Posts about Howard_Stern

Give us our airwaves

I have an op-ed in the NY Post today supporting Google’s call to free up the white spaces between TV channels for, in the words of Larry Page, “wi-fi on steroids.” Snippet:

The government shouldn’t be protecting the entrenched interests and faltering business models of legacy industries like broadcast, cable and phone. Instead, the FCC should be encouraging competition in the marketplace and sparking innovation – especially in an arena so critical to the strategic health of the American economy.

And shouldn’t the FCC be standing up for the consumer, helping to get everyone better service at a lower cost? I vote with Google on this.

In fact, why don’t we just hand the government over to Google? It’s already organizing our knowledge and taking charge of whole industries. It’d likely do a better job of governing than all the bureaucrats in Washington.

F the FCC

Note that the FCC’s empty case against Fox and the FCC continues as Fox refuses to pay a fine for improper use of whipped cream. This was the basis of my FOIA and exclusive reporting that only three complaints led to what was then the largest FCC fine in history. Public outcry, my ass.

At the same time, note that the Supreme Court is hearing the case of the FCC and fleeting expletives. The Times editorial page warns of the danger.

The F.C.C.’s rationale for its fleeting expletives policy is indeed thin. It claimed it was only trying to reflect community standards. But there is scant evidence that the public is up in arms about an occasional coarse word. The words the commission finds so offensive, and so in need of punishment, are the sort commonly heard in PG-rated movies and walking down the street.

The stakes in this case are much higher than whether awards shows can air a few bad words. The F.C.C. has used its new policy to turn itself into a roving censorship board.

Breasts are not bad

Yes, the country sure has fallen to hell since 2003 wouldn’t you say: naked people on the street, wild sex everywhere, young children sold into sexual slavery in once-quiet suburbs. Yes, we were corrupted as a country back then by the nanosecond flash of a breast and a butt.

Good God, I hate the FCC and its interference in speech and culture.

They’ve gone and done it again with a fine against ABC for a flash of T&A on NYPD Blue five years ago.

The description of the scene by the FCC is more lewd and lascivious than the scene itself; it is written as if by a dirty old man:

[A] woman wearing a robe is shown entering a bathroom, closing the door, and then briefly looking at herself in a mirror hanging above a sink. The camera then shows her crossing the room, turning on the shower, and returning to the mirror. With her back to the camera, she removes her robe, thereby revealing the side of one of her breasts and a full view of her back. The camera shot includes a full view of her buttocks and her upper legs as she leans across the sink to hang up her robe. The camera then tracks her, in profile, as she walks from the mirror back toward the shower. Only a small portion of the side of one of her breasts is visible. Her pubic area is not visible, but her buttocks are visible from the side.

The scene shifts to a shot of a young boy lying in bed, kicking back his bed covers, getting up, and then walking toward the bathroom. The camera cuts back to the woman, who is now shown standing naked in front of the shower, her back to the camera. The frame consists initially of a full shot of her naked from the back, from the top of her head to her waist; the camera then pans down to a shot of her buttocks, lingers for a moment, and then pans up her back. The camera then shifts back to a shot of the boy opening the bathroom door. As he opens the door, the woman, who is now standing in front of the mirror with her back to the door, gasps, quickly turns to face the boy, and freezes momentarily. The camera initially focuses on the woman’s face but then cuts to a shot taken from behind and through her legs, which serve to frame the boy’s face as he looks at her with a somewhat startled expression. The camera then jumps to a front view of the woman’s upper torso; a full view of her breasts is obscured, however, by a silhouette of the boy’s head and ears. After the boy backs out of the bathroom and shuts the door, the camera shows the woman facing the door, with one arm and hand covering her breasts and the other hand covering her pubic area. The scene ends with the boy’s voice, heard through the closed door, saying “sorry,” and the woman while looking embarrassed, responds, “It’s okay. No problem.”

This is the FCC’s “analysis:

As an initial matter, we find that the programming at issue is within the scope of our indecency definition because it depicts sexual organs and excretory organs – specifically an adult woman’s buttocks.” Although ABC argues, without citing any authority, that the buttocks are not a sexual organ, we reject this argument, which runs counter to both case law and common sense.

I’d say that the buttocks are not an organ. I’ll cite this definition from Oxford American: “a part of an organism that is typically self-contained and has a specific vital function, such as the heart or liver in humans.”

What’s offensive about this is the sexism of it: A woman’s butt is dirty and corrupting. A woman’s breast is obscene.

When will the women of America stand up and protest?

What is the moral difference between this and making women wear burkas?

But what’s really fun about this is that by calling the buttocks a sexual organ, as the FCC does, they are acknowledging that anal sex is sex.

The FCC says it received “a number” of complaints about this. They don’t even both saying what the number is anymore since that’s been shown (by me) to be meaningless. Though at least this time the FCC admitted that it received “letters from members of various citizen advocacy groups.” First Amendment spam, that is.

The government — no government — should be involved in restricting and regulating speech in any medium. Period.

Control freak pols v. the First Amendment

Seth at the Obstructionist [by the way, why don’t people use their names? aren’t blogs driven by ego?] makes a smartly proper parallel between two moves by control-freak politicians who want to manage our media: Mitt Romney wanting to put a V-chip in all our computers to wash our collective mouths out with soap and John Edwards wanting to stop the purchase of the Wall Street Journal because he doesn’t like the politics of the purchaser. They are, indeed, birds of a feather, even if they do not flock together: They want to control our media, what we read, what we own, what we say. That’s downright unAmerican.

Meddling in media

John Edwards wants the government to stop Murdoch’s purchase of Dow Jones and not just because of the devil consolidation but also because of ideology:

“The basis of a strong democracy begins and ends with a strong, unbiased and fair media — all qualities which are pretty hard to subscribe to Fox News and News Corp. The reality is that Americans deserve more news outlets — not fewer. It’s time for all Democrats, including those running for president, to stand up and speak out against this merger and other forms of media consolidation.

“Moreover, given Fox News’ consistent efforts to demean Democrats — they have attacked the character of Senator Obama, Vice President Gore, and many others — no Democrat running for president should accept campaign money from top News Corp executives….The time has come for Democrats to stop pretending to be friends with the very people who demonize the Democratic Party.”

It is not government’s role to punish speakers for their speech. That is the very essence of the First Amendment. It is constitutionally offensive and politically cynical for him to oppose this merger because he disagrees with the buyer. What kind of precedent is that? What happens in 20 years or so, when the Republicans get back in control, and they stop the New York Times Company from doing business because they don’t like its politics.

It’s even more cynical than that. Edwards is just trying to show up Hillary Clinton for getting money from News Corp. executives, including Democrats there. He is demonizing the company and it outlets and led the revolt against the Democrats appearing on a Fox-aired debate. I made fun of the Democrats for being scared of Fox and I’m making fun of the Republicans for being scared of YouTube and CNN.

Politics is about disagreement. If you can’t stand that much heat, then how the hell can you deal with the disagreements that matter, with the people who are said to hate us so much?

This is silliness but dangerous silliness. Stay away from the press Mr. Edwards, and restrain yourself from cynical censorship.