Courts Are Looking At Approving Profanity and “Nudity” on Television

by on January 11, 2012

in Entertainment

Brusimm Cinema Static TV NewsThough it may take six months to actually come to a conclusion, the U.S. Supreme Court is actually pondering the idea if censoring, to some degree, is even worth the effort in this day and age of cable TV and time-shifted viewing.

The FCC is a powerful entity whose biggest, arch nemesis, Howard Stern, has been on Sirius XM satellite radio for the last few years… though Howard Stern is coming to America’s Got Talent.

But all joking aside, the FCC is becoming an antiquated entity with the rules it is enforcing and maybe the money spent there can be placed like say, into education programs so more teachers don’t lose their jobs?

Look, if the Nielsen Ratings org can adapt to streaming entertainment in their metrics, sooner or later the advertisers will embrace it more… seeing as how adverstisers spend nearly $10 billion per season on ads!

Everyone behind the TV industry has been rather slow to adapt to what is evolving as far as watching TV goes, but if you think about it, TV is no longer about sitting down at 8pm to catch a TV show. Today, “TV” is about when you’ll pull up your favorite show or on what device you might watch it.

Advertisers still base their funding decisions on live+7 TV ratings. That’s counting who watches a TV show live, then they also take into account viewership for the next 7 days. But like I noted, TV is no longer just, well, on TV any more. It’s all over the place. It’s on our phones, our computers, in our cars, it’s at the gas stations, at sporting venues and what not.

So when the Supreme Court starts pondering the idea of why worry about censoring time-shifted TV viewing, you know we’re starting to take a step in the modern era.

It turns out that the rules the FCC is trying to enforce were adopted many years ago, when TV was a “rabbit-ears” world, these censorship rules made sense. And they were based around the premise of being careful about what gets on the tube when children are watching.

But there are still those who feel it would be nice to be able to plop their kids down in front of a TV and not worry about what will come across the screen at them. Or, in other words, not take an active role in looking out for the little ones, and setting them on their merry, entertained way.

I get that.

But while basic networks have restrictions, cable networks seem a bit less restricted and can let loose with more daring story lines. Despite the advent of cable, the argument seems to still be rattling around that since these are public airwaves, they still need government intervention.

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But if you ponder these perspectives, and say, take a look at the 8pm schedule for basic channels tonight, we have The Middle, Criminal Minds, Mobbed, Whitney & One Tree Hill.

Criminal Minds has some pretty strong scenarios as far as the criminals and their crimes are concerned, and Whitney is a smoking hot chick who dabbles in and around the subject of sex with her other half during this laugh-track infected series. One Tree Hill is a bunch of hot, smoking-bod teens rumbling around dealing with hotness.

And ABC’s The Bachelor franchise TV shows pretty much feels like a soft-porn experience during the dates and what not. Leave your kids alone with that show, and you’ll be trying to figure out what the “overnight suite” is so you can answer your kids questions about why two people that just met a few weeks back are going in it.

So you want to put your kids down in front of that?

I’m just saying.

I think the concern is not so much what time, but what channel or venue. My family (in-laws) seems to run rampant with Netflix and pulling up whatever, whenever. They also have the VoD services where they can pull up anything they want and watch it any time they want.

Breaking Bad can be a great dinner-time venue, or mid-day viewing. So can Hell on Wheels or The Walking Dead. So I’m not sure how someone can argue that there’s still a purpose for 8pm rules, at least the original purpose, for the FCC to control when something can be played 24/7. It’s starting to look like good censorship may have to come from within the family.

Nine out of ten homes have cable or satellite.

But alas, for those 1 in 10, this battle rages on, because that, is basically what the argument is revolving around, programming still received via antenna, or over-the-air transmissions.

Then again, an interesting argument popped up in the debate… how can ABC air Saving Private Ryan with it’s strong language and not get dinged by the FCC, while some of the same language can show up in a live awards show and that network get fined?

The flippant answer was that “Nobody can use dirty words or nudity except Steven Spielberg.

But I digress.

The dirty words the FCC is worried about are already there for elementary school-aged kids to be exposed to in school, and in life itself. It comes at them on the internet, in their music and what not. And nudity on TV is an incredibly over-hyped term, unless you count a bare shoulder or seeing someone’s (upper) back as nudity.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen the blazing pitch that so-and-so is nude in an ad! And, well, they’re not showing anything.

I’m just saying.

But for now, the U.S. Supreme Court will be pondering this issue, with a potential answer sometime around late June.

In the mean time, can someone please, really do something about stopping those LOUD ads on TV!

[Daily Post, 1/11/12 edition]

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Bruce Simmons January 12, 2012 at 5:09 pm

Actually John, the FCC chooses to relinquish their control over cable… I was even shocked when I found out they could control Satellite Radio, but choose not to. I’m not sure why they opt out some venues, but continue to stick their noses into the classic venue, but I guess it’s like needing to be able to do something so they can charge the customer for it… whether it’s needed or not!

I vote for ‘in home’ also!

jjfs85 January 12, 2012 at 5:05 pm

I think TV and film censorship should be enforced in homes and not federally. The FCC’s rules are selectively enforced at best, and don’t apply to cable networks… that’s 95% of all the channels I get on my TV. Throw in the argument you made about time-shifting and streaming, and you’ve convinced me that it’s a waste of money.

It reminds me of the unfair system of “voluntary” movie ratings. I saw a film a year or so ago called “This Film is Not Yet Rated” (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0493459/) about how the way films are rated by the secretive MPAA’s Classification & Ratings Administration is flawed in many ways. “This Film is Not Yet Rated” is available to stream on Netflix and I would highly recommend watching it when kids or easily offended adults aren’t around.

Paul forcey January 12, 2012 at 8:16 am

In the UK there are a fair amount of rules on what can go on TV before 9pm. Easy when you only have 1 timezone.

Spanish TV is something else altogether, I remember being there on holiday as a kid and seeing topless women on TV in a place we were eating. My parents were working so hard to try and divert my attention it was crazy.

Bruce Simmons January 12, 2012 at 8:06 am

Paul, that’s a good point about the shows being replayed at times other than when they first air… which makes yet another point weakening the need of the FCC control over specific hours of television programming.

Someone over on our Facebook Page made note that we might actually start catching up to our brethren overseas and their programming standards.

For me, like you, it’s about what values are passed down from parent to children… good values negate the need for someone outside the family taking control.

Thanks for chiming in Paul!

Paul forcey January 12, 2012 at 7:52 am

I live in Utah and on some days two and a half men is on at 6 or 7. So the 8pm rule really doesn’t hold as that is one show no kid should be watching.

I agree about the bachelor and things like that, how can you tell your kids it is not a good idea to sleep around and then sit and watch a show like that with them.

I can 100% understand why people get rid of cable altogether and go to something like netflix only where they can totally control what is being watched.

Oh and I won’t let my 4 year old watch spongebob either. If you don’t want the kids doing things that are rude or disrespectful, don’t let them see it every time they turn on the TV.

Parents, turn the TV off, unplug it, just say NO.

When my 20 year old stepson lived with us and wanted to watch tv all day instead of doing anything productive, I have been known to actually take the lead from my cable box to the tv out and take it to work with me.

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