FCC to Ban Announcers from Saying “Redskins?” Have They Thought This Through? (NSFW)

Doesn’t the F.C.C. or Federal Communication Commission have something better to do like attempt to save the dying AM radio band?

george_carlin

George Carlin

Good grief.  The late comic George Carlin is rolling in his grave.  Remember his “7 Dirty Words You Can’t Say on TV?”  That case went to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The F.C.C. is now considering whether to punish broadcasters for saying the word “Redskins,” making it the eighth dirty word, adding it to “shit,” “piss,” “fuck,” “cunt,” “cocksucker,” “motherfucker” and “tits!” This from George Carlin’s famous “7 Dirty Words” comedy routine.

F.C.C. Chairman Tom Wheeler said, “There are a lot of names and descriptions that were used over time that are inappropriate today.  And I think the name that is attributed to the Washington football club is one of those.”

So I thought, “Darryl.  What does that First Amendment of the Bill of Rights say?”

 

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

 

Of course when number one of the Bill of Rights was written, there was no F.C.C. and the agency isn’t mentioned, but since F.C.C. commissioners are approved to serve by Congress they are a de facto arm of Congress.  Prohibiting the use of the word “Redskins” is against your constitutional rights, broadcaster or not.

This issue stems from a petition received by the F.C.C. asking the commission to take away the broadcast license of WWXX-FM for using the word “Redskins.”  WWXX-FM is owned by Red Zebra Broadcasting, which is a business of Daniel Snyder owner of the Washington “Redskins.”  In the petition it’s said using “Redskins” is “akin to broadcasting obscenity.”  The petitioner wants the license pulled when it’s up for renewal.

The Supreme Court has previously ruled for a word to be considered obscene it must meet the following “three-pronged” criteria.

 

  • An average person, applying contemporary community standards, must find that the material, as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest;

  • The material must depict or describe, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by applicable law; and

  • The material, taken as a whole, must lack serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.

 

The first two are out, but I guess with a very broad definition one could argue the third point, of banning or not banning the word “Redskins.”

The F.C.C. can also decide the word “Redskins” is indecent, which would mean it’s a bad word, but can still be used during so-called “safe harbor” broadcast hours between 10pm and 6am, when the chance of children listening or watching is thought to be low.

Other questions come to mind too!

The F.C.C. would be banning the use of the word “Redskins” in association with the Washington NFL team.  Ironically, I live in the community of Anderson Township, Ohio, where one of the high school football teams is nicknamed “Redskins” as in Anderson “Redskins.”  Will TV and radio stations be at risk when mentioning this team as well?

The F.C.C. has governance of bad words broadcast on over-the-air radio and TV stations.  But, not cable and satellite services.  So would the word be banned from games broadcast on CBS and FOX for example, but not ESPN?  That hardly seems fair.  And what’s the fine?  Right now the fine for saying a bad word is $325,000 per occurrence.  If a broadcaster is found to have transmitted the word “fuck,” for example, and fined that’s a hefty penalty for the licensee.

Cleveland_Indians

What about all the other words that may be offensive to people of race and ethnicity?  If “Redskins” is banned can the banning of the Cleveland “Indians” be far behind?  What about the Kansas City “Chiefs?”  The Chicago “Blackhawks?”  What about the “Fighting Illini” of Illinois?  What the “Fighting Irish” of Notre Dame?  You know how those Irish can be after a few shots of Jameson Whiskey.

I’m guessing F.C.C. Chairman Wheeler hasn’t thought this one entirely through.

The F.C.C. has no business sticking its nose in and telling a private business, one not governed by the agency – in this case a professional football team, how it’s to operate.  This is what the F.C.C. is attempting to do through side channels, in this case broadcasters.  The F.C.C. is overstepping its authority and persecuting one business, while ignoring others operating in the same manner and fashion (i.e. “Blackhawks”).

The Washington “Redskins” are a private business and their customers and fans will ultimately be the ones to determine if the team changes its nickname or not.  This is not for the F.C.C. or “Big Brother’s” involvement.

The marketplace will determine the outcome as consumers speak with their dollars.  That’s what a “capitalistic” economy stands for.  A free marketplace to succeed or fail on one’s own.

In 1980, the Pekin, Illinois high school nickname was changed to the Dragons from the “Chinks.”  Get it?  The “Pekin Chinks?”  The name was changed after a Chinese-American group from Chicago found the name offensive.  Who can deny their point?

Famed, former and now dead Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen, who was from Pekin, is said to have stayed true to his alma mater from the grave.  They say, “He was born a Chink, he died a Chink; he’s known around the world as a Chink.”  He died in 1969, so those who speak for him don’t really know.

Pekin_Chinks

 A message to Daniel Snyder, owner of the Washington “Redskins.”  “Chinks” is unavailable.

 

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  2 comments for “FCC to Ban Announcers from Saying “Redskins?” Have They Thought This Through? (NSFW)

  1. October 1, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    Reblogged this on artversnick and commented:
    Is this all we have to “worry” about, today? WTH! (can’t say WTF)

  2. October 1, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    The new “R-word”

    The devil is not in the details regarding the FCC Redskins issue.

    The devil is in the premise that government should limit free speech on public property (the airwaves).

    The five political appointees of the FCC always have flexed their muscle regarding what, otherwise, free citizens are allowed to say and hear.

    That, is the problem, no matter what anyone thinks of “Redskins,” “Anal Ring Toss,” or wardrobe “malfunctions.”

    We Libertarians believe people can, and should, think for themselves.

    The, now, eight dirty words are not as offensive as are the arbiters of good taste; each Lady Church at the FCC.

    DV

    PS They can have my Santa Cruz Banana Slug, when they pry it from my cold, slimy hands.

    (or something)

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