A win for the First Amendment

An appeals court just ruled against the FCC:

A U.S. appeals court on Monday overruled federal regulators who decided that expletives uttered on broadcast television violated decency standards, a major victory for TV networks.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission had ruled in March 2006 that News Corp.’s Fox television network had violated decency regulations when singer Cher and actress Nicole Richie blurted out profanities during the 2002 and 2003 Billboard Music Awards’ shows. However, no fines were issued.

A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York, in a 2-1 ruling, said that the FCC’s “new policy sanctioning ‘fleeting expletives’ is arbitrary and capricious.”

The court sent the matter back to the commission for further proceedings. . . .

In their written ruling on Monday, Judges Rosemary Pooler and Peter Hall said that the FCC policy on indecency standards “represents a significant departure from positions previously taken by the agency and relied on by the broadcast industry” and that the commission “has failed to articulate a reasoned basis for this change in policy.”

  • Rob

    Yes, this is most excellent.

    I can’t wait until the day when broadcast television is ALL expletives. More filth, baby, that’s the ticket!

    Couldn’t there be just one small area of our commons that was considered decent and appropriate for everyone? Jeff, are you going to be comforable watchig the evening news with your sainted old grandmother when the old F-bomb goes off (say about eight times, if it’s celebrity interviews)? How about with your six year old? Want to explain “motherfucker” or “dickhead” to a child?

    We don’t have to have decency everywhere, but it doesn’t seem to me to be overly onerous that we keep the public broadcast frequencies decent. Cable, internet, private phone conversation, etc, say what you want. Broadcast airwaves: keep it decent.

    All of the time from the beginning of television to just recently, there were the “seven things you can’t say on TV”. Was that so great a burden against free speech?

  • Jim Wilson

    Sorry, Rob, I disagree. When the FCC tells broadcasters that the FCC will only determine *after the fact* that what went out over the air is obscene, and that the FCC can’t come up with clear rules about what’s acceptable and what’s not, there’s a problem. It’s gone beyond the days of the “seven things,” and it’s about time someone called them on it.

    More like this, please.

  • Greg0658

    Except g.. d… is allowed and human activities like poop and screw are not.

    I was at a fireman dance over the weekend and a song that came over the speakers during break music. Uhhhhhh. A three year old was flying around having a good time. I felt sorry for his little ears and consciousness.

    “Sticks and stones can break the bones but words can never hurt ya” comes to mind. My mom told me that one. I don’t think she thought that one through. Sorry mom. Still .. made sense at the time.

    Is this one liner too far … “which should come first .. the baby or the peace?”

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  • I love it. Down with the Nazis that run the FCC. Too much power for an meanless organization is no good. This is a good win for free speech.

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