Monday, November 15, 2004

When 3 people have the power to punish a corporation for $1.2 million....

No, it's not a good thing.

Remember a month ago, when the FCC fined Fox Broadcasting a record $1.2 million for the sexually suggestive content in Married By America?

Well, they did receive 159 complaints, right? Well, according to a FOIA request by Jeff Jarvis of BuzzMachine (via adrants), there were, wait for it, 3 unique complaints. All others were duplicates, slight variations and copies sent to different locations.
(click here to continue)
Now, I can see the flaw in Jarvis' methodology. I myself have participated in a write-in campaign against Sinclair Broadcasting and I imagine many of the letters ot FCC and advertisers were copy-and-paste jobs (I wrote my own letter, thank you).

Be that as it may, by Jarvis' findings show that only 23 people, out of millions who watched Married By America wrote in to complain, and forced the FCC to impose their values on the 99.9% of America.

You may still argue, "Isn't that exactly what you were doing during the Sinclair controversy? Aren't you the one who gets all high and mighty about the power of the grassroots?" Well, sure. But you're missing the point.

First off, more than 23 people participated in the write-in campaign against Sinclair, and most of the letterst were to advertisers, as it was clear that FCC was going to turn a blind eye to the blatant in-kind gift.

Second, the aim was not to stop Sinclair from broadcasting Stolen Honor, per se. We would've been fine if Sinclair had decided to air the same amount of pro-Kerry programming in an equivalent time slot. This was a matter of enforcing election and broadcasting regulations, not about standards.

Third, the original Sinclair plan was to air Stolen Honor on every station, even in markets where the company owned more than one network affiliate. This is different, of course. Local affiliates could have chosen not to air Married By America. Viewers could have turned to a different channel, or god forbid, turned the TV off altogether and read a book.

But no, this tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny minority of viewers wrote into FCC and the FCC bent over backwards, allowing this tiny minority to set the standards for the rest of the country and allow them take away our choices as consumers of entertainment products.

My message to the FCC? Grow some balls.

Predictably, conservative organizations like American Family Association are flooding the FCC with complaints after the airing of Saving Private Ryan on Veterans Day.

Good grief. It's a war movie! You knew it was going to be violent and vulgar! This movie was shown the last 3 Veterans Days! There was a clear, explicity disclaimer at the beginning of the film and at the end of every commercial break! They did not surprise us with a special Director's Cut showing a three-way gay sex scene with Tom Hanks, Barry Pepper and Matt Damon!

I'm getting verklempt. Talk amongst yourselves. I'll give you a topic: the Christian Right is neither Christian nor right. Discuss.

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