02 Feb 2004 If You Think the NFL is Bad, Wait for the Grammys
A warning to the FCC from NCPPR executive director David W. Almasi:
Next week is the Grammy Awards. It will be broadcast live on CBS, the same network that brought us last night’s Super Bowl halftime show featuring Janet Jackson’s bare breast. Internet gossip Matt Drudge reports the peep show was approved by top officials at the network. Whatever the case, the FCC needs to stop dodging the issue of what’s inappropriate on broadcast radio and television before the Grammys because next Sunday has the potential to make this Sunday look like a church service.
The FCC recently took a position that it was OK for U2’s Bono to have used the f-word on last year’s live Grammy broadcast. That lead to a public and political uproar, and it was followed by live swearing on the subsequent People’s Choice Awards and Golden Globe Awards broadcasts. Infinity, a CBS-owned radio network, was fined on several occasions by the FCC for indecent antics by on-air talent, but is refusing to pay the fines. This has prompted syndicated shock jocks such as Howard Stern and Don and Mike — who are both frequently censored by their own production staff for fear of incurring complaints and fines — to call on the FCC to learn what they can and cannot do. Why is it OK for TV’s daytime show “The View” to use the “T-word” for breasts when they cannot, they wonder. Comedy Central has twice played the “South Park” movie unedited in late night. Every new pop video on MTV seems to push the envelope just a little bit further.
Most kids probably know more swear words than the average adult and pornography is omnipresent on the Internet. That’s an issue for parents to handle individually. But the FCC is charged with enforcing decency on the airwaves. People could have tuned into the pay-per-view “Lingerie Bowl” at halftime if they wanted titillating fare, but CBS gave it to them free. It also gave all of the rappers, metalheads and poseurs getting ready for Grammys the green light to be as offensive as they wanna be next week.
Unless the FCC warns CBS and Grammy Award producers that allowing bad behavior will come at a price, the Grammys should be pre-emptively rated “TV-MA.”