This is just silly political point-scoring and not a reasonable comparison to broadcast indecency. Bush and Cheney were not using these words on live prime-time television, dropping obscenities in election-year debates or State of the Union speeches in front of millions of children. These outbursts were in private settings and publicized by political opponents who actually revere the dirty words as vaunted free speech, but wanted to embarrass the conservative leaders with their traditional-values base.
The court's ruling against the FCC also claimed that part of the "arbitrary and capricious" nature of that regulation is the emergence of new technologies, and that the rise of cable TV and the Internet make the old rules against broadcast indecency increasingly discriminatory against the broadcast networks, since it can be argued that broadcast TV is not "uniquely pervasive" and "uniquely accessible to children." The answer, the judges suggested, came in gloriously empowering "blocking technologies" like the V-chip.
In its statement after the court decision, as it laughably described celebrity curse words as "artistic expression," Fox also hailed that viewers can serve themselves "through the many parental control technologies available, what is appropriate viewing for their home."
This is rubbish, a deliberate falsehood. Both the judges and the networks know that the V-chip would have in no way stopped an unexpected celebrity curse word from hitting a child's ears. The Fox awards shows were not coded in a way that would have allowed V-chip technology to block the show for coarse language. How's that for duplicity?
The networks may think they have all the sophistication and "artistic" idealism on their side, but they certainly do not have the public. It was only a year ago that Congress overwhelmingly passed a law to increase broadcast indecency fines. The House passed that bill by a margin of 10 to one, and the Senate passed it unanimously.
Clearly, they do not agree that the FCC is "arbitrary and capricious" in trying to do something to stop the increasingly bad language fouling the public airwaves. What the networks had was a couple of judges in New York who have flaunted the will of the American people.