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FCC Levies Record Indecency Fine 577

Carl Bialik from WSJ writes "The FCC proposed a record $3.6 million fine against a single TV show, penalizing CBS and its affiliates for an episode of 'Without a Trace' that suggested a teenage sexual orgy, in the first batch of indecency fines proposed in more than a year, the Wall Street Journal reports. 'Overall, the FCC's action didn't provide a broad sweeping vision for broadcasters about what is appropriate for television,' the WSJ says. 'Notably, the FCC backed away from an effort to impose higher fines by holding all network affiliates responsible for a broadcast, instead of just the stations that had been flagged by a viewer in a complaint.'"
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FCC Levies Record Indecency Fine

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  • by Adult film producer ( 866485 ) <van@i2pmail.org> on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:12PM (#14938301)
    Good thing we have the Bush administration to help us with these ultra liberal television networks. Next thing you know gays will be marrying giraffes and marriage will be worthless. Shame on them.
    • Re:sex is immoral (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      But in America, marriage IS already worthless!
      • by causality ( 777677 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @10:29PM (#14938754)
        Particularly if you happen to be a male who failed to plan ahead and insist on a prenuptual agreement. If you are such a person, you have little to gain and much to lose by entering into such a contract as marriage. Especially when you consider that women rarely marry a man who earns less money than they do, (that need for "security") and when you consider that the courts tend to be heavily biased against men in the case of divorce (child custody and most especially, alimony). This bias, by the way, originates from a time when women were second-class citizens who would have had a very difficult time earning their own living alone. Apparently I am unique in believing that equality does not mean you get to retain special privileges. Either way, consider the divorce rate and ask yourself how lucky you feel.

        Please forgive me for the off-topic post. The subject came up via the A.C. and I honestly feel that few men consider the implications of choices like this. Thankfully I have not had to learn any of the above the hard way; I was fortunate enough to be able to learn this by simple observation. Remember guys, if she really loves you and it really is "always and forever," she will have no problem signing that prenup.
        • Remember guys, if she really loves you and it really is "always and forever," she will have no problem signing that prenup.

          Yes, she will - and justifiably, IMHO, because a pre-nup is demonstration of a lack of trust (in either the other party or themselves). Without trust, a relationship will not work.

          While I certainly agree with your sentiments regarding the economical and statistical realities of marriage and divorce, and that men in particular should think long and hard about financial consequences be

          • by Bazzalisk ( 869812 ) on Friday March 17, 2006 @06:57AM (#14940585) Homepage
            And having to stand up in church or registry office and sign a contract saying that you will stay with your parttner until death do you part isn't an insult to one's honour?

            If I say I'll love my girlfriend for the rest of my life then I would expect to be taken as being honest, not be required to go through a marriage ceremony to "prove" it.

            My parents' marriage broke-up, my paternal grandparents were divorced, and my maternal grandparents damned well ought to have been divorced if the catholic church would only allow it. Marriage proves nothing, and requiring it is as much of an insult as requiring a pre-nuptual agreement would be.

            (Just glad that my girlfriend feels the same way)

    • Morality (Score:4, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:37PM (#14938449)
      I know you were modded 'Funny' and I get your 'Joke'.
      Sex in itself is not immoral, but perhaps a group of teenage sons and daughters (who likely do not understand the responsibilities that come with sex) having an orgy is. Of course, if there is a problem with teenage orgies in America, ignoring the problem is not the answer either.
      • Re:Morality (Score:3, Insightful)

        by coleblak ( 863392 )
        Yeah, finding and joining them is the answer. Mmm.... Orgy.
      • Re:Morality (Score:4, Insightful)

        by jmv ( 93421 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @10:30PM (#14938757) Homepage
        Teenagers being murdered isn't right either. Yet, showing it in a movie (or TV show) never caused any problem (as long as it's rated 13 or so).
      • Re:Morality (Score:5, Insightful)

        by HUADPE ( 903765 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @11:07PM (#14939001) Homepage
        Sex in itself is not immoral, but perhaps a group of teenage sons and daughters (who likely do not understand the responsibilities that come with sex) having an orgy is.

        The terms "son" and "daughter" apply to everyone last time I checked my biology textbook. While I understand that parents (rightly) have a strong emotional bond with their children, using those terms in this context simply serves to have emotional response override reason in a debate of ideas.

      • Re:Morality (Score:3, Insightful)

        by eno2001 ( 527078 )
        Do not judge everyone by the same standards. I had a healthy interest in sex from a very young age. I was lucky enough to live in a very liberal city with a well stocked public library. When I was 11 and my curiostiy began getting too strong to control, I went there and began researching sex in a very serious way. I learned the mechanics of sex, the structure of the genitalia, the biological purpose of sex, the psychological effects of sex and the various positions and techniques. I spent about four ye
    • Re:sex is immoral (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:53PM (#14938542)
      Meanwhile, in Holland [foxnews.com]

      Man, the Dutch are so far ahead of us it's not funny.
  • Logic go backwards (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Mr. Freeman ( 933986 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:14PM (#14938311)
    Then why is it that I keep seeing commercials for "Girls gone wild" at around 5 PM on popular channels (not premium or pay-per-view). They blur out the bare minimum and the language is somewhat more than explicit.

    So, pornography is just fine, but seeing an episode of T.V. that happens to make an allusion to sex is simply too much?
  • Whoa.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by necro2607 ( 771790 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:14PM (#14938312)
    Um, they're getting fined 3.6 million for "suggesting" a "teenage orgy"?

    What about shows like Family Guy which have untold amounts of adult-oriented innuendo and jokes??! I can't see this as a legitimate endeavour whatsoever...
    • Link to clip (Score:5, Informative)

      by vkapadia ( 35809 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:17PM (#14938329)
      http://www.parentstv.org/ptc/action/withoutatrace/ content.htm [parentstv.org]

      Here is a link to the clip in question.

      You can decide for yourself if it constitutes a "teenage orgy" or not
      • Re:Link to clip (Score:4, Insightful)

        by madHomer ( 2207 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:23PM (#14938366)
        <sarcasm>Good thing they put that on the interweb where there are no kids that can be offended by it!</sarcasm>

      • Ok, the next time you link pr0n on the internet, please have the decency to link to something worthwhile! I didn't see one nipple. I will never get those 3 minutes back.
      • Re:Link to clip (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Sylver Dragon ( 445237 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:31PM (#14938416) Journal
        Thanks for the link, it helps put this in context.

        Having watched the clip, I could sort of see a complaint about indecency (assuming that such are ever justified). I just wouldn't accept that the indeceny is in depicting a rather wild party of underage people. Maybe it was just the resolution of the clip, but I would swear I saw some nipples at one point, which seems to fall under current indecency standards.
        Whether the Parents Television Council cares to accept it or not, drunken underage parties happen. At said parties underage people often engage in sex. As this seems to have been part of the story, I can understand why it was depicted. Yes, it probably rubs many people the wrong way, since they wish to ignore reality; sorry, but the right to not be offended still isn't in the US Constitution anywhere.

      • by spineboy ( 22918 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:32PM (#14938418) Journal
        Sounds like "advertising" dollars well spent. But seriously how is it ok to show people being blown up/slaughtered, but not ok to show some skin, or a hint at some questionable activities?
        Since the USA already has a violence problem, should we continue to show people being blown up/shot at, or participating in an orgy? I vote for the later, since I'd rather be invited to an orgy, than be shot.
        • "I vote for the later, since I'd rather be invited to an orgy, than be shot."

          How about shooting someone?
      • by clem ( 5683 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:37PM (#14938445) Homepage
        Having read the description, I guess what bothers me most is a group of teenagers having sex sans any awkwardness whatsoever. No accidently leaning on the girl's hair. No premature "exuberance". No fumbling with birth control. No overly eager groping. There's not even any shyness or strained silence. It appears that when these kids turned 16 the "hump like a porn star" gene was triggered. Did we all just go to the wrong high schools?
      • CSI (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Dadoo ( 899435 )
        I don't know if I'd really want my kids to see this, but if I was forced to choose between this and "CSI", I'd choose this, every time. As I'm sure most of you know, "CSI" is on the same network as "Without a Trace", they show all kinds of violence, and it's on an hour earlier, yet no one complains.

        And they wonder why this country is messed up...
      • Re:Link to clip (Score:4, Insightful)

        by BobSutan ( 467781 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @10:51PM (#14938889)
        Thanks for the link. Here's what I sent them
        This is a formal commentary of claimed indecency on broadcast television.
        NETWORK: CBS
        PROGRAM TITLE: Without a Trace
        BROADCAST DATE: December 31, 2004
        BROADCAST TIME: 9:00 PM Eastern and Pacific Time, 9:00 PM Central and Mountain Time

        Documentation --------------
        The depicted scene of the show Without a Trace was NOT offensive to many, despite what the minority of the viewers at the PTC felt. Please be advised that their automatic letter generation makes it easy to spam the FCC with complaints. This is exactly how I've written this letter, though I've made some changes to the "content". In respect to the general population, what was shown does not warrent the fines levied against CBS.

        All things considered, a very small percentage of American viewers are creating the vast majority of complaints recieved by your offices. This does not warrant the actions taken when viewed in the context of those that were obviously NOT affected by said show. The bottom line is that a small percentage of the US population is taking advantage of the FCC by spamming it with complaints to make it appear there are more people offended than actually were.

        Please investigate these actions made by the PTC and balance prospective fines against the unique complaints per person over the spectrum of viewers a given show has. Context and common sense should rule the day, not an overreactive, easily offended minority intent on controlling the media consumed by the majority.
        Documentation --------------

  • by bogaboga ( 793279 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:15PM (#14938313)
    > ..."The FCC proposed a record $3.6 million fine against a single TV show, penalizing CBS and its affiliates for an episode of 'Without a Trace' that suggested a teenage sexual orgy, in the first batch of indecency fines proposed in more than a year, the Wall Street Journal reports.

    Can the USA still be regarded as the land of the free, where any citizen san say whatever they like?

    Talking of indecency, why don't the authorities shut down the Jerry Springer Show? I have seen a level of indecency I'd never imagined! Can anyone figure how a mother could compete with a daughter for a man? I watched on such episode on Jerry Springer. To say the truth, I almost fell sick!

    I guess it's all about the money.

  • by Castar ( 67188 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:18PM (#14938335)
    I posted this in another thread, here's the clip in question, thoughtfully brought to you by the Parents' Television Council! Let's hear a round of applause for their diligence in bringing teenage orgy footage online.

    http://www.parentstv.org/ptc/action/withoutatrace/ content.htm [parentstv.org]
  • by bloodstar ( 866306 ) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `rats_doolb'> on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:18PM (#14938336) Journal
    Barring improper language or nude bodies. How can implying something be considered 'improper'. Personally, I find the mindless violence abhorrant on TV, but I don't see the FCC giving a damn about that.

    South Park had it right: "Just remember what the MPAA says: Horrific, deplorable violence is okay, as long as people don't say any naughty words!"

    • by Stevyn ( 691306 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:34PM (#14938436)
      Did you see the video? "Implying" is treating it lightly. It's not like someone said "hey let's have a teenage orgy" It was a little more graphic than that. I'm not saying it was bad or imoral, but it was a little graphic for the time and channel.
      • by grub ( 11606 ) <slashdot@grub.net> on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:38PM (#14938452) Homepage Journal

        So turn the channel. Or monitor your kids' viewing habits more closely. Or, better yet, trash the TV.

        These types of fines are just a way for the FCC Morality Police to justify their existence.
    • .. but only when they are no longer attached to a human body. A car bomb will do nicely for that.

      Sheesh, what double standards.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:21PM (#14938356)
    Since when is an orgy worse than rape or murder?
    • by Darth_brooks ( 180756 ) <clipper377&gmail,com> on Thursday March 16, 2006 @10:08PM (#14938629) Homepage
      The AC brings up a very good point, and that point leads to another point.

      As far as primetime TV is concerned, Violence is ok, Sex is evil. We can thank the moral majority for that. Ward and June Cleaver sleeping in separate beds, Homosexuality not existing until the 1970's (soap), open homosexuality not being addressed until the 1990's (roseanne, ellen). No sir, we can't ever imply that people have sex, because that's evil and naughty. In fact, we need standards that keep filth like sex off of the tube.

      But violence is a-ok. Cop shows can show murders and beatings because "that sort of thing happens all the time" or "that's the way it is." It's gritty, "life on the street" sorts of things. Drug abuse, murder, beatings, that's cool. That happens all the time, but God forbid we show a boobie. Because people don't have sex.

      Which leads us down the path we're on now. TV shows cannot show sex, but they can show violence. So how to the writers skirt that little detail? SHOW VIOLENT SEX! Brutal Rape! Orgies! Kinky prostitutes being beaten do death by druggies!

      I'm no expert on sex, but I think men and women (or two men. Or two women.) tend to have have normal (or comparitively normal) sex more often than people get raped, murdered, or skinned by a serial killer after freaky sex rituals. But we can't show that on tv. We've got to show violent sex.
      • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @11:56PM (#14939261) Journal
        Don't forget Bert and Ernie.

        They used to sleep in the same bed and as a kid, I thought nothing of it.
        Then some people started screaming "ZOMG teh h0m05!!11eleven"

        Bert and Ernie then got separate beds.
        Not good enough.
        Bert and Ernie then got separate rooms.
        Okay, finally they're not gay.

        The fact is that kids don't think about that stuff, unless some adult points to it and says "See those two men? They're living in sin." Or some other such bullshit. Ultimately, suppressing/repressing stuff like sexuality just creates groups of sexually disfunctional people.
        • by Anonymous Coward
          Hell, in the old days REAL HUMAN PEOPLE slept in the same bed and didn't have sex. Beds, bedding, and insulation were expensive, space was short, and insulation was poor.
      • by Sathias ( 884801 ) on Friday March 17, 2006 @01:45AM (#14939762)
        But violence is a-ok. Cop shows can show murders and beatings because "that sort of thing happens all the time" or "that's the way it is." It's gritty, "life on the street" sorts of things. Drug abuse, murder, beatings, that's cool. That happens all the time, but God forbid we show a boobie. Because people don't have sex.

        The reason for this is very simple. Showing violence on TV breeds fear and paranoia, and afraid paranoid people are easy to control and buy things to try and distract themselves from what is bothering them. People having sex just lock themselves in a room and forget about any of the crap which the modern world tries to fill our heads with. Content people don't consume.
  • V-chip? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Joe5678 ( 135227 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:24PM (#14938378)
    Isn't this why we have the damned V-chip [wikipedia.org]?

    So that should cover the "somebody think of the children" crowd. Beyond that, if you don't like what they are showing, don't watch their show/network. Last I checked, "having what you want on T.V" wasn't one of those inalienable rights from the constitution.
    • by Hamster Lover ( 558288 ) * on Thursday March 16, 2006 @10:16PM (#14938668) Journal
      The complaint form should include a box that asks, "Are you aware of the V-Chip parental access controls and it's operation?" or something to that effect. If the answer is "no" the complaint should get tossed and if the answer is "yes" then an automated reply should be sent to the effect that the viewer should tailor the V-Chip controls to suit their particular tastes.

      No one ever mentions the V-Chip anymore because it's not their own viewing habits that concern them, but their neighbor's.
  • by Reality Master 201 ( 578873 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:24PM (#14938379) Journal
    Great, some people are offended by something on TV. Stop fucking watching TV, or when you see a promo and find out that the show will somehow involve teen sex orgies, don't tune in.

    This isn't really a free speech issue. It's a "why is America so full of whiny-ass bitches who thing the whole world ought to cater exclusively to them" issue.

  • Wow (Score:4, Insightful)

    by liangzai ( 837960 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:26PM (#14938387) Homepage
    I guess they didn't object to primte time TV footage of American troops leading naked Iraqi prisoners leashed through the prison catacombs... now that is really indecent.

    Makes me wonder... why are the Americans thinking of invading Iran? The two countries are equally fucked up in my humble mind, about the same attitudes toward "indecency".

    Ayatollah Bush of the Intelligent Design priesthood, the leader of the world, mwahhahhahha!
  • by symbolic ( 11752 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:30PM (#14938403)

    I remember a few years ago, a story about an odd occurrence in an upper-class neighborhood. For some unexplained reason, a significant number of teens (some kind of young) started showing up at doctors' offices to report symptoms characteristic of at least one STD- mostly the same one. They thought it was kind of strange that it would not only happen to so many within a small geographic area, but within such a short period of time. After somes investigation, it was dicovered that these kids were doing exactly what the show suggested - having sex parties/orgies while parents weren't around to supervise. Oh, the horror. I'm not sure what value the FCC sees in burying these kinds of issues by sweeping them under a carpet of fines. Oh that's right...if people don't hear about it, that must mean that it's simply not happening.
  • Just saw this (Score:4, Informative)

    by Stevyn ( 691306 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:31PM (#14938410)
    on Bill O'Reilly. The issue here is not that "sex is evil" but that this scene was a violation of the stated rules. This was shown in primetime and not after 10PM. Based on the time of day, there are rules for public broadcasters. So this can turn into a big argument, but those are the rules. If you don't like the rules, then contact your congressman or congresswoman.

    And btw, I love when the southpark movie is shown after 1:30 PM occasionally. There's nothing like hearing, "you butt fucking uncle fucker" to celebrate our nation's tolerance on "foul" language.
  • by merc ( 115854 ) <slashdot@upt.org> on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:31PM (#14938411) Homepage
    When the FCC enforces standards of decency they're just thinking of the chilren ... yeah, that's it.
  • by Jazzer_Techie ( 800432 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:33PM (#14938431)
    I think a big part of this fine is because the show in question aired at 9:00 in the Central and Mountain time zones. Considering the climate, I think CBS would have been wise to tone it down or move it to a later slot. I personally am quite anti-censorship. If you don't want to see it, don't watch it. If you don't want your kids to watch it, then you need to take parential initiative. But I watched the clip and read the description, and I can understand where people who are very offended by that type of material are coming from. If I had young kids, I don't think I'd want them stumbling across that, especially if I weren't there to discuss with them the consequences of teenage orgies. Still, I can't say that I agree with the FCCs actions.
  • The clip (Score:3, Funny)

    by ENIGMAwastaken ( 932558 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:35PM (#14938438)
    http://www.parentstv.org/PTC/clips/worst/WithoutaT race_orgy.wmv [parentstv.org]

    That's not an 'orgy', that's underwear sex.

    There's a huge difference. Or so I hear...

    Seriously, this isn't with 3.6 mil, no way, no how. I mean, I could barely get off to it...
  • by IHSW ( 960644 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:45PM (#14938502)
    Ignoring all the knee-jerk reactions, you should watch the video yourself before you post.
    Here: http://www.parentstv.org/ptc/action/withoutatrace/ content.htm [parentstv.org] [wmv alert]

    Rated PG and airing at 10PM on CBS, it's a drunken teen party where everybody not afraid to find a partner (or 2, 3, ...) and get busy. Granted, that's not what the show is all about.

    According to CBS.com [cbs.com]:
    WITHOUT A TRACE is a riveting procedural drama about the New York Missing Persons Squad of the FBI. The sole responsibility of the special task force is to find missing persons by applying advanced psychological profiling techniques to peel back the layers of the victims' lives and trace their whereabouts in an effort to discover whether they have been abducted, been murdered, committed suicide or simply run away. The team reconstructs a "Day of Disappearance" timeline that details every minute of the 24 hours prior to the disappearance and digs into every facet of the victim's life, following one simple rule: learn who the victim is in order to learn where the victim is.

    Watered down CSI? Maybe. The show focuses on teen victims, so that probably explains the placement of that scene (flashback, actually).

    I really don't think CBS deserved this, but they'll likely take it for fear of negative PR. It shows at 10PM for chrissake's! Who watches TV at that hour and isn't a pervert?

  • by murderlegendre ( 776042 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:55PM (#14938551)

    Just think about this one.. If you've got the cha-ching, and a dry sense of humor, the possibilities are about unlimited. Buy a block of network airtime, and just say any old god damn thing that amuses you. You could say things like shit, fuck, cunt, or even "I shit your fucking cunt lol!1!1". Just pay the fines on the way out the door, and you are gold.

    Take a guy like Gates.. he could sing "Uncle Fucker" from the South Park movie, quote highlights from "The Aristocrats" and finish up with an 8mm snuff flim, and the fines would be below the noise floor on his balance sheet.

    But no.. it's all about the medicine for African childern. If they're really so poor, why are they living in Africa? I can't even afford to visit that place..

    Sorry, what was I saying?

  • seriously (Score:4, Insightful)

    by superwiz ( 655733 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:59PM (#14938580) Journal
    Why do religious people insist on ruining OTHER people's fun?
  • by zymano ( 581466 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @10:07PM (#14938625)
    Why do we mock the governments of Russia and China for censorship when we can't even show live TV ?

    We need a workaround for the FCC. Why not have local rules instead of national.

    We need to 'RETAKE' our airwaves from the rightwing.
  • Free Society? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by QAPete ( 717838 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @10:08PM (#14938632) Homepage
    If you're living in a free society, that society does not restrict 'offensive' or 'indecent' speech. This is Christian fundamentalism, right-wing Republican bullshit, and is actually one of the telling signs of Fascism, not Democracy. By the way, there is no such thing as 'indecent' speech. This was an FCC fabrication to suit their purposes.

    By the way, the FCC was established to govern the FREQUENCIES that over-the-air broadcasts and electrical devices use. In today's age of cable and satellite, the FCC should be little more than a VERY small government organization that tries to make sure that your cell phone doesn't interfere with your TV set, and that the government can jam any consumer electronic device they choose. They should not be involved, in any way, in censorship, broadcast licensing blackmail or fining anyone for content.

    I am an American, and I'm ashamed at what our society and government have become.
  • by duncan bayne ( 544299 ) <dhgbayne@gmail.com> on Thursday March 16, 2006 @10:14PM (#14938657) Homepage
    ... it's the sound of another nail being driven in the values of the Founding Fathers. Hell, the FCC (like all the Nanny State agencies) is so far outside the original scope of the Federal Government it's not funny.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 16, 2006 @10:22PM (#14938709)
    The authority of the FCC of censoring broadcasting companies stands legally on shaky grounds and is subject of increasing controversy. This case is just another one in which the FCC has not only come up with some arbitrary and insane fees but it seems to have clearly overstepped its legal boundaries. Hopefully CBS takes the matter to the Supreme Court so that the right-wing conservative censorship in our country can be finally put to rest and the constitutional right of Free Speech and Expression reinstated again.
  • by Bullfish ( 858648 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @10:27PM (#14938737)
    The old money in the US that really governs the country is made up of families that had their roots in a lot of quirky religions that were run out of Europe. Hence you can have tits in a margarine commercial in Europe, but if a shrouded nipple shows up in a TV show it is chased down by investigators. Ironically, it is pretty much only in the fundamentalist whacky Muslim sect countries where you will find the equivalent of a Pat Robertson and his ilk claiming god kills millions for considering gay marriage and teaching evolution. You wonder why youth is violent, but consider that the unintended message is that American society prefers extreme violence to demonstrative physical love between people. The reality is each one of us is here because two people got laid. If they had been killed...

    Frankly, it would appear, the Europeans had the right idea with these whack-jobs.
  • by thunderpaws ( 199100 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @10:28PM (#14938742)
    It appears to me that the folks who are upset about this so called indecency have issues. I saw the program, and as so often is the case in "Without a Trace" when the subject is a young person or child, the "message" is along the lines of 'Do you know where your children are, or what your children are doing?' I can only assume that these folks are really upset because they they don't know what thier children are doing, and this program showed them up.
  • by TheSync ( 5291 ) * on Thursday March 16, 2006 @10:31PM (#14938767) Journal
    Even a PBS station was fined by the FCC today.

    KCSM-TV, a San Mateo, CA Community College District noncommercial station was fined $15,000 for airing an episode of the Emmy-award-winning Martin Scorsese-produced documentary "The Blues." In it, a hip-hop musician says "I'll buy some [expletive].. This is the kind of [expletive] I buy!"

    For a station their size, $15,000 is a major hit!
  • by fmaxwell ( 249001 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @11:57PM (#14939266) Homepage Journal
    'Notably, the FCC backed away from an effort to impose higher fines by holding all network affiliates responsible for a broadcast, instead of just the stations that had been flagged by a viewer in a complaint.'

    And therein lies the problem. In its only decision involving broadcast indecency, FCC v. Pacifica, the U.S. Supreme Court noted in 1978 that the "normal definition of 'indecent' merely refers to nonconformance with accepted standards of morality."

    When ruling on obscenity in 1973 in Miller vs. California, the Supreme Court established the "three-pronged test" for obscenity:

    (a) whether the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest

    (b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law

    (c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value

    Note that the first test mentions "community standards." That's a recognition by the Court that something that is "obscene" in one community might not be in another. It's not much of a stretch to argue that standards for indecency vary by community also.

    The FCC, by going after individual affiliates, might be called upon to present evidence that the community standards in each and every market with a targeted affiliate are such that the program would be considered indecent. If that happens, the FCC's ability to impose such fines might be seriously curtailed by the Court's decision.
  • by Randym ( 25779 ) on Friday March 17, 2006 @12:14AM (#14939367)
    Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;....

    No problem, we'll just establish a separate entity called the Federal Communications Commission to do our dirty work!

    No person shall ... be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;...

    No problem, we'll just make it an administrative fine -- no trial necessary!

    If the Bill of Rights were proposed on the floor of Congress today, it would be: 1) excoriated as too liberal, 2) vetoed by the President (if, by some miracle, it passed both Houses of Congress), and 3) ultimately struck down by the Supreme Court as insufficiently respectful of the government's right to secrecy and duty of national security.

    So much for "protecting and defending the Constitution".

  • by Pig Hogger ( 10379 ) <pig.hoggerNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday March 17, 2006 @12:38AM (#14939472) Journal
    Overflowing the complaint system is the solution. Most complaints come from a very narrow set of individuals. This could be easily defeated:

    Let's organize a loosely coordinated network that would, for every given TV programme, send, say, some 120 complaints or so. Each sender sould not sent more than 1 complaint per week, in order to sufficiently randomize the sample; the idea is that the onslaught of complaints coming from all over the place will overwhelm the FCC complaint-reception system, thus diluting the whole effot by those right wingnuts.

  • by Kirth ( 183 ) on Friday March 17, 2006 @05:39AM (#14940384) Homepage
    Alright, this looks like an orgy; however, its not explicit in any way, and the people in it sure don't look like teens, I'd say they're in their early twenties.

    But: What kind of crack does your government smoke to put up a law against "indecency" and regulators who think this is "indecent"?

    Grow up. Overthrow your government.
  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Friday March 17, 2006 @09:33AM (#14941048) Journal
    Well, parts of the EU anyway. Dutch tv has had kids programs with nudity in it for ages. Stricly educational off course. [smirk]

    The extremely tame clip would barely register here. Not when a program during the daytime aimed squarely at kids has full frontal nudity in it.

    But don't worry, with dutch parties like CDA (Christian Dicks & Assholdes) we will soon have the same puritan system as the good old US of A.

    What happened to the idea of free speech anyway?

Promising costs nothing, it's the delivering that kills you.