CBS affiliates are arguing to the FCC that the fine against them for Without a Trace because the alleged complaints didn’t come from people.

CBS affiliate stations told federal regulators on Tuesday that proposed fines for a prime-time TV drama depicting teenagers engaged in sex should be tossed out because complaints about the show did not come from real people.

In a motion filed with the Federal Communications Commission, the affiliates argued against complaints that resulted in a FCC proposal to levy $3.3 million in fines for CBS stations that aired the “Without a Trace” episode.

The affiliates claim that not one of the 4,211 complaints the FCC received came from any place outside “the Web sites operated by two advocacy groups — the Parents Television Council and, to a much lesser extent, the American Family Association.” …

“Permitting enforcement reliance on a uniform, national mass e-mail campaign is akin to simply permitting the commission to single out programming it dislikes — even in the absence of any viewer complaint — and to target that programming for punishment,” the affiliates wrote. “The commission wisely has eschewed playing the role of roving enforcer of indecency policy in the past, and it should continue to do so here.”

The FCC — and the media, blindly falling for this ruse — are complicit in a fraud against the First Amendment.

  • Better late that CBS fights these fines, than never.

  • Nothing these people do is real:

    here’s the 411 on a plagiarized op-ed from PTC that appeared this week:


  • Where would we be without the FCC. On a side-note the characters having sex on the show are not real either. Shouldn’t we really teaching our children was is real and what is fake before having to teach them how to have sex. I mean, really, shouldn’t we all just get rid of all our televisions anyway?

  • So the complaints were “fake but accurate”?

    If it’s good enough for CBS news and current affairs, surely it must be good enough for the FCC.

  • Northcoast

    What’s a “commercial TV program”? They still have those on? Haven’t seen one in years. Too much of life is far more interesting.

  • Falstaff

    It absolutely disgusts me that an organization like PTC games the FCC system to subvert American democracy. They claim 1 million members, yet they effectively make TV content decisions for all Americans in 109 million TV households.

    If that’s democracy in action, I’d hate to live in a totalitarian dictatorship!

    Check out TV Watch, at http://www.televisionwatch.org, for a common sense voice of reason…something the indecency debate desperately needs.