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After Court Decision, TV Content Will Become More Extreme

By Christopher Gildemeister


In the wake of the 2nd Circuit Court’s ruling preventing the Federal Communications Commission from enforcing laws against indecency on the publicly-owned broadcast airwaves, several expert media-watchers have stated that viewers can expect programming to become even more gratuitously explicit.


According to an article in The Hollywood Reporter, broadcast TV is “about to get even racier.”  In it Andrew Schwartzman, head of the Media Access Project – an organization of lawyers that argued in the court case on behalf of entertainment industry writers and producers – admits that "There's no question that this decision is going to mean more [sexual content on broadcast television]…They're already much more aggressive about trying to get stuff in. They're always saying: 'Look what cable does!’" And Brad Adgate, head of the advertising agency Horizon Media, says that TV will continually become more explicit "until they hit a place where they can't go any further."


Unfortunately, if anything can be learned from examining current television, it is that when it comes to disgusting and offensive content, there is NO place where TV “can’t go any further.”

Opposition to the court’s misguided ruling was swift, and came from a variety of quarters. Most notably, FCC Commissioner Michael Copps – a steadfast friend of families on the Commission – stated publicly that the FCC should appeal the case, and demanded that the Commission act to “clarify and strengthen” its authority, “to ensure that American parents can protect their children from the indecent and violent images that bombard us more and more each day.”


The National Religious Broadcasters also asked the FCC to appeal, stating that the court’s ruling “created an indecency loophole through which you can drive a truck." And an op-ed by the Christian Science Monitor stated that they “recognize the real-world evidence of the harm done to vulnerable children by media creators who constantly push the boundaries of social acceptance.”


Unfortunately, the 2nd Circuit Court demonstrated that their concern for the “rights” of the entertainment industry are more important than those of millions of children and families. The court apparently forgot that the broadcast airwaves are owned by the American people, and apparently believes that a tiny clique of millionaire network executives and elitist TV writers ought to have absolute power to determine what is shown on the publicly-owned airwaves, not the American people.


But then, the judges’ biases were evident in their ruling. The court proclaimed that “sex and the magnetic power of sexual attraction are surely among the most predominant themes in the study of humanity,” which reflect “the most important and universal themes in art and science.” Even if one grants that is true, it hardly follows that every family in America should be forced to have depictions of sex, toilet humor and profanity crammed down their throats in their own living rooms.


It also seems more than a little ridiculous to hear supposedly learned judges comparing the crass sex jokes and toilet humor of shows like American Dad and Two and a Half Men with “the study of humanity.” Here are just a few examples of the kind of content the court says reflects “important and universal themes in art and science”:


  • Baby Stewie demands Brian eat the excrement out of his diaper.


STEWIE:  “Dogs sometimes eat feces.  It's not a judgment, it's just a fact.  So what I would need you to do is eat what's in my diaper, lick the diaper clean, possibly lick my fanny, and then put the diaper back on me.  Probably lick my fanny.  Yeah, you should start wrapping your brain around that too.” 


Brian eats the excrement out of Stewie's soiled diaper.  Stewie vomits in the corner. 


STEWIE:  “Got some dessert for you.”


BRIAN:  “You gotta be kidding me.” 


STEWIE:  “C'mon, it's throw-up.  You like throw-up.”


BRIAN:  “I do.  I do like throw-up.” 


Brian eats the vomit.


STEWIE:  “You'll have to clean my ass.”


BRIAN:  “Oh God, Stewie.  There's got to be a line.”


Stewie bends over.  Off-camera, Brian licks his rear clean.


  • Roger has an injured arm, and tells Stan he must care for their racehorse.


ROGER:  “You're gonna have to do the horse chores...You have to brush the horse's coat and mane, water and feed it, then give it a full release. You know, give it a happy photo finish.  Take the glue out of the factory.  Spank his front butt.  Grant him a bone loan!” 


Later, Stan strokes the horse’s side.


STAN:  “Here we go.  Just do me a favor and let me know when you're about to...you know.”


Stan bends down beneath the horse. The horse’s eyes go wide with surprise and pleasure. Stan is shown with fluid spraying in his face, implying that the horse has ejaculated on Stan. The camera pulls back to reveal that Stan is washing himself off with a hose. (American Dad, January 3, 2010)


  • Stan crawls underneath the table and notices Mr. Winthrop's crotch.  He crawls toward it.  Winthrop jumps out of his seat.

STAN:  "20 bucks and I'll make you see heaven."

FRAN:  "Stan, what the hell are you doing?"

ROGER:  "Isn't it obvious?  Guy can't handle his crack."

STAN:  "10 bucks.  10 bucks and I'll let you slap me with it."

(American Dad, January 31, 2010)

Isn’t America fortunate to have judges in Manhattan determining that every home should be made to witness content like this – all in the name of “art,” “science,” and “the study of humanity,” of course.

But the Manhattan-based court did not act alone in coming to their decision. They were encouraged by Hollywood itself.


Various entertainment industry lobbying groups also asserted that the FCC’s prohibition against sexual and excretory language and imagery “chills speech.” Jonathan Rintels, director of Center for Creative Voices in Media (an organization which promotes the political interests of Hollywood’s so-called “creative” elite) claims that decency laws banning open depictions of sex and excrement “chills” production of “the very kinds of television programs that parents want their children to watch - high-quality documentaries, histories and dramas.”


This is no different than the court’s pompous references to “art” when discussing fart jokes on Family Guy. As such programming shows, claims to “chilled speech” are ludicrous. Every week, literally dozens if not hundreds of instances of blatant sexual language, sexual imagery, and toilet humor are shown on broadcast TV.


Whether the entertainment industry’s claims of “chilled speech” are a genuine delusion on the part of clueless, narcissistic Hollywood insiders, or merely a cynical lie meant to exploit Americans’ love of freedom, what is not debatable is the effect. Such statements go beyond being ludicrous into being insulting. Hollywood-backed lobbying groups may disingenuously cite documentaries and dramas, but in fact the entertainment industry merely wants the “right” to further pollute American homes with as much disgusting toilet humor, filthy language, and perverted sexual content as they can…and they want the power do to so at any time, in any amount, without any limit, no matter how many children may be in the audience.


According to the entertainment industry elite, average Americans should have no power to determine what is shown on their own airwaves: they are to take what the “enlightened” and “sophisticated” types in Hollywood give them, and like it.  


TV Trends: This column was compiled from reports by the Parents Television Council’s Analysis staff.


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