Media paranoia over censorship


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Ever since Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” during the Super Bowl halftime show, the media has been in the middle of a firestorm about their conduct. The incident has caused a domino effect that is still making waves, even though it’s been near two months since it all happened. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) held a summit on March 30 to discuss the growing number of complaints about the amount of “indecent” programming on the airwaves nowadays. The halftime show itself generated around 500,000 complaints. It seems that what the FCC fails to recognize, is that the media has been filled with so-called “indecent” programming for a while now. In response to all the complaints, the country’s largest radio station chain, Clear Channel Worldwide, has taken on a stricter policy for its media personalities. The person in the brunt of the regulations is shock jock Howard Stern. Stern has already been pulled from six stations that aired his nationally syndicated show. To add insult to injury, the House of Representatives approved the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2004 in early March. If passed, it would allow the FCC to fine $500,000 per violation for anyone who airs anything that is considered to be obscene. Perhaps it all started in the 50’s and Elvis Presley’s pelvis thrusting that made thousands of teenage girls swoon and adults shudder. So then if the media has been displaying crude material on air for some time now, why are they making such a big case of it now? MTV, which produced the half time show, pulled several videos from prime time rotation due to sexual content, in response to the increased media censorship. Including Britney Spears’ “Toxic” in which she sports a sparkly see through body suit, Blink-182’s video “I Miss You” was also for a make out session between two women and Maroon 5’s “This Love” due to the fact that the couple in the video is shown in some compromising positions. The videos were eventually allowed to air on the station but with alternate versions. Blink-182’s video deleted the scene with the kiss and Maroon 5’s video still has the two lovers rolling around in bed but the exposed skin has been replaced with strategically palced flower petals while they’re rolling in the bed. With the stricter regulations that the FCC has on the media, it seems obvious that MTV would be more timid when airing such explicit material but then again, MTV has aired indecent footage on their channel before, for example when Madonna and Britney shared a kiss during the 2003 Video Music Awards — that didn’t cause such a negative reaction. Also, Britney wore a bodysuit similar to the one in “Toxic” during the 2000 VMAs. Doesn’t anyone remember her performance of “Oops…I Did it Again?” Why weren’t those performances cited as being offensive even though they showed the same material that is now being deemed offensive?The point is that if you don’t like what the programming on television is like then don’t watch it. You might not necessarily listen to Howard Stern in the morning but at least you know that you have the choice to either listen to what he has to say or not. Stern should have the right to say whatever he wants due to freedom of speech under the First Amendment. For those people who are complaining about the content of entertainment that’s now airing, just use the remote control to either turn the television off or change the channel. No one is forcing anyone to watch the programs that are on air. People should decide for themselves what they want to watch.