More FCC Complaints Against Stern

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MacNut, Apr 22, 2004.

  1. MacNut macrumors Core


    Jan 4, 2002
    Ok people don't fight over this thread, play nice

    Thompson Files Another Complaint Against Stern
    April 22, 2004
    From FMQB: Radio Industry News

    Coral Gables, Florida attorney Jack Thompson says he's dashed another complaint off to the FCC about Howard Stern, this one alleging that a Stern guest let the S-word fly on a recent show. According to Broadcasting & Cable, Thompson didn't hear the broadcast in question himself. "I have been informed by a highly reliable source that Stern, clearly, intentionally aired a guest's utterance of the expletive," Thompson wrote to the FCC. "It's also apparently clear, from the context of the show, that Stern did this in order, yet again, to dare the FCC to act."

    A self-described "all purpose crusader" against adult entertainment affecting children, Thompson was the complainant who triggered the FCC's half-million dollar fine against Clear Channel. And though he didn't hear it himself, he also filed a complaint about an utterance of the S-word on a recent 60 Minutes broadcast on CBS.

    Ever since the Commission ruled that Bono's Golden Globes F-bomb was both indecent and profane, it's been getting hit with a rash of complaints about isolated expletives. Stern himself today played audio from a Fox news report where an eyewitness used the F-word twice. "Let's see the fines flow," Stern chided. "Now the news is going to start being fined." Stern also promised to post the Fox audio on his website, so listeners could file complaints.

    Stern continues to berate the Commission for what he sees as a double standard in indecency enforcement. They've fined him twice this year (with a third reportedly on the way) but have left Oprah Winfrey alone, he says. But Chairman Michael Powell told reporters at this week's NAB convention in Las Vegas that the Commission is investigating Oprah for a broadcast that involved graphic sex talk. "I don't agree with that," Powell said about Stern's allegation. "The Commission has said nothing about Oprah Winfrey. There are people complaining about it but we'll see." However, Commission aides later admitted that a celebrity as beloved as Oprah is probably untouchable, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
  2. MacNut thread starter macrumors Core


    Jan 4, 2002
    Want more, chew on this

    FCC's Powell to NAB: Don't ask us to tell

    Michael Powell
    By Brooks Boliek
    LAS VEGAS -- FCC chairman Michael Powell warned broadcasters to be careful what they wish for on Tuesday, telling the industry's trade group that they do not want the government to define exactly what words or actions are indecent.

    Some industry leaders, most notably Viacom's Mel Karmazin, have pushed the commission to say exactly what is meant by indecent speech. They argue that the current definition is too fuzzy to tell them how far they can go before facing a stiff fine.

    "You don't want the government to write red book of what the government says you can and cannot say," he told a packed crowd at the National Association of Broadcasters annual convention.

    The FCC's current indecency definition, which has been vetted by the courts, is sufficient, he argued during a question-and-answer session with veteran ABC correspondent Sam Donaldson.

    "The indecency provision is the same one that has been around for decades," he said. "I cannot tell someone here are the five things you cannot say."

    The commission defines material as indecent if it "in context, depicts or describes sexual or excretory activities or organs in a patently offensive manner as measured by contemporary community standards for the broadcast medium." While obscene speech has no constitutional protection, indecent speech does. The Supreme Court has said that adults have the right to indecent speech, but the government has a compelling interest to protect children from it.

    Under that rubric the courts, Congress and the FCC decided that indecent speech can be broadcast between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. -- a time when children are a negligible part of the audience.

    Indecency is a hot topic at this year's NAB show since Congress and the FCC cracked down on broadcast smut. The FCC has proposed a string of big fines for allegedly indecent behavior that was sparked by increasing coarse language and activities like the accidental baring of Janet Jackson's breast during the Super Bowl.

    While Powell contends that broadcasters do not want a government do-not-say list, the commission recently decided that uses of certain words were by themselves indecent. In that decision on Bono's use of a version of the word "f***" on the Golden Globes Awards show, the commission decided that the use of a single expletives is both "indecent" and "profane" and could cause the station on which it aired to get fined, even if it was accidental or fleeting.

    Most of the major networks and a host of free speech advocates and public interest groups filed a petition with the FCC on Monday asking them to reverse that decision.

    Powell conceded that decisions on indecency cases made him "uncomfortable" but that he has a duty to enforce the law, and it's a law more and more people want to see upheld. The number of indecency cases has risen from 14,000 on 2002 to more than 500,000 in 2003. The stepped up enforcement is a "direct response to the concerns of the public."

    Powell dismissed accusations that the FCC's actions are unevenly enforced, shock jock Howard Stern, whose show has been fined more than any other, has accused the FCC and the Republican administration of pursuing a vendetta. On his Web site he accuses the commission of going after him, but ignoring Oprah Winfrey, who received an award for her achievements in broadcasting on Monday.

    "I don't agree with that," he told reporters after his Q&A. "The commission has said nothing about Oprah Winfrey. There are people complaining about it, but we'll see."

    While Powell defended the commission's even-handedness, commission aides admitted that Oprah is probably untouchable. It's more difficult to fine a beloved figure like her, than to go after lightning rod like Stern.

    During his session Powell said he had "a lot of respect for Howard Stern," but he told reporters later that Stern's contention that commission actions against him were politically motivated was bunk.

    "If it's motivated by party politics, then both parties are guilty," he said. "There's been more push from the Democratic side than the Republican side, although they've pushed it too."

    Democratic FCC commissioner Michael Copps has been the leading champion on the indecency front for years. If the Bono decision was intended to clarify the indecency regulations, it didn't help. While the commission's top mass media advisors at first told conventioneers that the "****" ruling was radioactive, they backed off when asked for specifics.

    "They shouldn't be saying the F-word. They should be taking precautions. If it's a slip-up, I'm not sure that means it isn't a violation," said Catherine Bohigian, legal adviser to Commissioner Kevin Martin. "Do you really need to say the F-word before 10 o' clock?"

    But when asked if airing "Schindler's List," "Saving Private Ryan," an interview with mobster John Gotti or the airing of a French documentary that followed New York City firefighters during 9/11, where the word "f***" was used extensively, would merit a fine, they wavered.

    "The answer is, we don't know. These are case specific," said Jon Cody, a legal adviser to Powell. "I just think in this climate you need to make some decisions."
  3. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    OMG this is turning into such a cluster f**k.

    "A self-described "all purpose crusader" against adult entertainment affecting children, Thompson was the complainant who triggered the FCC's half-million dollar fine against Clear Channel."


    I'll Paypal $20 to anyone that TP's this dudes house.

  4. Mike Teezie macrumors 68020

    Mike Teezie

    Nov 20, 2002
    Put me down for twenty too.
  5. SlyHunter macrumors newbie


    Apr 13, 2004
    Howard Stern on air has blamed the Republicans for his problems with the FCC. This is not necessarily true in this specific case. Yes in the future if Bush wins the election it could become more wide spread and is one of the problems I have with the republicans who wants to legislate morality.

    I can understand a parent doesn't want to be walking the sidewalk with their kid and have cars with their radios blaring F this and F that and so forth and so on. But do they have the right to violate someones first admendment rights to stop it from happening? And is it really all that logical?

    What is a cuss word? Who invented them and why? What makes these words different from other words? What is the difference between saying the S word or Excrement. Or for that matter Shaving Cream we know what they mean when they do stuff like that. Thus who are they really protecting. Even on this forum do you really think that putting asterisks in place of letters of some of these forbidden words makes it so some people don't know what they mean? It's pointless other than protecting yourself from lawsuits from parents. What is so bad about saying the F word? For me it is the fact that I got my mouth washed out with soap as a kid and thus I'm programmed to think it is a bad word. And why did they do that? Probably because they in turn were also programmed that way. Why is the D word considered a cuss word and Penis isn't? Who is the great intellect that was able to tell the difference between a "bad word" and a "good one"? Forbidding the use of the F word, for example, to prevent sexual talk is useless they can say "hoot n' holler", or "intercourse", or a multitude of other words thus again I say it is pointless.

    However in Howard Sterns case I hope they run him off the air and onto satellite radio only because I went and bought both Sirius and XM stock hoping he would. Together they both have a total of about 1.2 million subscribers with the goal of a total of about 2 or 3 million subscribers at year end. Howard Stern has a fan base of 15 million. Even if 1/3rd of those were willing to pay 13 bucks a month so they can get their Howard Stern, as well as other valuable radio stations) that would increase the stock drastically.

    That is if he can hold the show together. Its been close to a year since I tuned him in, he started getting lame and boring to me. How many times can you listen to some girl get naked? I understand his best performers are leaving for greener pastures. Stuttering John, and Marling for example. Is there someone out there ready to take his place if he should up an retire?

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