Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The FCC Tyranny

A good comment:

"At July's G-8 summit meeting in Russia, as conflict heated up between Israel and the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, a microphone picked up a candid moment between George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Syria, Bush told Blair, should tell Hezbollah to "stop doing this shit."

This spring, the FCC declared s-words, like f-words before them, to be a step beyond merely "indecent." Now they are "profane." That means that these "most offensive words in the English language" will "provoke violent resentment," and that uttering them on the public airwaves is as good as guaranteed to be punished.

The commissioners crossed a line there. For as the president himself demonstrated, shit and its variants are political speech. If Bush had told Tony Blair at the G-8 meeting that Syria needed to get Hezbollah to stop this "humbug" or this "no-no," it would have lost impact. How can you talk politics without these words? Isn't calling bullshit on politicians the essence of free speech and reason in a democracy?

And so the FCC now censors and chills political speech-even that of the president, for most broadcast outlets did choose to bleep him for fear of fines. Mind you, the commission does recognize some constitutionally protected speech. That is why it has not ruled racial or religious epithets to be profane: because those words can be political. In the FCC's skewed logic, then, the n-word is political speech but BS is not


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