As I mentioned previously, the House passed legislation this week increasing the fines that can be levied against broadcasters for indecent material. [This article] from the Times provides a great illustration of the effects this sort of thing can have. Frontline, WGBH’s excellent series, has produced a documentary about a US Army regiment in Baghdad. Apparently, the soldiers featured in the documentary do a good deal of swearing as they go about their business of fighting insurgents prior to the recent elections.
The House of Representatives passed a bill yesterday that would allow for fines of up to $500,000 to be levied against broadcasters who show/play “indecent” material. This bill is, of course, intended to protect innocent, freedom-loving Americans from the horrors of sexuality and rough language being forced upon them by the Evil Media. From the linked Washington Post article: The bill, sponsored by Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), not only would increase the maximum fine by more than a factor of 10, it would also allow the FCC to raise the penalty it can levy on performers who commit indecent acts from $11,000 to $500,000.
So Michael Powell has announced that he will be stepping down as head of the Federal Communications Commission at the end of March. In case you’re unfamiliar, Powell is the son of Colin Powell, and has been chairman of the FCC for the last four years. Before that, he served as a commissioner for three years, having been appointed by then-President Bill Clinton. I find Powell (a Republican) to be a perfect case-study in the contradictions within the modern conservative movement.