I don’t have much to add on this development that I haven’t already said:
Television broadcasters won a temporary victory yesterday when a federal appeals court told the Federal Communications Commission not to enforce an indecency ruling it imposed on several television shows earlier this year.
“We are gratified that the court has taken the first step in recognizing the serious First Amendment issues raised by the FCC’s new enforcement policies,” CBS said in a corporate statement.
The FCC also considered yesterday’s ruling a partial victory. The agency said it made the March indecency rulings to give the broadcasters guidelines on what can be said on television. But when the broadcasters complained, the FCC acknowledged that it had not followed its usual procedure in declaring the shows indecent. The agency asked the court to send back the indecency decision so it could be reconsidered, which the court did yesterday.
A precedent enforcing the First Amendment would be wonderful, but I guess it takes more courage than anyone in government possesses to understand that bullshit is not going to lead to rotting child brains. If the FCC must think about the free speech ramifications of its actions before it acts, that’s a chilling effect I’m willing to live with. More than anything the Constitution protects the people from government intrusion, not through government intrusion. It’s worth remembering.
I’m accustomed enough to this wave of censorship that I’m resigned to fighting it rather than getting upset. However, 2½ years is not enough time for this quote to do anything other than make my blood boil.
“Hollywood argues that they should be able to say the F-word on television whenever they want,” FCC spokeswoman Tamara Lipper said in a written statement. “The commission continues to believe they are wrong, and there should be some limits on what can be shown on television.”
It would be easy enough to just use the F-word here and pretend like that’s a victory. I know it’s not, although I do take (minimal) joy in knowing that every person who reads that quote will think of the actual four-letter F-word. Saying and writing the F-word doesn’t sanitize reality, no matter how many horseshoes and rainbows busybody social conservatives want to wish upon to pretend it does. Ha! Point, my side.
What disgusts me is the tone and implication within Ms. Lipper’s statement. Trotting out “Hollywood” is a useful tactic because we all know they’re leftist liberal weenies who need to be stopped from corrupting our innocent, angelic little children. But I want my government to have just a smidge less contempt for the notion that it serves me. I do not care for the idea that the government may decide what can and can’t be shown. It is not in the Constitution, and it is not in our ideals. Next thing we know, the government will dictate what we can and can’t say on television about it and our elected leaders. Oh, wait.
Once given power, government tends to assume more and wield it in broad strokes. Ms. Lipper and the FCC demonstrate our need to better adhere to limited government principles as stated in our Constitution, lest we lose what rights are naturally ours.