The FCC losing its balls?

The Wall Street Journal wonders what happened to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin’s vow to get tougher on so-called indecency.

But Mr. Martin, a Republican, has had difficulty achieving a majority among the four sitting commissioners on some indecency complaints before the FCC, prompting some aides to suggest he reduce the backlog by seeking fines or dismissals in a more piecemeal fashion, rather than resolving a large number at once. Mr. Martin has one ally on these issues in Michael Copps, a Democratic commissioner.

Two other commissioners, a Republican and a Democrat, generally favor more modest actions, and their unease at handing out big fines and expanding the FCC’s definitions of unacceptable programming has slowed Mr. Martin’s efforts….

Other complaints concerned graphic descriptions on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” of teenage sex acts, which drew thousands of complaints. The FCC is likely to dismiss those complaints, insiders say, because viewers were warned about the nature of the show’s content, and Ms. Winfrey said it was aired to help educate parents. Many of the complaints about the Oprah Winfrey show were from supporters of Mr. Stern, the shock-jock, noting that the show’s language was far more suggestive than some of his shows that have drawn FCC fines.

And there we see the FCC’s essential hypocrisy and perhaps the real reason for the slow-down in finess: They got rid of Stern. Their work is done.

: But, of course, I fear that the FCC will get jealous of Canada, where the government also regulates speech on satellite — and where, in fear of government action, Sirius’ franchisees will not air Stern. I fear the FCC will try to follow course, even if it is unconstitutional in this country.