Censorship in Television and Radio
For our group project we, group 6, decided to focus our attention on censorship in television and on the radio. We showed most of the attention to the Janet Jackson incident in Super Bowl 38 when looking at television, and for radio, focused on the FCC and disc jockeys like Howard Stern. Here are the television articles as done by three of our group members.
If there is a single most important event that happened in television that caused major ramifications, it would be the Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” during the halftime show at Super Bowl 38. In this incident Janet Jackson exposed her right breast. Worst of all the Super Bowl was broadcast on CBS, a non-cable free channel, where censorship is pushed to the extreme. An estimated 140 million people were watching the halftime show when the incident occurred (Davidson 2004). In response the FCC fined CBS $550,000, which is the largest fine ever handed out by the FCC to a T.V. broadcasting station (Davidson 2004). The 227 CBS independent affiliates were left un-fined (Davidson 2004). This one event probably had the most severe consequences ever, and caused an onslaught of censorship to follow, and spread into every aspect of American’s lives.
A major legislation to come down, relating to censorship and television, was the increase of broadcast indecency fines. The increase, passed by the US Senate in a 99 to 1 vote, made it possible to fine as much as $275,000 an incident and a maximum of $3 million a day (parentstv.org). Also the Senate approved amendments that would make the FCC consider the station’s size, when fining, for violent television programming (parentstv.org). The House passed a similar legislation, and in a response, FCC Chairman Michael Powell said that the current fines, before the legislation was passed, were “peanuts” to the broadcasters and they saw the fines as a cost of doing business (parentstv.org). The white house supports these ideas saying “This legislation will make broadcast television and radio more suitable for family viewing by giving the FCC the authority to impose meaningful penalties on broadcasters tat air obscene or indecent material over the public airwaves”.
The television has responded to the scrutiny that they have been put under, not by rebelling, but complying with these new rules and censoring themselves. For starters Victoria’s Secret cancelled its annual fashion show, on television, this year. Fox is trying to clean up its act by employing people to monitor its star reality show, “American Idol”, as well as other reality shows. Comcast Corporation told Congress that it will increase its efforts to assist parents in choosing the right programming for their children. In an interview with Survivor host Jeff Probst said that the producers were told to enlarge the digital blur over Richard Hatch, who spent part of his time on the show naked. NBC planned to show a woman’s exposed...