The (not quite) Daily Stern

The (not quite) Daily Stern

: The FCC is getting ready to fine CBS $550,000 for Janet Jackson’s nipple.

Shouldn’t they feel just a little embarrassed, grown men sitting there tsk-tsking a nipple with the full force of government. Infantile.

Says the Washington Post:

“We would be extremely disappointed,” CBS said in a statement issued last night. “While we regret that the incident occurred, and have apologized to our viewers, we continue to believe that nothing in the Super Bowl broadcast violated indecency laws.

“We would obviously review all of our options to respond to the ruling and we continue to call on the FCC to address serious issues raised by the more than 30 industry participants who challenged the FCC’s sweeping new indecency policy,” the statement said.

  • Hunter McDaniel

    Yes, the FCC should be embarrased.
    But CBS also should be embarrassed for for staging an R-rated halftime at what has always been a G-rated event. And please don’t try to claim this was an ‘accident’.

  • shark

    Youa dn Stern should be happy. You both whined that the FCC never did anything about the nipple. Now they did.
    Fairness sux, doesn’t it?

  • chuck

    Infantile.
    Surely. And so was showing a nipple on national tv. Now, if you want to argue that exposing a nipple during halftime represents maturity, have at it.

  • http://www.tonypierce.com tony

    it’s not really fair because theyre not fining CBS for each of the outlets that complained, like they fined Stern.
    if they did this would be a multi-million dollar fine. i would be interested in finding out why they’re not following their own rules.
    half million dollar fine for an event that happened at halftime of the freaking superbowl is a drop in the bucket. they made that off of a 15 second spot. isnt the purpose of fines to disuade people from doing them again.

  • http://www.bobsassone.com Bob Sassone

    Here’s the problems though, as I see them:
    1.) The halftime show was LIVE, and the nipple thing was (as far as we know, and there’s no other way we can take it unless we or the FCC have proof) an accident. They are going to fine CBS the same amount as if someone took it upon themselves and did it intentionally? What did CBS do besides accidentally show it?
    On USA the other night, during the US Open, they played a TAPE of an incident that happened during the commercial break, a player (Roddick I think, though I could be wrong) saying “shit” to the referee. They could have bleeped it out because it was on tape, but they decided to run it. I found that interesting.
    2.) Let’s say the nipple thing never happened. Do you think the FCC and CBS would have been outraged by the risque content? Let’s face it, that halftime show, even without the nipple, was pretty out there, and CBS approved it! Would the FCC had fined anyone over that nipple-less show?
    The halftime show wasn’t shocking for me personally, but it seems that everyone is shocked by Miss Jackson’s nipple, yet if that incident hadn’t had happened CBS would have thought the rest of the show was A-OK and the FCC wouldn’t have given it a second thought.

  • Andy

    In the corporate/commercial world we learn to argue with policy makers not policy enforcers. Policy enforcers have no power of discretion. Counter clerks and customer service reps have limited and specific authority.
    Congress got 500,000+ complaints. The enforcers have to act. If Congress gets 1 million saying “Change the law” they will act. No complaints to Congress or about the role of Congress have appeared. For an issue of such Far Reaching Importance; Congress should be involved.
    This is the equivalent of complaining about a speeding or parking ticket given by the police. They don’t make the rules. They just enforce them.
    This Horse is Dead. This is an ex-Horse.

  • http://twistedspinster.com/ Andrea Harris

    Like CBS couldn’t eat 550K without even noticing. Gosh, there went the budget for the pilot episode of the new “reality tv” series, Yukon Logging Camp. I’m heartbroken.

  • Hunter McDaniel

    Sorry Bob, but I don’t buy the argument that the nipple-baring was an “accident”.
    1)MTV (who produced the halftime) had a teaser on their website beforehand advising viewers to look for a “shocking finale”.
    2)There was no reason for JJ to be wearing pasties underneath her dress UNLESS the breast was going to be exposed at some point.

  • http://www.tonypierce.com tony

    the problem, Andy, is that these particular policy enforcers dole out the fines (seemingly) randomly and for mostly political reasons.
    Plus they dont like to explain in detail why someone was fined and why someone else wasnt fined.
    The Oprah/Stern anal+oral sex debate continues to go on without any guidence from the FCC. why did Stern get fined and Oprah did not.
    Meanwhile, everyone saw Janet’s nipple 9 months ago, why is the fine taking 9 months? Either she exposed herself or she didn’t. Why the delay in the fine? Similarily where is the clarity surrounding Oprah? Is she off the hook?

  • http://www.tonypierce.com tony

    Hunter,
    that wasnt a pastie that Janet was wearing. if it was there would have been no fine. she was wearing a nipple ring, which she has been known to wear under her clothes in many instances where she does not reveal herself.
    isnt it possible that she was supposed to have one layer of her top ripped off and not two layers?
    and even if it was an accident i would still say that if nipple equals fine then nipple equals fine, accident or no.
    nipple equals fine!

  • alkali

    Ridiculous. I’ve seen some nipples in my time, and that was a $400,000 nipple tops.

  • h0mi

    That wasnt a nipple ring but a nipple guard. I’m unconvinced that this was staged or accidental; I just don’t know.
    As far as Oprah vs Stern, its a question of whether Oprah’s show was deemed “indecent”. Given the sluggishness of the FCC in delivering fines (the 9 months turnaround time seemed awful quick… those Stern fines were from shows from 2 or so years ago) I’d be shocked if any decisions about Oprah’s show came down this year.
    The biggest problem, in spite of Powell’s protests, is that there are no clear guidelines. So 1 FCC commissioner may have an axe to grind against Stern and come down hard on him, but if he’s also an Imus fan, Imus will likely get carte blanche to do whatever Stern can’t. The lack of clear and consice guidelines is what makes this issue such an ordeal IMO- no lines are drawn but we (or broadcasters, rather) are supposed to know where they exist.
    “community standards” is something I’d love the SCOTUS to eventually one day demand clarification on; it’s unlikely the scotus would ever eliminate this standard for obscenity or indecency, but if the scotus required congress to provide a clear deliniation of what those lines actually are & the responsibilities of broadcasters to meet those guidelines, this issue would be less significant.

  • kkl

    Word to your entire post, Andy. It’s John Q. Public one should be angry with (if one even cares enough to work up the emotion), not the FCC. They’re just responding to the public outcry.
    I’m sure if Oprah’s show created the same stir among the public, she’d be getting a fine as well.