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The Fleeting Expletives Case

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4 Responses

  1. Sam B. says:

    In my opinion as a parent, the “fleeting expletives” are actually the worst thing to allow on broadcast TV. In general, I have a sense of what to allow my daughters to watch on TV and when to change the channel. (I’m not perfect; there have been times when I or my wife was watching TV, she goes back to the bedroom to work on the computer and I go into the kitchen to prepare dinner when suddenly, out of the corner of my ear, I hear something that makes me rush back and turn of the TV or put in the Muppets as my daughter plays in the living room.)

    But in general I’m not dumb. Law & Order doesn’t play in my house while my girls are awake, and MTV and VH-1 long ago jumped the shark. But my guard is (or at least was) down in the Super Bowl and broadcast news shows. So when content I don’t want my daughters to see or hear slip into those, I’m offended. (Like the time a strip club or sex chatline or something advertised on a USA broadcast of Elf, of all things.) So the fleeting expletive is the worst of all worlds–the unexpected thing I was trying to avoid.

  2. Brian Garst says:

    Why should the opinions of parents matter with regard to understanding the First Amendment? Rights are not, and should not be, contingent upon popular support. Should we ask what PETA thinks about the Second Amendment? No, we shouldn’t, because it’s irrelevant.

    Do parents have something to say about the morality and practical implications of swear words on television? Absolutely. But their opinions say nothing about whether government has any Constitutional authority to enforce those subjective judgments. TV stations should care what parents think (with the competitive market providing the mechanism to communicate those preferences), not courts.

  3. tim zick says:

    I wasn’t suggesting that parents should determine constitutional outcomes. Since what we are really talking about here is harm to children, if any, from fleeting expletives, I thought parents’ views might be particularly relevant.

  4. C.J. Caporin says:

    Let’s cast aside the controversial First Amendment issue, for a very brief moment to get back to the real issue at hand: responsibility. FOX, like all other television broadcast companies, knows where the line is (has been) drawn and has an underlying responsibility to make sure viewers are kept free from those who would violate the intent of the original holding of Pacifica. The fact that the FCC had to go even further to regulate speaks of how networks have tried to push the envelope even further to dilute or redraw the boundaries. The fact is, they’ve been thwarted by the FCC and now look to hide behind the First Amendment to justify not wanting to police the conduct of producers, actors, musicians, etc. the networks seek to display. I guess if you give ‘em an inch, they look to take a mile. NO MORE!

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