Congress Urged to 'Clean House' at FCC Over Profanity Ruling

By Melanie Arter | July 7, 2008 | 8:04 PM EDT

(Editor's Note: The following contains references to language the reader may find offensive.)

( - A pro-family group is calling on Congress to "clean house" at the FCC. The demand follows the FCC's ruling in October that the "f-word" does not violate the commission's obscenity standards.

The issue took on new life this month, after unbleeped and unedited profanities, including the f-word, were broadcast live to the East Coast on the Billboard Music Awards program.

Focus on the Family's appeal to clean house at the FCC came after Nicole Richie, star of the Fox TV reality show "The Simple Life," used the words "cowsh-t" and "f---ing" during a live version of the Billboard awards show last week. The words were bleeped on West Coast feeds.

"This latest assault on American families is just another indication that the FCC does not take its job seriously," said Tom Minnery, vice president of public policy for Focus on the Family, in a statement Friday.

"Each year, TV broadcasters grow bolder and bolder, but the FCC acts as if nothing is happening. The Enforcement Bureau has become like Nero, playing his fiddle as Rome burns," Minnery said.

The FCC issued its controversial ruling on the f-word in October, after family groups filed a complaint over last year's Golden Globe Awards, in which performer Bono used the profanity.

The ruling stated that the word did "not describe or depict sexual or excretory activities and organ...[O]ffensive language used as an insult rather than as a description of sexual or excretory activity or organs is not within the scope of the Commission's prohibition of indecent program content."

"We feared that [the October] ruling would open the floodgates to a further coarsening and degradation of the nation's airwaves, and what happened Wednesday confirms those fears," Minnery said.

"It's clear that the FCC is completely ignoring its mandate to protect Americans from broadcast indecency. There is a total breakdown in standards. Congress needs to clean house at the FCC and remove those responsible immediately," Minnery added.

Minnery called on the public to flood the FCC with calls and emails to demand the reversal of the ruling and to investigate the "Billboard Music Awards" broadcast. He also encouraged Americans to contact their U.S. senators and ask them to initiate hearings on the FCC's lack of indecency enforcement.

See Earlier Story:
FCC Ruling on 'F-Word' Fires up Pro-Family Groups (Nov. 18, 2003)

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