The Supreme Court Set to Decide Whether Ryan Seacrest Has the Right to Call Randy Jackson a Motherf**ker on TV
The Internet is free market. I have the First Amendment right to say anything I want in the language that I prefer, but advertisers have every right not to advertise on our pages, and readers have the same right to read Yahoo News, instead, where you're less likely to run across a string of profanities or threats upon your life.
But you know who doesn't have that right? Broadcast networks. Instead of allowing advertisers and viewers to decide what programs and what channels to watch or advertise on based on content and language, the FCC has prohibits the use of certain words or certain levels of sex and violence during certain times of the day, and this despite the fact that cable programming -- which goes unregulated by the FCC -- is allowed to air what it wants, when it wants.
But it doesn't. Because the cablers are smart enough to know that kids may be watching in the afternoon, and airing sex and profanity at 4p.m. would likely get them in trouble, lose them viewers, and cost them advertisers. The bottom line rules all.
Cable vs. broadcast is outdated; these days, it's all just TV. And a lot of the times, it's not even that: It's TV on Laptops or iPads or iPhones. So, why should the government restrict content on broadcast channels when it doesn't restrict the same on cable? Nine out of ten households have cable, after all. It's all just one big pot of televised garbage, and whether their dropping the F-Bombs or not, the Kardashians, Gosselins, and Real Housewives are still rotting your brains.
That's the issue being taken up by the Supreme Court today: Should the FCC still have a role in policing the nation's airwaves or whether its indecency regulations violate guarantees of free speech and due process? The Parents Television Council, and even the Obama Administration, is siding with the FCC, reasoning that broadcast is different and that parents rely on indecency regulations, and therefore the FCC should be able to fine the networks a half a million dollars if Cher drops an F-bomb during an awards show.
Lift the restrictions, and what will happen? It's not as though ABC will start airing porn at 8 p.m., because if they do, they will lose money. And no one likes to lose money. Moreover,
parents should dictate what kids can and cannot watch on television. Not the government (shouldn't conservatives fall on this side of the issue, anyway?). Besides, it's not as though the indecency regulations actually prevent profanities from being aired; They're just bleeped (bleeped out F-bombs are up from 11 times in the first two weeks of 2005 to nearly 300 times in the first two weeks of 2010). What kid old enough to watch a show that bleeps out words doesn't know what the bleeped word is? Not only that, many prime time shows manage to be just as crude by creatively working around the use of curse words, so it's not like the FCC is actually preventing crude content. It's just preventing less creative ways to talk about crude content.
How will the Supreme Court come down on this? I dunno: You'd imagine that the conservatives would come down on the side of less regulation, and that the liberals would come down on the side of free speech. It should be a no brainer.
But it never is, is it?