Safest common denominator

Bob Wrightdefends the First Amendment against the FCC in the Wall Street Journal:

So an FCC policy intent on ensuring that there will be nothing on broadcast TV that is inappropriate for kids during certain hours is doomed to failure. Do the math: 85% of households have cable and satellite, leaving 15% receiving broadcast TV only. Two-thirds of those households do not have kids under 18. Thus, the FCC appears to be basing its actions on a policy that is relevant to 5% of households. Moreover, government efforts to regulate content are invariably riddled with unfortunate consequences.

For example, breaking with established precedent, the FCC recently found a live network news program to be “indecent” because a single expletive was unexpectedly uttered by someone being interviewed by a reporter. What public interest is served when news organizations, unwilling to take the risk of incurring a fine, stop interviewing individuals live on camera — or air all newscasts only after being cleared by a language censor? . . .