March 26th, 2008 10:15 EST
FCC and FOX TV square off
New York, NY-- On Feb. 22, 2008 the FCC issued a Forfeiture Order against 13 Fox TV Network stations, determining that the stations violated the broadcast indecency law when they aired an episode of "Married By America" that focused on adult-only parties featuring sexually oriented entertainment provided by nude or semi-nude female and male "strippers." On Monday of this week, Fox TV stated that it would not pay its part of the $91,000 fine, asserting that the FCC decision is "arbitrary and capricious, inconsistent with precedent and patently unconstitutional."
Robert Peters, President of Morality in Media, had the following comments:
"The FCC is to be commended for issuing a Forfeiture Order against Fox TV Network stations for airing program content that one might expect to see in a burlesque show, not in a medium that reaches into almost every American home and at a time of day when most children are still watching TV.
"I still remember my father talking about burlesque when I was a child; but neither my father nor any other sane adult of the 'great generation' would have recommended moving the burlesque stage from an 'adults only' performance hall to a public park so that everyone could share in the good times.
"As MIM's long-time general counsel Paul McGeady once put it, 'TV...communications partake of the nature of a public thoroughfare (albeit an electromagnetic one), and what may be prohibited on the public street [or park] should be equally prohibited on TV...'
"Once upon a time, TV broadcasters understood that their audience consisted of a cross section of the community, including children of all ages, and acted accordingly.
"Today, broadcast TV networks could care less about who is exposed to their programming. All they care about is Nielsen ratings, which continue to decline in proportion to the degree that the networks trample on community standards, while parading under an ACLU- styled banner of 'free speech. '
"Despite their protestations, however, the problem is not that TV broadcasters can no longer discern community standards. The problem is that the networks no longer care about those standards.
"Nor is the problem that most Americans will no longer watch decent programming that uplifts or enriches the human spirit. The problem is that the media is dominated by individuals who have utter contempt for mainstream values and who confuse pushing the envelope with genuine creativity."