Since the FCC has been mysteriously quiet on the indecency front for nearly a year, we were beginning to think that the issue was waning into oblivion under the commission's new conservative Chairman, Kevin Martin. It turns out that Mr. Martin has been a busy bee after all, quietly arranging his pawns for what we imagine will be a renewed battle against the first amendment.
To remind you, the most recent indecency mess started with America's traumatic exposure to 19/32 of a second of nipple during the 2004 Super Bowl... this was followed by a high-and-mighty, 11-month-long decency harangue from the right, which included a skyrocketing number of indecency complaints thanks to one christian organization, legislation that would catapult indecency fines far beyond rational numbers, a smattering of censorship-happy indecency rulings, and widespread confusion concerning non-sexual fucking. But the FCC suddenly shushed itself on the subject last December, and has not issued an indecency fine since.
During this downtime, Kevin Martin replaced Michael Powell as chairman of the FCC, a staunch anti-porno advocate was hired as a policy adviser to the commission (reeking of a renewed censorship campaign), and another indecency complaint against Howard Stern was filed, but all the while, the feds have been receiving fewer and fewer indecency complaints from the public they've been itching to protect.
This latest report confirms that Martin is taking baby-steps by placing the "right people" in key positions before launching into full-blown attack mode. We're predicting another onslaught of indecency fines in the near future, but there's one small detail that could potentially derail Martin's gravy train. He is a strong supporter of a-la-carte cable programming (which, of course, the cable industry strongly opposes), and we think he'll try to tack on some pay-per-channel cable language onto any new indecency regs/decisions.
America will then be presented with an interesting battle: religious fundamentalism (anti-indecency groups like the PTC) vs. the almighty dollar (cable TV lobbyists). Who will prevail? Stay tuned...