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The Boob Tube

FCC Isn’t Sure How to Censor Television Anymore, Wants Our Advice

The Federal Communications Commission wants a piece of our minds. I suggest you keep your use of profanity to the minimum.

The FCC lost a major court case last year when the Supreme Court itself ruled that in favor of broadcasters and told the agency that its stated rules and regulations on what was considered too “indecent” for prime time television were unconstitutionally vague. Apparently this caused the agency to take a hard look at its work on resolving reported claims of indecency, primarily by eliminating all the claims that were too old or poorly reported which apparently eliminated 70% of their backlog. I don’t want to state the obvious here, but that’s not an efficient system. At the same time, the agency prioritized “egregious” violations of FCC indecency policies.

Now that it’s got itself squared away in that respect, though, it’s looking for input from the public, oddly enough, on whether to change its rules. Specifically, the Commission wants to know how we feel about isolated profanity and nudity. Insert your own joke here. Currently the commission appears to be considering ignoring programs that have only isolated incidences of profanity (a curse every now and then), and only considering “deliberate and repetitive use [of explicit words] in a patently offensive manner is a requisite to a finding of indecency.” Whether or not such a change would make it easier for MTV to not totally fail on bleeping out the right words in Mean Girls remains to be seen. It is also considering treating nudity in the same way. A show would only be fined for deliberate and repetitive instances of nudity rather than rare or accidental (in the case of live broadcast) nudity.

And when I say looking for input, I mean it. They’ve set up a whole system to take the comments of folks with access to the internet. Welcome to internet comments, FCC. There’s absolutely no profanity or nudity here. We promise.

(via Deadline.)

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  • Ividia Kt

    This is a bad joke waiting to happen…. Can we just send them Carlin’s routine on the “Seven Words you can’t say on television”?

  • Anonymous

    ████ it FCC! I said I was in favour of censorship, but only in the form of amusing black bars covering the characters’ swear words. Did I ████ing stutter?

  • Captain ZADL

    Aaaaaand all I can think about now is this bit from Robot Chicken

  • Sara Sakana

    Or the backup plan: petition Nabisco to actually make Cheese Tits.

  • Diana OmegaSama Davidsson

    Or you can just do it like we do it in Sweden and let people swear on TV and Radio.

  • Veronica Guzzardi

    It’d be generous to call the FCC commenting system labyrinthine and confusing, but not to worry- I’ve done some of the hard work for you: You need to reference the Docket Number for the notice (13-86. You should probably also read the notice. It’s not long), and you probably want to use the express filing form to make your comment. I know it’s sort of hard to motivate the apathetic, but if you don’t care about the use of profanity on TV/Radio, you should tell them that, because regardless of what the people working for the FCC know, they don’t officially know it until a form has been submitted.

  • Penny Sautereau-Fife

    Easy. Stop doing it altogether. It’s a pointless exercise.

  • Anonymous

    “Bet you can’t eat just one!”

  • Anonymous

    How do you make your mouth do that?

  • Anonymous

    Quit fuckin’ cryin’ about it, FCC :

  • Anonymous

    Never ████ing mind how I’m doing it!

    /Julie look of disapproval ಠ_ಠ

  • Lily

    My first bit of advice would be to update their website. It looks like it’s from 1995.

  • Anonymous

    I remember seeing Carlin doing that routing way back on the “Midnight Special” hosted by Wolfman Jack. Later on I bought the cassette tape so I could actually hear the “7 words”.

  • literatewench

    Can I submit that I’m wildly, horribly offended by Toddlers and Tiaras? That the concept of training children to dress in a mockery of stereotypical femininity and be judged on their appearance instead of teaching them basic education makes me ill, and furious, and goes against common decency?

  • Melissia

    Hear hear, that offends me far more than the occasional nudity or swear word.

  • Karina M

    Here’s a link because even with that it was very hard to find:

  • AnnaB

    Please do.

  • Ividia Kt

    OMG, Wolfman Jack….that brings back some memories. Loved him.

  • Anonymous

    Yea I liked Wolfman Jack too. I used to listen to him on KOMA AM radio out of Oklahoma City (after dark) when I was still in Southeastern New Mexico. We could pick up KOMA after the sun went down and there were NO FM stations in the area at all.