Thursday, July 31, 2008

Janet Jackson Fine Thrown Out

I just got this E-mail today from TV Watch

From Broadcasting & Cable
The Third Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the fine against CBS stations for their airing of the Janet Jackson Super Bowl reveal.
That was the incident that prompted the Federal Communications Commission's crackdown on broadcast content, under pressure from Congress.
The court concluded that the FCC was arbitrary and capricious in changing a decades-old policy of not holding fleeting nudity indecent.
It also concluded that the commission could not hold broadcasters to strict liability, which means that they could not be held "vicariously liable" for actions they did not take on their own. That means that stations could not be liable for an action they could not foresee.
Read the Full Story

I got this E-mail from Parents Television Council

PTC Condemns Court Decision Overturning Super Bowl Striptease Indecency Fine
The Parents Television Council responded to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that threw out the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) fine given to CBS for airing Janet Jackson's breast during the 2004 Super Bowl, which shocked millions of unsuspecting families and children. The PTC and its 1.3 million members led the charge to clean up the airwaves by calling on the FCC to levy a hefty fine against CBS and its affiliates for violating the federal indecency law over this so-called "wardrobe malfunction," and the FCC rightly levied a fine. "Once again, a three-judge panel has hijacked the will of the American people -- not to mention the intent of the Congress acting on behalf of the public interest - when it comes to indecent content on the public airwaves. While we are not surprised that the legal venue hand-picked by CBS would rule in favor of the network, the court's opinion goes beyond judicial activism; it borders on judicial stupidity," said Tim Winter, president of the PTC, which filed an amicus brief in the case. "If a striptease during the Super Bowl in front of 90 million people -- including millions of children -- doesn't fit the parameters of broadcast indecency, then what does? If the Court thinks that the event wasn't shocking enough, even though it was the single largest news story for weeks when the nation was at war, then what is shocking enough?" ► Read More


I will now be short, sweet and to the point. IT IS TIME TO MOVE ON. We have given to much time and ink to one breast. People are loosing their houses. Gas is almost $5.00 a gallon. We are still fighting two wars and we will be selecting a new Commander and Chief in less than 100 days. IT IS TIME TO MOVE ON. So lets take one last look at the breast and then never speak of it again.

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To quote William Shatner on SNL, "GET A LIFE, will you people? I mean, for crying out loud, it's just a TV show!"

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa


PS: This goes for Charlotte Ross' 1.4 Million-Dollar buttocks too.

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2 comments:

Richard said...

Yeah, don't even get me started on this noise. I want one of these God-fearing people to explain to me why we should be so ashamed of what God gave us? And exactly WHY it's so shocking, other than "Because it is." I know: Garden of Eden, blah blah blah.... But it's a non-argument, frankly, unless you're a devout Muslim or Hassid, in which case you're in the vast minority in the US. But maybe if one of these "incidents" starts a discussion about our bodies the rest of us can all put our minds elsewhere. Maybe even to things that God would have us do: help the poor, feed the hungry, end war.... That was why Christ was sent, no?

Jus' Sayin'....

I'm with you: let's move on to more important things. Like prosecuting the Executive Branch for breaking the law.

Brent McKee said...

Tony, I have to warn you that this comment is a long one, but this issue isn't going to go away.

As I read the Third Circuit's opinion the fine on Charlotte Ross's (beautiful) buttocks stands. The decision hangs on two points: first the fleeting mature of the exposure on live television; and second the fact that the even occurred before the FCC's decision on fleeting obscenities in the Bono situation (when he used the F-word at the Billboard Music Awards).

In the first part the court not found that CBS wasn't liable because it was incidental and fleeting (and CBS took the camera off of Jackson as quickly as possible) but also that Jackson and Timberlake were not network employees but rather independent contractors and therefore the network was not liable for their actions. In the second part the Bono decision set a new standard (one I consider to be wrong but that's beside the point), but which was not applied retroactively to events which occurred before the decision. The live, incidental nature of the event applies to the Jackson incident but not the Charlotte Ross situation, which was scripted and not live.

That said, I think that the Ross fine is wrong for a couple of reasons. A careful reading of what Justice Stevens said in "Pacifica" - rather than what the PTC thinks Stevens said - clearly shows that he wasn't intending a blanket prohibition. He clearly makes a point about an occassional use of "indecent" language in Shakespeare plays for example. The standard that he seemed to imply was that what was unacceptable was a "shock treatment" approach which the nudity in NYPD Blue never was except to people like Brent Bozell. The other aspect I think is important is that there has been ample precedent both in the ten years of the show but in the 25 years before NYPD Blue began for nudity on broadcast TV not to be fined regardless of the hour at which it was shown. Whether it was Valerie Perrine's ass in 1973's Steambath on PBS, or Meredith Baxter's breast in the movie My Breast in 1994 there is ample precedent. And remember, he only reason that the FCC was able to fine NYPD Blue at all was because the network followed standard practice and aired the episode at 9 p.m. in the Central and Mountain time zones.