The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Friday, April 09, 2004

FCC go after Stern - and next, it's soap operas?

This time, the bucks are big [1] - relatively speaking - and Stern's ejection from Clear Channel has been made permanent.

No surprise there.

But when I talked about the broadcasters' pow-wow on indecency (April 2), I somehow missed Commissioner Michael Cotts - the Rhett or Yancey of broadcasting regulation - had completely flipped.

A piece (April 2) in the Washington Times - no stranger to looney tunes itself, of course - says
...Copps...told reporters Wednesday that the FCC should review whether soap operas violate the agency's indecency prohibitions, according to Television Week, an industry trade publication.

Mr. Copps, one of two Democrats on the five-member panel, said he stumbled across a racy soap-opera scene while channel-surfing recently.

"It was pretty steamy stuff for the middle of the afternoon," Mr. Copps said.

an aide said...[t]he commissioner's remarks do not necessarily mean he will seek an investigation into soap operas or daytime television in general...

'Sonny Boy' Powell apparently gave a big no comment on Copps' statement.

Could it be that this Copps is in fact a libertarian ringer, a mole whose mission is to discredit the entire system of FCC censorship?

How many states could frightened, angry soap opera watchers swing for Kerry?

Er...just hold on one cotton picking minute here: Kerry? Wasn't it his people, led by the Wicked Witch of the West, Nancy Pelosi, who gave HR 3717 that great send-off from the House (my piece of March 12)?

And the Senate equivalent bill, S 2506 [2], was reported out of the Senate Commerce Committee by 23-0!

That I've noticed, smut is not a partisan issue: Comstocks in all parts of the Capitol!

Will Kerry come out against FCC censorship? Is the Pope Hindu? (But if the FCC steps up and issues a NAL against The Guiding Light, all bets are off!)

  1. The Notice of Apparent Liability (here - PDF) cites what will become known as the Sphincterine gag, broadcast on April 9 2003.

    As previously foreshadowed, the fine is calculated per incident rather than per broadcast: this brings the total proposed fine for Clear Channel and two limited partnerships - in which, I surmise, Clear Channel has the major interest (they're called subsidiaries) - to $495,000: that is, six stations, three violations each, $27,500 (the maximum) per violation.

  2. According to the Roll Call list, the bill never made it out of the Senate. The problems last mentioned yesterday.

    The Committee Report 108-253 looks worth reading for the background material provided.

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