FCC vs. Freedom of Choice
Recently increasing crackdown of the Federal Communication Commission has been supported by eager followers of the censorship policy. However, this zealous backing looks more like an anxious wish not to remonstrate against the totalitarian regime. Some actions really seem to be over the edge. As Garmong stated:
Clear Channel has canceled its “shock-jock” programs. Skittish station managers have bleeped out words such as “urinate,” “damn,” and “orgy” from the rush Limbaugh program. Most ominous, the national association of broadcasters convened a “summit on responsible programming” to define industry wide standards of self-censorship.
Determining what to say and listen, what to show and what to watch, FCC actually violates the basic human rights - the first amendment of it, to be more precise. The inglorious “wardrobe malfunction” during the Super bowl ceremony definitely made the matters worse. It is not illegal to question some aspects of human behavior. However, in the democratic state, constraining anybody from doing something is illegal anyway.
The strong action taken has already reflected on the Hollywood choice of broadcasted movies. In his essay “Sex and the Cinema,” Epstein makes a convincing argument that the absence of graphic sex from movies is unavoidable if the companies want to make profit. This statement is easily proven by some facts. Ever since the measures became even severer, there are no movies with “dangerous” ratings among Hollywood blockbusters. If the movie still gets the “R” or “NC-17” rating, it is only due to extreme horror or/and violence, not nudity or sex displays (Epstein). Some recent examples show that, ever since 2004, only Sony Classics, Fox Searchlight Pictures, and Universal make attempts to “cross the line”. Such top grossing movies as Bad Education (2004), Shame (2011), and Inside Deep Throat (2005) received their “NC-17” rating. It is needless to say that the movies exposing extreme cruelty are far more numerous. The proportion of sex-violence makes one ponder what is considered less dangerous: violence or sex?
FCC’s actions resemble a parental control option over the minor. Nevertheless, parental control is crucially essential to form the character and the system of moral values of the child. Yet, FCC is not our parent and not our “big brother” to watch us. The putative justification for the FCC’s regulation of broadcasters is that the airwaves are public property (Garmong 39). An ambiguous matter is the category of companies that do not undergo FCC’s jurisdiction. Obviously, the situation of pleading licenses by these broadcasters is absurd. In June, Congress voted to increase the maximum fine the FCC can impose tenfold, from $27500 to $275000. The Commissioner Michael Cops has vowed that he will not be satisfied until he would see one or two license revocations.
We are still to stay await and watch the struggle of FCC and FC (Freedom of choice). It is yet to be determined who becomes the winner in this confrontation. The movies’ content is filtered; ratings are threatening for broadcasters. The battle is not finished yet, but it looks like the contestant with fewer letters in abbreviation and evident supporters in reality is not in favorable conditions at this juncture.
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