Ever since conservative playboy Kevin Martin rose to the position of Chair at the FCC this March, the commission has been uncomfortably silent on the issue of indecency (directly following a full year of puritanical nipplegate backlash). Given Martin's history of hating on our 4-lettered friends (even in a patriotic context), we have been expecting the assault on free speech in Washington to intensify.
Today, the FCC turned off the road of inactivity concerning indecency, hiring Penny Nance, a Christian anti-porn activist, as a policy advisor (click here to read the full Mediaweek article). This move indicates that broadcasters are headed for another barrage of indecency fines.
Legislation that would make indecency violations more expensive than the fines for dumping toxic waste has been sitting on the back-burner in the U.S. Senate for a few months now. We believed that the bill's fatal flaw was dragging cable and satellite TV under the FCC's regulatory blanket, and still hope that this caveat will prevent the increased fines from becoming law. Censorship proponents like Nance and Martin want to force cable providers to offer a-la-carte options to consumers, a position which could possibly derail their campaign, considering the cable industry's substantial lobbying power. In any case, the battle is sure to heat up soon.
Thanks to Dave Mandl for the heads-up.