Thursday, September 10, 2009

The FCC And How It Kills Television

For those of you that don't know what the FCC is, here is a brief summery of its definition on Wikiepedia:

The FCC was established by the Communications Act of 1934 as the successor to the Federal Radio Commission and is charged with regulating all non-federal government use of the radio spectrum (including radio and television broadcasting), and all interstate telecommunications (wire, satellite and cable) as well as all international communications that originate or terminate in the United States. It is an important factor in U.S. telecommunication policy. The FCC took over wire communication regulation from the Interstate Commerce Commission. The FCC's mandated jurisdiction covers the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. possessions. Due however to close geographic proximity to the United States, the FCC also provides varied degrees of cooperation, oversight, and leadership for similar communications bodies in other countries of North America. The FCC has a 2009 proposed budget of $466 million which is funded by $1 million in taxpayer appropriations and the rest in regulatory fees. It has 1,899 "Full Time Equivalent" federal employees.

Now what this basically means in plain English, is that the FCC is the final word on all things radio and television in the United States Of America, they decide on if something is allowed on the air or not. Meaning they pick what we get to see and what we don't. They claim to do this in our "best interest" but I often wonder about that. Many times I've called into question how exactly this works, because from where I sit, they look as if all they do is hold us all back. Now, before you think I am completely against the FCC and what they stand for, I understand the need to keep things like nudity and swearing away from the younger children, but I feel that with the broadcast laws, more specifically, the laws referred to as "Safe Harbor Laws", are all we would really need to prevent anything of that nature. Safe Harbor Laws, are basically an internationally agreed upon laws that denote that certain things can't be aired before certain times at night. This is why "prime time" television normally starts at 8pm in most countries, and as the night goes on, the programing gets more aimed at adults. By law after 9pm at night, American programing, just like other counties, should be allowed to swear and show anything, as long as its in context to what the show is about. Honestly, the FCC shouldn't step in unless things become gratuitous for the sake of gratuitous, meaning no excessive swearing, violence and nudity or sexual context. The FCC shouldn't step in unless these things are brought into question.

However, they don't do that. They instead, claim that all television programing aired in America be run past them first. That isn't right, it isn't fair, and its if anything, giving ultimate power to a television special interest group, because that is what they are, the FCC is nothing more then a conservative special interest group. See, I believe that each network's Standards and Practices Department really should do good enough of a job to decide what should and shouldn't be allowed on their network's airwaves, they know the Safe Harbor Laws, and should be allowed to air what they see is fit, not what the FCC tells them is alright. Adding the screening by the FCC before they get the go-ahead to air each episode is moronic and redundant, and it doesn't do any good, it just waters down the product.

I know this is just my personal belief, but I have to tell you, I have to watch alot of programing, and alot from other counties, of which, i would venture to say 85% of beats what we make here in America. So yes, i am against overt censoring, and against stunting of creativity, as well as forcing personal beliefs on others, but I'm also against the national product, which love it or not is entertainment, looking like crap compared to things from other countries. But mostly about the censoring and watering down of programing.

Think about it, have you really looked at some of the most popular and beloved american tv series? By today's FCC regulations, classics like "All In The Family", "The Jeffersons", "I Dream Of Jeanie" and even "Laugh In" wouldn't be allowed to have aired in their original forms. There is no way Jeanie's concept would have allowed it on television today, the idea of a single man who finds bottle that contains a super hot almost naked girl who is willing to do anything to please him would have been rejected before it ever aired, ofcourse today it would have been written in a crude lowbrow manor but still, it wouldn't have made it on the air. All In The Family wouldn't have been allowed to air either, between its constant political cogitations, and the constant using of racial slurs such as "nigger", "Spic" and all of the others Archie used in a casual manor, yes, we all look back and love Archie for his "old folksy racism" which was used to mock the older generations political and racial beliefs, but today? no that wouldn't make it last the FCC today. And even Laugh In, the sketch comedy show that stands up against anything made today, and also is the first and only television show to have an interim US President appear on it, it wouldn't matter, with its political and drug culture jokes and situations, as well as a body painted Goldie Hawn, dancing all super sexy like. There is no way by today's standards the FCC would allow that stuff on the air.

What really gets me though? That they complain about violence, but seem to have no issues at all with the old school Looney Toons and Tom and Jerry cartoons, all of which are insanely violent even by today's standards. How a cat and mouse that constantly gut each other, and a rabbit who's not only an asshole, but also shots a retarded man in a hunting outfit in the face with a shotgun right after attempting to get said retard to believe he has a chance sexually with him, is considered alright, but if you say the word "nigger" or "shit" you are hung on the gallows.

Whats even funnier is, if you look back through american television history, you see alot of adult content, and alot of questionable content things, that wouldn't make it on the air today no matter how hard they tried. But you know what the funniest about it is? All these older programs, kids that grew up watching them didn't turn out that bad. Kids that grew up watching I Dream of Jeanie didn't go out and try to find bottles of hotness they could boss around, kids that watched All In The Family didn't go calling every black person a nigger or every Spanish person a spic, they grew up pretty normal. So you see, in all honesty, the FCC doesn't really do anything but push its own agenda. Which doesn't really benefit America, it just hurts it. And that is why it needs to be dissolved.



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