It was symbolically perfect that on the same day Hollywood went to the Supreme Court to make the case for broadcast profanity, Entertainment Weekly reported that the next showing of the ABC smutcom "Modern Family" would feature a two-year-old girl dropping the F-bomb. The episode's title will be "Little Bo Bleep."
Shameless. There's no other way to describe the people running these networks. We're told "It might be the first time in a scripted family broadcast TV series where a child has said the F-word." But it won't be the last -- especially if the high court grants Hollywood's demands and shreds any regulation of nudity or profanity on TV.
The most telling exchange in the oral arguments came when Justice Stephen Breyer told former Clinton Solicitor General Seth Waxman, who represents ABC, he couldn't find Hollywood's idea of what they wanted the content regulations to be.
It is because, as Waxman admitted, they suggested no standard. "In our brief, we don't suggest what the rule should be, because (A) it's not our burden; (B) it's not yours; and (C) there are any number of options." Who's going to implement the options Waxman suggests if it's no one's burden to do so? What Hollywood really wants is to shred the 1978 decision in FCC vs. Pacifica Foundation that insisted on a decency regime from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
"It's not our burden." The TV networks don't want to be held accountable by anyone for what they broadcast. They're not arguing that regulation is unnecessary because they already provide a glorious safe haven for children. They argue that it's unfair to discriminate against the broadcast networks because cable and satellite television are smutty. So why not let everyone race to the gutter? Their utter shamelessness is transparent, as they stand before the Supreme Court justices insisting the Founding Fathers in some sort of time warp would protect the networks? First Amendment right to televise Paris Hilton swearing like a sailor in the nude in front of Thomas Jefferson's children.
Carter Phillips, the lawyer arguing on behalf of Fox Television, said that the FCCs policies suddenly became "dysfunctional" in 2004, when "thousands and thousands" of complaints began streaming into the FCC.