What ABOUT the FCC? They Childproof TV, Why Not Publicly Accessible Radio?
There has been a lot of talk about the fact that our friend Mr. Limbaugh seems to have crossed the line that one would assume is drawn by the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) parameters. While some argue it would violate Limbaugh’s first amendment rights, he is not protected by the first amendment because his programming is available on public airways is aired during time when children may access it.
The lines of decency are set for a reason and despite challenges by Supreme Court, the authority remains in the hands of the FCC. There have been calls to file complaints against Mr. Limbaugh. That is a good idea and we should all do that. But I suggest that you take that a step further and follow up on a complaint by contacting the FCC and asking why there has been no action against Limbaugh. Consider the following:
According to its own guidelines:
“The FCC has defined broadcast indecency as ‘language or material that, in context, depicts or describes, in terms patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards for the broadcast medium, sexual or excretory organs or activities.’ Indecent programming contains patently offensive sexual or excretory material that does not rise to the level of obscenity.”
The FCC explains that the “Supreme Court has established that, to be obscene, material must meet a three-pronged test:
• An average person, applying contemporary community standards, must find that the material, as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest;
• The material must depict or describe, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by applicable law; and
• The material, taken as a whole, must lack serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.”
Limbaugh called Ms. Fluke, a priate citizen who was not a guest on his show, a slut and suggested she post videos of her having sex online so that he could see it in exchange for paying for her contraception.
“Regarding the safe harbor period, Congress and the courts have instructed the Commission only to enforce the indecency standard between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., local time – when children are more likely to be in the audience. As a consequence, the Commission does not take action on indecent material aired between 10 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. In this way, constitutionally-protected free speech rights of adults are balanced with the need to protect children from harmful content.”
Limbaugh’s show is on in the mid-day – EST from noon to 3pm.
So, why is this kind of accessible programming allowed? Why doesn’t the FCC do something about this obscene and offensive talk during the daytime hour when children can listen? Howard Stern is equally offensive to many of us, as his show denigrates women, using explicit sexual language, but Stern’s show is hosted by satellite radio. One would argue that that venue is easier to monitor as it requires special equipment and a subscription.
Bill Maher who uses explicit and offensive language often subject of used by the argument the right wing and Limbaugh listeners have used frequently in defense, is on HBO, a cable network that also requires a subscription. Furthermore Maher’s show is aired at 11pm.
Why is Limbaugh not subject to decency laws? We aren’t talking about the Internet decency debate that has the FCC cowering for what many say is good reason, this is radio, publicly accessed and not requiring a subscription. And this is radio programming that is on during the hours the FCC monitors television, closely. This is the show I hear playing in some local businesses during the day. How do we prevent children from accessing this programming?
I am a fan of late night talk shows on our national networks. If they cross the line, there is always someone waiting to slap a fine, even though they all start their programming after 11:30 at night.
Why is Limbaugh protected from the same standards of decency?
Please, file a complaint, but it is also time to take this issue to a higher level and ask the FCC Chairman why Limbaugh continues to get a pass on decency and obscenity LAWS.
So after you file a complaint, please contact FCC Chairman, Julius Genachowski.
Email him, or use the form: http://transition.fcc.gov/commissioners/genachowski/mail.html. Give his office a call, his phone number is 202.418.1000
Putting a stamp on and mailing a letter- or even sending ot registered or Priority mail so that you can track it – is more effective these days; an email can be deleted and ignored or responded to and forgotten:
Chairman, Julius Genachowski
Federal Communications Commission, Room: 8-B201, 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC 20554
Please take these steps and let us know what happens, we will be posting the responses you receive and share with us.