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FCC Fines Networks Millions for Airing Olympus Has Fallen Emergency Alert Trailer

I guess they're taking a break from the important work of stopping people from saying dirty words.


You didn’t know it, but when the Olympus Has Fallen trailer aired last year, you were being subjected to dangerous desensitization to more than just crappy movies: your innate ability to be mildly inconvenienced brought to a state of alert by the Emergency Alert System was damaged when networks aired the trailer. But don’t worry, the FCC is on it.

Like so many hall monitors and safety marshals before them, the FCC won’t let a probably completely harmless infraction of rules go unpunished. If you hear the tones all the time, you’ll become even more desensitized to them than you already are by probably associating them more readily with those obnoxious tests of the alert system than actual emergencies.

You know, the ones that go, “This was only a test. Had this been an actual emergency [blah blah blah whatever…]” Because you’ve heard them a million times and probably already learned to tune them out.

Well, luckily the FCC is here to stop that desensitization from getting any worse, because they’ve decided to fine networks who aired the trailer nearly $2 million dollars. Although, since that’s a total between three separate parties (Viacom $1.12 million, NBCUniversal %530,000, and ESPN $280,000), it’s not likely to feel like more than a slap on the wrist to those giant corporations.

Here’s the trailer, which ran last year on TV, if you’d like to see what the FCC is so upset about:

At the end of the day, airing a trailer with the emergency alert system tones was probably a poor choice on the part of the networks, but it was a pretty crafty scheme by the film’s marketing team. I mean, I didn’t even remember the movie existed until this fine came though. Frankly, I could have happily stayed that way, too.

Thanks a lot, FCC.

(FCC via Gizmodo, image via Greg Elin)

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Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct Geekosystem (RIP), and then at The Mary Sue starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at Smash Bros.