November 20, 2002

The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show: Another TV assault on decency, while the FCC turns a blind eye

NEW YORK (November 20, 2002) — Robert Peters, president of Morality in Media had the following comments on Wednesday night’s showing of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show on CBS Television:

“In its 1978 decision upholding the broadcast indecency law, FCC v. Pacifica Foundation, the Supreme Court observed, ‘Prurient appeal is an element of the obscene, but the normal definition of ‘indecent’ merely refers to nonconformance with accepted standards of morality.’

“Depending on one’s definition of ‘prurient appeal,’ the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, airing tonight on CBS TV, may or may not be found to appeal to the prurient interest.  But it is difficult to believe that nothing in the Victoria’s Secret program, which airs during the 8 p.m. ‘family hour,’ will offend accepted standards of morality.

“Unless, that is, most Americans have become so desensitized that they now foolishly believe that it is morally acceptable to attract an audience of morally challenged adults by having a bevy of attractive young women, clad only in their sexy and minimalist undies, parade about in a medium that is readily accessible to children of all ages.

“Whether you call it decency, or taste, or a sense of propriety, or a respect for majority values, it is no secret that such concerns are easily overridden at CBS—and at ABC, FOX, NBC, UPN or WB—when there is a buck to be made.

“It is also no secret why so many parents feel that they are fighting a losing battle in their efforts to inculcate their children with sound values.  The pervasive enemy is popular culture, with TV still at the forefront of the relentless assault.

“Why the FCC continues to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the flood of broadcast TV programming that is a slap in the face to the very idea of standards of decency, however, is a well-kept secret.

“While the FCC plays lip service to the compelling governmental interest in protecting children from indecent broadcast programming, the ‘standard’ it uses would be more appropriate for an audience of consenting adults at a burlesque show.

“In other words, to be ‘indecent’ something must be so foul, filthy, disgusting, repulsive, vile, etc. that it would even offend adults who, by-and large, enjoy entertainment which violates the standards of the larger community.”

Author: MIM   11/20/2002

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