The Daily Stern afternoon edition: Creeping FCCism

The Daily Stern afternoon edition: Creeping FCCism
: The FCC decides to regulate the content of satellite programming. By what frigging authority?

Satellite television providers such as DirecTV and the Dish Network will have to follow the same rules for political and children’s advertising as over-the-air broadcasters and cable TV operators under regulations announced yesterday.

The rules issued by the Federal Communications Commission require satellite operators to allow political candidates to buy advertising time on their systems and to sell it to them at the lowest rates they offer to commercial customers. Like cable systems, satellite operators have commercial time on the networks they carry that they can sell.

Michael Perko, an official with the FCC’s media bureau, said the commission acted now because of the increase in satellite service. The FCC reported in January that 23.7 million Americans received television via satellite, 22% of all households that pay for television. Cable, with 70.5 million households, has 75% of the market.

By that rationale, then the FCC should start regulating newspapers and magazines because they’re in a lot of homes, too.

Damnit, let’s get this straight: The FCC is a two-bit licensing agency and it is not charged with (a) protecting our morals or (b) selecting our content. They try to get away with that on broadcast because of the allegedly limited bandwidth on public airwaves (which is bull these days since there are so many ways to broadcast content). Satellite is not broadcast. But that doesn’t stop the creeping FCC. Mark my words: They’ll try to find something involving content to regulat on the Internet next.

  • The FCC needs to be abolished.

  • if Sat tv, what’s stopping them from Sat radio?

  • Buzz

    Because just like regular broadcast radio and TV, satellite comes in over the air! If the FCC can create a new market for billionaires by using threat of force to keep me from broadcasting on the same wavelengths, then the FCC can regulate that market. If you don’t want the FCC to be able to regulate it, then they should let me on the airwaves too. It’s that simple.
    Exactly whose right to “Free Speech” are you defending here anyway?

  • ken

    Look, I’m no expert in this regard, but Satellite TV isn’t the same as Satellite Radio, as far as I can tell. The FCC isn’t policing the content of the shows here. Correct me if I’m wrong (and I admit right now that I could be wrong), but the Discovery Channel that comes to my tube from DirecTV is already held to the same standards to the Discovery Channel that gets to my neighbor’s tv through Cablevision. This seems to me about advertising content and that only applies to those channels that carry advertising. (DirecTV carries satellite music channels. No advertising there, so these rules don’t apply. Again, correct me if I’m wrong).
    Now, like you, Jeff, I think these political advertising laws are ridiculous BUT this seems like little more than applying the same stupid rule to a provider that might be using new technology but is otherwise essentially the same. The FCC isn’t telling DirecTV it has to offer adverchannels to politicians (although, THERE’S a business prop for DirecTV) and it’s not monkeying with The Spice Channel.
    And where the FCC can use the excuse of bandwidth for public broadcasting, it probably has the same sort of excuse in store for satellite. Many of those satellites didn’t get into space by themselves or without some help from the Fedrul gubmint.
    Again, correct me if I’m wrong on any of this. I’m not opposed to your battle against the FCC, but this doesn’t seem like the same sort of pernicious FCC creep you rail against elsewhere.

  • Ken- like youself I could be totally wrong on this, but I think *if* there’s different rules for things broadcast over cable and sat. I think the reason you are getting the same thing is because the channels don’t send out TWO feeds, just the one that complies with the restrictions of on broadcast form, the other has to deal with it by default. Can you imagine if every station produced a different broadcast for every method of delivery?
    That said, I don’t think your neighbor who has cable has a ton of restrictions you don’t. I think your neighbor who only gets TV from bunny ears on his TV set does, thats where the FCC steps in and says “this is using the airwaves” and regulates, but cable isn’t bound by those, that’s why shows on HBO are so much better than anything on the major broadcast networks, they don’t have to bown down to the same restrictions.

  • Powell takes his marching orders from the Fundamentalist Christians in the White House and at the Justice Department. This is the expected outcome for a nation that has forgotten that the separation of church and state is the cornerstone of our peace and prosperity.

  • geezer

    STILL ranting about Stern??! I only stopped by after a link from Tim Blair, and was curious if you were still going on about the most infantile 50 yr old in America.
    Have fun with all that!

  • Trump

    Anything that gets Stern off the air is fine by me.
    He wants to call people Nazis? Then he better not be suprised if they fight back.
    Remember, exercise YOUR freedom of speech, and tell your congressman and senator and the FCC you’re in favor of cracking down on hate speech like Stern spews on a daily bais.
    Lets teach him a lesson

  • Trump

    By the way, I’d still like proof Sterns rights are being violated.
    Everything he’s said so far is a patent lie. He HASN’T been fined millions of dollars. He HASN’T been enjoined from broadcasting. He HASN’T been arrested. He HASN’T been fired.
    Yet you listen to his every word as if it’s gospel.
    Lets put it this way: Even if his 1st ammendment right is being violated, he deserves it. He has constantly abused it, violated others 1st ammendment rights (O&A) and has been unmindful of the consequences of his actions. He has lied, slandered, spread political and anti-religious hatred and ignorance.
    Why should he even HAVE a 1st ammendment right to hide behind.
    If he wants to call people who are religious or hold Republican political views Nazis, I tell you what- I am happy to oblige him and prove him right. And he can cry about being right all he wants from his home when we force him from the airwaves.
    Because as ye shall so, so shall ye reap. And he sowed hatred, and now he shall reap hatred.
    Call your senator to SUPPORT the pending indecency legislation!
    Because you know what’s even more important than Stern’s “rights” ? It’s sending a message. The next guy won’t throw that Nazi word around so freely, I guarantee you that. The next guy may even learn a little respect for those who have strong religious beliefs. Or if not respect, then some tolerance. Maybe seeing Stern personally fined into destitution will provide an abject lesson for the next shock jock.
    Here’s hoping.
    This is what happens when you get someone mad. They act. And for every one of me, there’s 3 or 4 Stern supporters who probably can’t be bothered to voice their opinion.
    So we’ll win.

  • Mike

    Trump, your rants are starting to sound like Howard’s!
    You do realize that even if the indecency legislation is passed, Stern is not going to quit as he says he is. And he will still be allowed to throw out all the Bush is Hitler, his administration is worse than the Taliban chatter he wants.
    Misanthropyst: crawl back into your hole before the folks in the black helicopters get you!
    It sounds like Ken and Sean are making some good points. I’d be curious if someone with more knowledge can either verify or deny their assertions.

  • Tom Jones

    geez, you all are a bunch of uninformed hicks. International law and treaties give each county control over what is broadcast to their citizens in specific areas, and the FCC is charged with oversight in the US. That’s why Canadians cannot buy DishTV or DirecTV: the Canandian government won’t allow it, and they have the right to do so. It’s impractical to regulate radio or television per international boundaries. It’s a myth to think that satellite radio or satellite television is unregulated.

  • Oh is THAT why the Weather Channel ignores Canada?

  • freedom to subscribe

    Isn’t the FCC posturing in an attempt to pressure cable and satellite television companies into offering a la carte programming?
    It’s costing $1,200 annually to bring a basic cable package ($55+/monthly) and high speed internet access ($40+/monthly) into a home.
    At this price, shouldn’t we have the option to subscribe to television programming a la carte? If homeowners are the gatekeeper, the FCC wouldn’t be in the position of trying to regulate smut.
    As much as I enjoy Comedy Central, I am concerned about the mainstreaming of porn in our culture. I can understand why consumers resent being forced to pay for programming they find offensive in order to get access to programming which is of value to them.

  • sol

    “Then you obviously are not a regular listener. He has blasted Bush on several issues before”
    AndyB, you’re just wrong (or dishonest). This is another example of the left’s Big Lie tactic. The only tactic they have left due to the exposed bankrupt (and worse) nature of their ideology.
    Stern was pro-Bush (the war on terror transcended all other issues for Stern) and very vocal about it just prior to his learning that the FCC was going to fine his show – and, big point – fine individual on-air employees rather than just their companies. He turned on a dime and positioned himself as anti-Bush so he could present himself as a victim for his ‘political speech’ rather than for having his cast put their toes into the vaginas of girls on air or making people each sandwiches with pubic hair in them, or the endless fa*t sounds that accompany everything he says. Stern knows that when people hear what he actually does on air it exposes him as the old creep that he’s always been (even when he was 30 he was an old creep due to his frozen 14-year-old mentality).

  • This case goes beyond Stern. In that case, you’re talking about publicly owned airwaves, over assigned frequencies that are a finite resource (they aren’t making any more), with no subscription fee. In the case of satellite TV or radio, there’s no limit on number of channels, they are not public owned, and you don’t see/hear anything unless you pay for it.
    This is a case where you should let the marketplace dictate. If people don’t like the content, or find it in some way obscene … then don’t pay for it!

  • “John”

    I’m in Canada. You’re right, our government has laws preventing us from receiving foreign satellite signals without a license.
    Well buggar them. Huge numbers of us ignore the law and ‘listen’ anyway. It’s so bad that the local coppers ignore the dishes that seem to be everywhere.
    The laws are an immoral disgrace, unenforceable and bringing the rule of law into disrepute. Another great accomplishment of the leftoids.

  • This is the result of a bad law: the one naming them the Federal COMMUNICATIONS Commission, rather than the Federal Radio Spectrum Commission. The second would be what they need to regulate, the rest … should compete them out of business. They, of course, took the regulation of cable on the grounds that cable competed with their precious radio spectrum (talk about lame reasoning), and, worse, Congress has not reined them in.

  • So funny how people’ own pettys simplistic views of Stern cloud their head about these issues. Why do you think Stern, Heavy Metal and Gangsta Rap are used as examples to strip people of rights. Because people have ignorant flashpoint opnions.
    Yes Stern was a vocal supporter of Bush during the war and post 9/11. As were many people (duh! why his opinion resonates…)BUT voted for Gore, endorsed Gore, said Bush stole presidency and has always been ant-bush as a richie rich type, preferring more working class style politician(duh! why his opinion resonates…)so his current stance is not that far a stretch for all those PC commandos who dont want align with Stern on the side of common sense and freedom.
    Chris Larry

  • sol

    Chris, nobody cares what Stern thinks about one politician or another. Stern is dumber than Al Franken politically (only Stern can achieve that). The point is Stern learned of fines in the pipeline (and NEW kinds of fines like ones that hit the pocketbook of the on-air personalities themselves) and immediately and disengenuously – dishonestly – positioned himself as anti-Bush so that he could say he was being persecuted by the government for his political views rather than for his toe-in-vagina type routines. It’s all sh**.
    As for Bush stealing the election… No, Kennedy stole the ’60 election. That’s well documented. In the 2000 election Democrats couldn’t figure out a ballot designed by a Democrat and voted for Pat Buchanan instead of alien-walk-in Gore. God be praised.

  • freedom to subscribe

    If people don’t like the content, or find it in some way obscene … then don’t pay for it!
    With bundling of stations on cable and satellite tv, you’re not given the option of deciding what content you are paying for. The decision has been made for you, whether or not your like it.
    Well buggar them. Huge numbers of us ignore the law and ‘listen’ anyway. It’s so bad that the local coppers ignore the dishes that seem to be everywhere.
    Are you by chance pirating signals? Who are you paying for these services, how much? Are there any taxes, fees, surcharges? We’re not by chance subsidizing your television viewing habits, first our pharmaceuticals, now this?
    One more thing, we own the air waves, comprende?
    I saw an interview with gold-medalist Myriam Bedard on CBC News tonight. I couldn’t quite get a grasp on her allegation of misconduct by Via Rail, her testimony cut short, a sculptor-husband who can’t pronounce 24 Sussex but managed to get a few suggestions across to Jean Chretien, interesting content.

  • KMK

    Public Integrity has a media tracker. Go put in your zip code and it will tell you who controls the media where you live. Radio station transmitters, TV station transmitters, cable systems in your area, and print media organizations in your area.
    I think some people are confused about what they own as the public. The public channels that are broadcast in your area have to be broadcast by satellite and cable. The rest you pay for and do not own the content. e.g. – Discovery channel vs. NY1 news (if your in NY) discovery you would pay a bundled fee for and NY1 is broadcast free. Radio is a little different. If you have an emergency in your area your best to know which station is local because a Clear Channel station is a taped feed and won’t be able to get out an emergency broadcast as rapidly as your local channel will.

  • Satellite is not broadcast
    Oh yeah, how does it get from space to your dish genius? If it’s controlled electormagnetic radiation it’s broadcast. They first started regulating cable because the headends were connected by microwave repeaters. Also without a standard regulation of cable systems too much power was left to the municiaplities to negotiate their own crazy rules for each cable system in each town. Interestingly enough Public Access channels circumvent indecency rules all together and can only be regulated through the contract with the city. Hillsborough County in Florida had a show with full on nudity (like beyond Hustler variety, not Playboy) and the only recourse the county had was to threaten to remove funding from the whole system. (Google. “White Chocolate Rhoda Storm” sometime).
    Internet is a common carrier so content can’t be regulated (kinda like you talking on the phone).
    Really can people take an intro to Mass Comm Law class or, I don’t know, read the friggin’ FCC site which is pretty exhaustive on history and regulatory authority (and where it comes from including case law citations) before we all jump on the “FCC should be abolished” bandwagon?

  • No

    Available at better blogs (yesterday) “More than seventy percent of Clear Channel’s political contributions have gone to the Democratic Party.” Now can we close this topic?
    Or must we all depart to The response rate at buzzmachine has dropped to no better than 20 percent of Roger’s. And the commentary/posts are more adult to boot, just like the ‘old’ Jeff.

  • If the FCC can create a new market for billionaires by using threat of force to keep me from broadcasting on the same wavelengths, then the FCC can regulate that market.
    So … if if my county’s land title office can create property for billionaires by using threat of force to keep me from building a house on their land, then the land title office can regulate what activities are permitted in peoples’ homes?

  • you’ll get it eventually

    “The potential effect of expanding the concept and enforcement of indecency legislation is deeply troubling from a First Amendment standpoint,” says Floyd Abrams, visiting professor of First Amendment issues at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. “We seem to be moving rapidly to greater regulation of even more speech that’s protected under the First Amendment. We’re not talking about obscenity. We’re talking about broadcasts that are in bad taste.”
    The language of the statute is deliberately vague to avoid charges of censorship. Beyond George Carlin’s seven words you can’t say, the FCC can’t be much more specific than “patently offensive” without treading on freedom of expression.
    “That’s the neat thing about First Amendment rights,” says Mahaney of the parents council. “The government can’t prevent the material from being broadcast. But it can fine them when it decides that it’s indecent.
    ” That’s exactly the problem, says Harrison, of Talkers magazine. “It’s a very dangerous precedent to have politicians telling you after the fact that you were indecent

  • No

    Is this the same Floyd Kramer who organized faculty and lawyers for Gore 4 years ago? If so, let’s not take him as an impartial source, huh? Please? The lack of adjectival prefixes at this blog is outrageous…unless someone is a teensy bit to the right, at which point Jarvis will preface the quote with: “Lunatic right winger.”

  • Rootbeer

    Even if his 1st ammendment right is being violated, he deserves it.
    Trump: your inability to spell “amendment” correctly is somehow the LEAST troubling aspect of your comprehension of the Bill of Rights.