Brent Bozell

The Hill explained, "The commission on Monday issued a request for public comment on a proposal that would focus on penalizing only 'egregious' cases. The proposal would be a shift away from the agency's past policy, adopted during the Bush administration, of penalizing even 'fleeting expletives.'"

They don't want comment on proposals. Their minds are made up.

Is there anything more ridiculous than the FCC asking for public comment on its newly invented "egregious" standard -- which allows it to more effectively dismiss public comment? They didn't ask the public beforehand, or even the professional staff. They provided a new (SET ITAL) diktat (END ITAL), and then asked for public reaction with all the "sincerity" they've brought to broadcast indecency since 2009.

But the public notice doesn't just use an "egregious" standard. The FCC also wants to avoid ruling on "stale" content. This is another way in which they can sit on complaints until the offending shows get canceled -- or just dated.

There is no such thing in the current FCC's purview that would be classified as "egregious." To the Obama FCC, when a rock star yells the F-bomb on a national awards show, viewed by many millions of youngsters, that is "fleeting" and somehow not "egregious." Janet Jackson's deliberate Super Bowl breast flash of 2004? That was apparently not "egregious," just "fleeting." If the networks broadcast the unfunny comedy "Bruno" complete with its penis-twirling scene, that would probably not be considered "egregious." It's merely "fleeting" nudity.

The traditional-values argument is simple. Doesn't it stop becoming "fleeting" when it happens repeatedly? Multiplied incidents of "single" F-bombs or other curse words add up, but the FCC would like to isolate them and ignore them individually.

And does it matter how "fleeting" it is when it's deliberate?

Reporters on the FCC beat have a bad habit of ignoring how Hollywood insists there should be zero public accountability for broadcast indecency. Last year, when Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer told former Clinton solicitor general Seth Waxman, who conveniently represented ABC, that he couldn't find Hollywood's idea of what they wanted the content regulations to be, Waxman shamelessly argued, "It's not our burden." Obama's FCC clearly feels the same way.

L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. To find out more about Brent Bozell III, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at


Brent Bozell

Founder and President of the Media Research Center, Brent Bozell runs the largest media watchdog organization in America.
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