"I won't pay a 73-million-dollar fine. I won't pay a 73-cent fine! I won't time-delay the news, and I won't say I'm sorry! I no longer recognize the authority of the FCC on this matter. I'm going to have to be ordered by a federal judge. And when they come to get my transmitter, they better, they better send a group a hell of a lot more scary than the Foundation for Friendly Families or whatever they are! Let those guys embed themselves with the Second Marine Division for a while. ... This is the one (fight) I've been waiting for my whole life!"
Did that speech give you goose bumps or what?
In just how many ways is this scenario laughable? First, broadcast network reporters rarely if ever interview soldiers they're embedded with on live broadcasts. They haven't been routinely embedded with troops since 2003. When they do interview soldiers, the interviews are taped, and any profanity could be -- would be -- easily edited out.
Second, a $73 million FCC fine? This is beyond absurd. CBS owns its network and 21 affiliates, meaning their maximum fine would be about $6.8 million, if you find it the least bit plausible that the FCC would go nuclear over this one word in a news interview in a war zone. The current record fine, for the Janet Jackson incident, is $550,000 -- if it's ever paid. The FCC's rapid response is also comical, since these decisions take years, not hours.
Third, since when do supporters of family-friendly TV automatically favor every battle in the war on terror? People of different political stripes can dislike raunchy sex and grisly violence and vile obscenities on TV. There are millions of Americans who are opposed to the Bush administration's policies in Iraq and also dislike the damage broadcast TV is doing to children. Yes, and that includes even Christian conservatives (ask Pat Buchanan).
The solution remains very simple. Whether the live program is news, sports or any other form of entertainment, a simple seven-second delay for obscene surprises would put an end to the problem immediately. Seven seconds. And the networks are refusing to do this with a very simple reason that they want to broadcast obscene language, at whatever time they choose, no matter who it affects.
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