Friday, June 09, 2006

@#$% !@#$!@%

MSNBC.COM -- The House passed (379-35) legislation that increases indecency fines against broadcasters from $32,500 to $325,000. They suggest that if it costs $2.6 million for a 30-second Superbowl ad (or for that matter, I read yesterday that ABC can expect $625-700k per 30-second ad during Grey's Anatomy when it moves to Thursdays, even if it loses some audience) then the old fines didn't make any sense.

While I'm all for wholesome violence on TV without all that indecent flesh kept puritanically covered up (I'm being sarcastic folks), I've always thought this was somewhat a weird thing... put whatever you want on cable or satellite TV just don't put it on broadcast TV. For 70% of the country that just means that a few channels with low numbers are "safer" for your kids than if you were to go above channel 100.

But the thing that concerns me the most is individually fining CBS affiliiates for airing a show provided to them by CBS. It seems like CBS should be liable exclusively for the fines, that they failed to notice the line and set up all the affiliates for the fines. (Ironic that one of the biggest cases was against a show that raises awareness for kidnapping and missing people, paints the FBI in a really great light and features legitimate non-self-serving public service ads for real missing people.) While you might be able to completely absolve entirely the affiliates, should they all have to employ their own legal department and standards and practices team? Isn't that something they should get as part of the money they pay to be affiliates?

On the other hand, none of these broadcast networks live in a vacuum. All of them are part of a larger media conglomerate that owns cable channels. If something (as a whole, like an entire series) is too questionable for broadcast, push it up to cable. Do you really need to put Saving Private Ryan on broadcast TV? What purpose does that serve? A really intense movie interrupted by ads for toe fungus cures and low-cost car insurance. Put it on cable or let people rent it from Blockbuster.

I'm sure that this is a shortsighted and poorly thought out rambling and I'm sure Kevin will enlighten me.
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