October 8, 2003

FCC’s order on ‘Golden Globes’ vulgarism is ‘a complete breakdown of moral sanity’

NEWS RELEASE from MORALITY IN MEDIA, Inc.

NEW YORK (8 October 2003) — Robert Peters, President of Morality in Media, had the following comments in response to the Federal Communications Commission’s Order, issued October 3, concluding that various broadcast TV stations did not violate the broadcast indecency law by airing the word “f–k–g” during a live telecast of the “Golden Globe Awards” program.

“Indecency complaints against broadcast TV stations regarding their airing of a derivative of the ‘F-word’ during the Golden Globes Awards program did not present the FCC with an easy case.

“On the one hand, most Americans are offended by any use of the ‘F-word’—and especially when that word is used in front of an audience that includes large numbers of children. For one thing, children do pick up on what they hear adults say; and it doesn’t take much imagination to envision a six-year-old at school finishing off his or her sentence, with ‘f—–g gweat!’

“On the other hand, on the particular Golden Globe Awards program, the derivative of the ‘F-word’ was used once during a live program and, presumptively, was used spontaneously. And, according to the FCC, the word was used ‘as an adjective or expletive to emphasize an exclamation’ (FCC Memorandum and Order, File No. EB-03-IH-0110, at page 3).

“Had the FCC ended it there, perhaps dissenters could agree to disagree and leave it at that.

“But the Chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau didn’t stop there. The FCC Order states:

‘As a threshold matter, the material aired during the Golden Globe Awards program does not describe or depict sexual or excretory activities and organs…[O]ffensive language used as an insult rather than as a description of sexual or excretory activity or organs is not within the scope of the Commission’s prohibition of indecent program content.’

“Now, in the first place, if the word ‘f–k–g’ does not describe, in a vulgar manner, sexual intercourse, then what does it describe? Singing in the rain? Eating nuts? Picking flowers?

“In the second place, if the moral giants who dream up these things at the FCC mean what they say, then radio shock jocks (and TV sleaze mongers) can now use—and use as often as they like and at whatever times of day they like—any vulgarism for sex acts or organs and excretory acts or organs as long as they use these words ‘as an insult’ or as ‘as an adjective or expletive to emphasize an exclamation.’

“This isn’t an error in judgment. This is a complete breakdown of moral sanity.”

MORALITY IN MEDIA is a nonprofit national interfaith organization, with headquarters in New York City, working through constitutional means to curb traffic in obscenity and to uphold standards of decency in the mainstream media. Morality in Media also operates the ObscenityCrimes.org Web site, where citizens can report possible violations of federal Internet obscenity laws to Federal prosecutors. Author: MIM   10/08/2003

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