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June 14, 2006



Amazing! You need standing to sue in a court of law, but apparently no injury or causation is necessary to file a complaint with the FCC (other than perhaps the nagging concern that somewhere someone is doing something naughty).

And with the passage of the new anti-indecency legislation, does that mean CBS would have been fined $33 million had the scene aired last week?


Regardless of the legalities of the complaint that clip is pretty obscene for broadcast television.

I wouldn't want my nephew seeing it; without the experience to frame the context it could lead to a seriously unhealthy picture of sex.


that clip is totally over the line ofr prime time tv. they deserve the fin in my opinion.


Johnny, while I disagree on the obscenity of the clip, I agree that I wouldn't want any kids watching it, either. However, Without a Trace isis on a weeknight at 10pm, at least on the West Coast. What kind of irresponsible adult would let their kids watch *any* tv that late on a school night?


I watched the clip and though it was tastefully created within its context. Why are people so afraid of sex (especially Americans) and insist on dictating what other people should watch and should not watch? It's usually the people who have the biggest problem with sex that end up being the most perverted freaks anyway.


I don't see anything indecent. South Park is on comedy central every night, has anybody ever watched that? This is softer stuff than what's on MTV every hour.

Listener James from Westwood

Liz, thanks a ton for these FCC updates. At a party this weekend, I was able to give a rundown of the current, standardless state of the FCC's definition and enforcement of indecency to a roomful of my friends. After I finished, I realized how much I had learned from these posts. I also mentioned during my spiel that I had wished I had used the FOIA to secure the letter that had resulted in one recent indecency report (the one re: The Simpsons in which Smithers, cornered by two strippers, cowers before their generous moneymakers), just to see the thought processes of these anonymous, easily offended correspondents. Now I wonder if the writer had even seen the ep. Interesting. . . .



Did CBS conduct a poll of the complaint emails that they received, asking if the submitters had watched the program? Their claim that "virtually no one watched the program" is based on the fact that 2 people specifically wrote in and said that they watched the program. Why do they automatically assume that the rest of the submitters didn't watch the clip in question?

I, for one, actually watched that episode of "Without A Trace." When the sex orgy scene came on, I was disappointed that the show had to stoop to that level, and turned the channel. I though the scene was offensive and inappropriate for broadcast television.

Repeat: I saw the scene when it was broadcast.

I use the AFA email alerts to easily make a complaint to the FCC. In this case, I didn't specifically mention that I had scene the original airing of the show -- why does this make my claim invalid? Why does CBS assume that I didn't watch the show?

When I filled out the AFA email form, I watched the clip again to verify that it was the same episode that I had previously started watching.


First of all I didn't see any nudity or nonconsenual activity in that clip so I don't know what the fuss is about. But assuming people *are* offended by the idea of other people kissing and touching each other, I would just change the channel. If you are *really* upset then make a statement by not watching the show ever again.

Parent's who let their kids watch TV late at night need to be prepared to talk to their kids about what they see. I would much rather have my child see that scene so I can engage her in a constructive dialog about sex than have her watch the mindless, senseless violence that permeates many TV shows. If I did feel it my duty to meddle, I would start my censorship with those.


The "sex" participants looked pretty healthy. Grow up, America, if people can have sex then they will -- no matter how precious you imagine they are.


Im amazed that people get so uptight about a scene depicting a sexual act that appears to be consential, but yet they are quite happy for the most amazingly gratuitous scenes of violence to be shown.


Get real - it was pretty lame stuff. If you are really that up tight about a little group ogling and foreplay, please stay home and don't breed. There are enough up tight assholes already.

Besides which, this is TELEVISION FOR ADULTS. Which is why it is on at 10 PM. If your kids are watching TV at 10pm, you are a fuck up of a parent, and don't try blaming the idiot box for not doing your job for you.

If I had to choose between round the clock orgies on television and american idol, I'd have to pick orgies. When you watch "idol" you are deriving your entertainment out of the humiliation of others, and you are more of a degraded, debased scumbag for enjoying Simon Cowell rip some poor schmuck a new one than watching attractive young people getting it on. If you think otherwise, you are seriously and permanently fucked. If it weren't for a healthy appetitite for sex, our species would be a long forgotten footnote in our planet's history.


The only thing I'd object to about that clip is the inclusion of alcohol. Teenagers having orgies totally sober -- presumably aware of the risks, consequences, et al involved -- I would feel much more comfortable allowing my own hypothetical hellbrats to view. Teenagers doing stupid shit like having sex parties under the influence? There's no way I'd want my kid thinking that was acceptable.

But it's not like that scene's without context, so I don't get what the big deal is. Isn't the show already tv-rated as containing adult content, like violence and sexual situations? I've seen worse things in L&O: SVU.

n. nescio

So they had an alcohol-fueled orgy in that episode? *So what?* Did you never drink when you were under-age? Guess what, that's what lots of teenagers do. That's reality.

If I had children, and they saw that on TV, I'd probably be more interested in explaining the dangers of involving alcohol in sexual activity to my kids than covering their eyes because god forbid they see what most everybody does anyway.

Honestly, I'm getting the feeling that most of the meddlers who flood the FCC with the web-complaints are more interested in denying reality than having to be responsible parents and either explain to their children what they're seeing, or (boy this one's really hard, too) CHANGE THE *BLEEP*ing CHANNEL!!

If what you see on television is SO horrific to you and your children, then change the channel and don't ever watch the show again. It's not like watching TV is good for kids anyway....many of the parents I know refuse to let their children spend their youths in front of the television, and their kids certainly seem the better/smarter for it. Grow up, be a responsible parent, and GET OVER IT. sheesh.


I am guessing that the right wingers were more upset that there was a
mixture of black skin and white skin touching than they were over the
actual sex. I really hate racism hiding behind religion and politics.

I think if you didn't watch it, dont' complain... which means no one
should ever complain because if you don't like the show...
CHANGE THE STATION.... I'm sure there is some sermon going on somwhere.


Oh dear! They used a dramatic device to tell a story! Oh my! Oh goodness!

I am so sick and tired of the twisted prudes that call themselves Christians in this country. Why don't you all just go join your brethren, the Taliban?

Why must you constantly attempt to impose your so-called beliefs on others. Why don't you just live your "good Christian" lives and go to your heaven, and let others live their lives.

Jesus hates you, you hypocrites.


i think it is a telling fact that the voices in here who said that they believed that the clip was offensive have now been asked not to breed, had a littany of insults thrown at them and their intelligence questioned.
...and i thought the only children were the ones in the clip.

its an underage orgy on network tv. people have a legitimate grievance about it.
especially since the scenes lingered on and on with gratuitous shots of the sexual conduct. my opinon(and others) that the fine is warranted is a legitmate point of view.

the shape

Am I correct in reading that this program aired at 10pm, the FCC states on it's website that the hours between 10pm and 6am are "Safe Harbor", you can show indecent material at that time. I'm surprised people want todays media to be even blander than it already is.


This is why the TV industry is doomed to extinction. Eventually it will become so bland that the networks will be unwatchable, and therefore they will go out of business.

I'd like to think that these jerks would get their comeuppance then - because there would be nothing for them to watch at that point - but unfortunately, they all most likely have cable.

Still, people should get a life. It's not like I complain when that Joker dude in his cristal cathedral comes on independant stations; and I find his subject matter highly offensive.


All the fines were against stations where it aired before 10pm. The FCC still respects the "safe harbor" between 10pm and 6am.

And it is ridiculous to compare the Christian right to the Taliban, they don't have the right beards and turbans.

John Bergman

I personally feel that what the FCC did was RIGHT. CBS and Without A Trace shouldn't have stoop that low to show an actual orgy, whether it's implied or not. I'm sorry, but even though I believe A story on risky sexual behavior between teenagers shouldn't be censored, it could've been told without showing that scene. Yes, I am a Christian and NO, I'm not uptight, but there should be some taste and some decorum when doing controversial subjects like this. However, sadly, American TV is going in the way of British and some Canadian TV in their pushing the envelope of good taste. SOme of the people who have said about us getting a life and go listen to a sermon should think about this: Would you let a whole bunch of people come into your house, take off their clothes and have freaky sex in front of you. I HOPE NOT.


Hey John, I think you are uptight. You sound puritanical. You could keep those people with bad taste, pushing the envelope, out of your living room by CHANGEING THE CHANNEL. Why do so many people who are all messed up on the Lord want to spoil the fun of everyone who doesn't share their delusions?

Also, please explain the harm in letting people come into my house and have freaky sex in front of me....

Franklin Strum

Actually, no CBS can not show that. You guys forget it showed actual minors depicted in sex. The Protection act and Supreme Court decision said that even depictions of sex (simulated sex) is against the law. Now if they chose to use adults (above 18) it probably would have not been such a big deal. So the fine was appropriate though I believe criminal charges should have been brought.

Franklin Strum

Jeff admitted he was a pedo...

Jeff's statement

"spoil the fun of everyone who doesn't share their delusions?

Also, please explain the harm in letting people come into my house and have freaky sex in front of me...."

This is considering the girls were actually underage and he wants to see the fun and have them do freaky sex in front of him.

Jeff you big pedo....

nice ass

i do not agree with franklin

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