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Subject: [IP] TV Stations Fined Over CBS Show Deemed to Be Indecent

  • From: David Farber <>
  • To:
  • Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2006 05:56:01 -0500

Begin forwarded message:

From: Bob Frankston <>
Date: March 16, 2006 8:31:25 PM EST
To: Dave Farber <>
Subject: TV Stations Fined Over CBS Show Deemed to Be Indecent

Jeff Jarvis does a far better job at analyzing this than I can ( neighborhood/). Why doesn&#x2019;t the rest of the press do at least a modicum of research to explain that 300,000 instead of just reprinting a few press releases? _r=1&oref=slogin


Published: March 16, 2006

The Federal Communications Commission leveled a record $3.6 million fine yesterday against 111 television stations that broadcast an episode of &quot;Without a Trace&quot; in December 2004, with the agency saying the CBS show suggested that its teenage characters were participating in a sexual orgy.

* * *

The story did note &#x201C;The orders are in response to more than 300,000 consumer complaints about programming that viewers found indecent, profane or obscene. Many complaints are lodged in large numbers by organized groups and not by independent viewers&#x201D; but it didn&#x2019;t investigate further &#x2013; do these 300,000 represent more than one point source?

I wonder how many stories even noted that this is an Astroturf campaign. E! Online quoted Martin as saying the number of complaints were going up but then said that the complaints actually fell by 86%.

* * *

Another example of why it is so very dangerous to have Federal Speech Commission &#x2013; the existence of &#x201C;telecommunications&#x201D; lends legitimacy conflating regulation technology with regulating morality. Conversely the perceived need to regulate morality requires regulating technology. It&#x2019;s as if the FCC/FSC stays alive because of the self- references. Another case where we should be doing garbage collection rather than relying on na&#xEF;ve reference counts. The London times noted the inconsistency with the US Constitution but no hint that the books are being cooked.

Bob Frankston

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