Just a few days following the latest FCC crackdown on indecency, some broadcast TV networks are already quaking in their boots. The WB unnecessarily censored an episode of "The Bedford Diaries" that contains scenes of a fictional college sex ed course. Against producer Barry Levinson's wishes, the network cut out a scene of two girls kissing, along with a scene of a girl unzipping her pants; neither clip contained any nudity or profanity. According to the FCC's definition of indecency, neither of these scenes crossed the line (which, by the way, is becoming increasingly blurry thanks to the countless inconsistencies in FCC indecency rulings). If TV networks are so afraid of being fined that they are going out of their way to cut material that is clearly within reason, why isn't anyone bothering to mention that nasty little caveat in the Constitution?
But perhaps we've spoken too soon. CBS was issued a total of $3.9 million in fines from the FCC during this last throwdown, and they don't plan to take it lying down. Sure, they've got the money to front for good lawyers and a long, grueling courtroom battle, but can they manage to fight the federal office that also has the power to approve mergers, power boosts, and the like? I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they stick to their guns.
KSCM, the community college TV station in California that aired "The Blues: Fathers and Sons" (a PBS documentary produced by Martin Scorsese), is planning to contest the $15,000 fine they were dealt by the FCC a few weeks ago, as well. But as we all know, $15k ain't chump change for a non-commercial station, and making trouble with the FCC might not put them in a good position when they apply for their next license renewal... Check? Balance?