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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Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Viacom's Karmazin links FCC censorship with media regulation

A hed to remember:

To get a top media suit to bang the First Amendment drum over content that icky suggests the Congressional Comstocks and the FCC trailing in their wake have succeeded in getting the industry's goat. (Let's not go there...)

Ken Auletta (will he give us a write-up?) was hosting A Conversation With Mel Karmazin in which the big man comes out swinging:
We are fighting in Iraq for freedom. ... If it doesn't appeal to you, shut the radio off. Just because you don't like the words 'anal sex,' doesn't make it indecent.

And he linked the censorship issue with regulation more generally, saying that
Republicans had not shown they were less regulatory minded than Democrats when it came to big media companies.

Viacom seems to be preparing to duke it out in court: subsidiary Infinity appealed the Stern fine of March 18 (April 25), and was co-signatory to the petition asking the FCC to review the new censorship regime for constitutionality (April 21).

The Comstocks in the FCC (led by Michael Copps) and Congress seem intent on confrontation, too. One would expect this sort of dispute to end in messy compromise. But, with so many parties, so much fervour and pride invested, and an election coming up, the prospect of a train wreck must be more than usually high.

Stern, one suspects, will be first to walk out of it...

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