Stern isn't the only thorn in the FCC's paw. Bush's conservative agenda has spawned several new definitions of what indecent means, resulting in tons of FCC battles.
Talk Queen's Salad Tossed
America's talkshow sweetheart, Oprah Winfrey, has caused people to ask the FCC to "ban free speech forever" due to a recent episode of hers that included discussions of oral anal sex. Angry viewers sent more than 1,600 letters complaining about the March 18 show, demanding that Winfrey be cited for indecency—even though the show had originally aired Oct. 2, 2003—before The Breast invaded the Super Bowl. Ironically, FCC Enemy No. 1, Howard Stern, is using his Web site to urge viewers to complain about Winfrey, who was not punished for her explanation of such sexual acts as "tossing one's salad" and a "rainbow party."
Pro Bono? The FCC Isn't.
U2 frontman Bono is also on the FCC Most Wanted list recently. After Bono said "This is really, really, f—ing brilliant" on the Golden Globes last year, the FCC ruled that NBC did not deserve punishment because Bono's usage did not describe a sexual act. Though the Parents' Television Council did not react originally to Bono's expletive, it began protesting six months later—an act that caused the FCC to overturn its first decision. After revisiting the Bono case this past March, the FCC declared that the F-word, and possibly any euphemisms that suggest the F-word, can be punished with major fines or license revocations. Several small companies, as well as larger corporations Viacom and Fox, have joined entertainers to fight the FCC's decision.
Got the Blues
Even 10 o'clock dramas, which are outside of FCC policing radar, are now being targeted. Years after it first began using the word "bullsh*t" on its show, NYPD Blue began to feel the FCC crackdown. The show's creator Stephen Bochco said in an interview with the Hollywood Republic, "[We began using the word 'bullsh*t'] not gratuitously, but in character. We received not a single phone call." The FCC's new indecency rules have forced ABC to eliminate both sex scenes and uses of words like bullsh*t in shows like "NYPD Blue.