F***ing Private Ryan: A complaint to the FCC
: I just filed this complaint to the FCC regarding the F word on “Saving Private Ryan”:
I am filing a complaint regarding the airing of “Saving Private Ryan” on WABC TV in New York between 8 and 11 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 11.
I heard the word “fuck” — or variants of it — three times in one sentence.
I personally believe that the FCC should not be regulating or overseeing speech in any way and should not be in a position to fine speech. I further believe the FCC’s actions in this arena are unconstitutional as is the new indecency legislation about to give you further power to fine.
However, because you have declared that Bono violated the law for saying “fuck” you must find that WABC and every other ABC outlet that aired “Saving Private Ryan” violated the law. There is no difference. Because you have fined Howard Stern far more for what many would argue is far less — even for mere fart sounds — you must fine WABC and other ABC outlets.
You made this bed, FCC. Now lie in it.
I am very serious about this complaint. I am not just making a statement. I am making a formal complaint and believe that you must be consistent in your enforcement of this law and regulation. Yes, I will tell you that I relish your embarrassment at having to fine very ABC outlet that aired “Saving Private Ryan” for every instance of a “bad” word or deed. I relish the opportunity to point out the absurdity and Constitutional offensiveness this law and of your inconsistent enforcement. And thus, I file this complaint with all seriousness. I received no reply to a prior complaint I filed against Oprah Winfrey for the same alleged sins that brought Howard Stern huge fines. I expect a reply to this complaint.
The FCC has received other complaints [via LostRemote]
I urge you to send your own complaint to the FCC along the same lines — force their hand. It doesn’t matter if you just cut-and-paste mine; that’s what most complaints to the FCC look like. So here’s the address: email@example.com.
: Also… I just got a response to my Freedom of Information Act request on another FCC action and I’ll give you that Buzzmachine Exclusive (drum roll, please) in a day or two.
: These meddlesome moms even turned their complaint factory into an online form revealing just what a crock this really is. Get a load of the organization behind this: They’re trying to create a stink about P&G recruiting homosexuals, teaching creationism, abortion, you name it.
Sane, mainstream Americans stand up and fight this fringe! Don’t let them set the agenda! Show just how absurd their crusade is! They would censor what you can say and hear. Don’t let them! Force the FCC into a corner show reveal just how offensive their offense is!
Everything but the badge
: Staci Kramer is live-blogging the Online News Association blatherfest in Hollywood over at PaidContent.
: Adam Penenberg at Wired News reports potentially good news for small sites (which, presumably, includes citizens’ media):
Next week, I/Pro and BPA are set to announce a $100 million program that will offer these niche sites an incentive to get audited. After I/Pro does its dirty work, a website would be eligible to receive ads from advertisers and ad buyers participating in I/Pro’s Agencies for Interactive Audits program. Some of these members include Universal McCann, Beyond Interactive and eDiets.com.
The idea is to convince a whole generation of small and mid-sized sites to embrace one traffic standard. If this initiative is successful and I/Pro can make third-party auditing a requirement before ad firms will pay for advertising online, Barlin and his colleagues should stand to make a tidy profit.
A few reality checks: I wasted many a boring hour sitting on the first committee of the Audit Burea of Circulation to set up just such a traffic/audience audit structure as this for big publishers’ sites. It no longer exists. The issue: Advertisers care about auditing their own ads; they don’t really care about audited traffic counts for the sites. Now that may be somewhat different in this new world of smaller sites. But I know that the big publishers wouldn’t pay for the overall circulation audits; advertisers said they wanted them but never really demanded them; they’re gone.
Second, what is good about this is that it could start with setting standards for recording and reporting traffic and audience and that would be great. This new medium of small, distributed sites needs that badly.
Third, anybody who does that will need to be able to lash up traffic counts for ad hoc networks (e.g., networks of food bloggers or political bloggers an advertiser wants to buy).
Fourth, they also should set up the means and standards to let small sites do such things as set cookies so we can get accurate audience counts.
Fifth, they have to deal with RSS. That’s new since this was last tackled. Many sites, such as this one, put out their entire content on RSS and that’s not counted at all by SiteMeter. But what is counted on our servers is also misleading, since it keeps track of how many times a feed was downloaded when what we need to know is how many times the feed (or posts) were displayed (and thus presumably read).
Sixth, any new measurement regime should get ready to measure audio and video, too. And that opens up a whole ‘nother can o’ worms regarding measuring audience for content that is delivered via P2P such as BitTorrent. But we’ll get to that later. One giant step for mankind at a time. [via PaidContent]
Argue with me II: What old and new media can teach each other
: I’ll continue to post Q&As from the Corante interview by Ernie Miller in hopes of getting discussion going over at Corante’s site. The first one is below. Here’s the second one on what big media and citizens media and learn from each other. If you feel so inclined to bark at me (or purr) please, by all means, go do so here.
EM: What lessons should the old media be learning? What lessons can they teach newer media?
JJ: Big media has a great deal to learn from citizens’ media. First and foremost, old media lost its humanity. It no longer knows how to talk to us eye-to-eye and it certainly doesn’t know how to listen. It refuses to admit that it could be human and make mistakes (see Dan Rather, see Howell Raines). Big media must learn that news isn’t over when it’s printed and fishwrap; that is when the real story cycle begins, when the public asks questions and adds facts and corrects mistakes and adds perspective and helps get closer to the truth. Big media has to learn to be more honest — that is, to level with its public, to reveal its prejudices and process as citizen journalists do.
On a practical level — as advertising revenue and audiences decline — big media has to learn from citizens’ media how to do things cheaper, to spend less effort and money on commodity news we already know and more effort on the skills and products that make it valuable. And citizens’ media can help big media do this: At Advance.net, my employer, we are experimenting with hyperlocal blogs written by people in our towns in our newspaper and online markets, providing news and information and viewpoints we never could afford to gather on our own and allowing us — or so the strategy goes — to target advertising so narrowly that we can attract a new population of advertisers who never could afford to use our products before: the golden fleece of the local drycleaner and pizzeria and lawyer.
Now on what citizens’ media can learn from the big guys:
Though I do believe that big media has a great deal to learn from citizens’ media — if they’ll listen — I also believe there are lessons old media can teach the new. Some bloggers may not want to hear that, but I think it is the responsibility of established media to share those lessons with those who’ll listen.
Some of the lessons are quite practical: Journalism — and legal — experts should be teaching bloggers about protecting themselves in the arenas of libel and copyright. And it’s important to add that big media should see bloggers as colleagues and help extend such protections as shield laws to them, for what happens to bloggers could happen to journalists and vice versa. Journalists also can teach bloggers how to use the Freedom of Information Act to dog government. I’d even say that some bloggers would benefit from learning how to write better headlines and leads and nut graphs, as we quaintly call them.
Big media — sometimes by unfortunate example — also can provide object lessons in the value of the only real asset they hold, credibility, and how that can fall away if treated with disregard, haughtiness, or disrespect. See, again, The New York Times with Jayson Blair and CBS News with Rathergate. Pride goeth before the expose. But bloggers would be wise not to get haughty themselves, as I fear they will. When I appeared on CNBC’s Capitol Report the other night with a blogger, he put himself above The Times and CBS because, he declared, he gets his facts right and they don’t. I wanted to shout at him: Stop now before it’s too late! Don’t make yourself into an would-be institution, like Rather; don’t put yourself up on a pedestal, because the fall from it is long and painful!
And now a plug for the Citizens Media Center:
(Pardon this interruption for a pledge moment: I’ve been trying to fund a Citizens’ Media Center to deal with precisely these issues, serving four constituencies — citizens’ media practitioners, who could benefit from a few of these lessons; and journalism students, big media companies, and newsmakers, all of whom need to learn how to interact with their publics in new ways. It’s my media mitzvah. Think this is a good cause? Email me. Now back to John Tesh and Yanni at Riverdance….)
Behind the scenes
: I’ve mentioned a few times that Howard Stern might leave Viacom early. The other day, I said he’s making noises about this. The New York Post reported yesterday that there are rumblings. The Wall Street Journal today gives the backstory:
The issue is that Viacom has withdrawn its financial support from Mr. Stern’s legal fight against Clear Channel Communication Inc., which dropped his show earlier this year after the Federal Communications Commission began a crackdown on indecent broadcasts….
Mr. Stern is negotiating to get out of his contract with Infinity so he can join Sirius earlier than the 2006 date currently planned. Mr. Stern announced his planned move to Sirius last month, live on his show. Sirius likely would have to pay a steep price to land Mr. Stern early; he brings in some $80 million annually in advertising revenue and $50 million annually in cash flow to Infinity, according to people familiar with the matter….
At the end of June, Infinity and Mr. Stern filed a $10 million breach-of-contract suit against Clear Channel for dropping Mr. Stern’s show earlier in the year. In July, Clear Channel countersued for $3 million, alleging Mr. Stern broke his contract with the company by not conforming to federal decency standards.
Everybody’s playing a game of Hollywood chicken. My bet is that we’ll hear Stern on Sirius by spring: The longer this goes on, the less Sirius has to pay to buy him out; the more he will be irritating Viacom; the more eager Viacom will be to replace him with whatever’s next (once they figure that out); the more eager Stern will be to just get out; the more Sirius will want to start getting in new customers with Stern. Meanwhile, though, it would be a damned crime if Clear Channel is allowed to slink away in the night.
Across the divide
: Peter Berkowitz, conservative, has four suggestions for how the Bush administration should reach out to Democrats:
: Appoint a Democrat or two to the federal bench.
: Appoint a liberal hawk to a foreign-policy position.
: Bring a Democrat in to work on improving education.
: Set up regular meetings with Democrats on Capitol Hill.
And as for bridging the divide off Capitol Hill and among the masses, I suggest keg parties.