may be of one political party (or, as the US Code so elegantly puts it):

So, technically, Bush could have appointed 3 Republicans, a Green, and a Libertarian, but, as far as I know, it’s always gone 3-2 Dem-Rep, or 3-2 Rep-Dem.

I don’t buy that argument. Simply being investigated is a burden upon the target (it takes time and expense to defend oneself, and there’s always a risk of being falsely found guilty). Therefore, there should be a non-trivial threshold for opening an investigation – the opinions of 23f professional complainers don’t cut it.

If a single organization is responsible for 99.9% of the complaints, seems to me that the public at large is unconcerned with these “problems”. The FCC should be responding to actual complaints from regular viewers, not engineered complaints from professional complainers.