FCC Wants More Power

Here’s one for the law books.

The Justice Department filed a request for the FCC to ask the Supreme Court to look at lower-court decisions that cramped the style of the FCC by limiting their power.

Earlier in 2011 a federal appeals court overturned a whopping $1.2 million fine against the ABC affiliates for broadcasting an episode of the cop show NYPD Blue that showed a fast shot of a woman’s nude buttocks.

Not only that but a previous 2nd circuit Court ruled that the FCC’s indecency rules were “unconstitutionally vague”.

What this basically means is that the FCC and Justice Department overstepped their bounds.

They tried to administer morality where they didn’t have the power to do so. In the old days of television, radio, movies, comic books, and the like, there were numerous panels that determined what was decent and what wasn’t.

Those values changed decade to decade as old bigotries and prejudices came to light and such things as showing unmarried women with children, interracial marriages, and anything the powers that be didn’t like would be declared indecent. Even political views could get a person fired and worse.

The battle over what is indecent continues as some point out the gratuitous violence in television shows may be indecent to some but not others. It’s all a matter of taste and viewpoint and the courts saw through the FCC and Justice Department as the courts saw through the FBI’s decades long war of imposing late Director J. Edgar Hoover’s morals unconstitutionally on the agency and public.

The matter of indecency is going to have to be a national debate, not an agency debate. Agencies are here to serve, not to preach.

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