Media & Communications Policy

Media & Communications Policy

Issues & Developments in the Realm of Communications and Media Policy & the First Amendment

Category Archives: Content Controls

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A Court Strangely Conflicted About Indecency

Posted in Broadcast Indecency, Content Controls, FCC, First Amendment, Free speech, Media jurisprudence
By guest blogger LAURENCE H. WINER, professor of law, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Arizona State University, Tempe, Ariz. "You taught me language, and my profit on't is I know how to curse." - Caliban in The Tempest Here's a question the late language maven, William Safire, might have pondered listening to the recent Supreme Court oral argument in the Fox and ABC broadcast indecency cases. What is truly "indecent" in the normative, Webster's Third sense of the word as "not conforming to generally accepted standards of morality"… Continue Reading

‘Breaking Bad’: An Appreciation

Posted in Content Controls, Media criticism
Every once in awhile something happens in medialand that elevates and refreshes, and at least partially reclaims the enormous potential of the industry.  Media coverage of the events of 9/11 is one example, and the minor miracle that is AMC’s series "Breaking Bad" is another. For the uninitiated, who unfortunately are legion, "Breaking Bad" is … Continue Reading

Leave PBS Stations Alone

Posted in Broadcasting, Content Controls, FCC, First Amendment, Localism, Public Interest Standard
Since 1985, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) has had a policy on the books stating that its member stations must offer a “nonsectarian, nonpolitical, noncommercial educational program service.” It might be going a bit far to say that PBS has “adhered” to the policy.  Member stations routinely air presidential debates and weekly shows like “Washington … Continue Reading

Back to Square One

Posted in Broadcast Indecency, Broadcasting, Content Controls, FCC, First Amendment, Media jurisprudence, Media Regulation
Two of the Supreme Court’s decisions most awaited by First Amendment advocates this term have landed with a thud.  Or maybe a whimper.  But certainly not with a bang. On April 28, the Court upheld the FCC’s power to implement a tougher policy against so-called “fleeting expletives” on live television.  This was the Second Circuit’s … Continue Reading

Hate Speech and the First Amendment

Posted in Broadcasting, Content Controls, Fairness Doctrine, FCC, First Amendment, Free speech, Media Regulation, Radio
“If you bring up the First Amendment, you’re a racist.”  In so many words that’s the message – or threat – to anyone who would dare question the constitutionality of a proposal that the government launch an inquiry into media content.      The threat is leveled by the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) in a … Continue Reading

Shadow Debate

Posted in Broadcasting, Cable a la carte, Content Controls, Fairness Doctrine, FCC, First Amendment, Localism, Media Regulation, Public Interest Standard
By guest blogger ROBERT CORN-REVERE, partner, Davis Wright Tremaine LLC, Washington, D.C. During the presidential campaign, and particularly since the election, conservative talk radio and the blogosphere have been abuzz with rumors that the Democratic agenda would include reviving the Fairness Doctrine.  Prominent media activists have labeled such claims as fantasy and asserted they have … Continue Reading

Obama and the Media, Part I

Posted in Content Controls, Media Consolidation, Media Regulation
Writing in Broadcasting & Cable as chairman of the American Business Leadership Institute, the gifted Adonis Hoffman*       suggests that business has nothing to fear from an Obama Administration.  Some early tests of Hoffman’s thesis will come in that corner of the nation’s economy that we care about most — the media and communications sector.  … Continue Reading

Sheer Lunacy: Taxing the Technologies of Freedom

Posted in Content Controls, Digital technology, First Amendment, Free speech, Media Regulation, New Media
Imagine that someone came up with an idea to solve the “problem” of information overload (a.k.a. “too much information”) by levying a tax on the technologies that have sparked our information explosion.  Making it too expensive for many people to blog or otherwise send and receive information through digital and Internet-based technologies would not only … Continue Reading

The FCC, Indecency, and the Rule of Law

Posted in Broadcast Indecency, Content Controls, First Amendment, Media jurisprudence, Media Regulation
Call it a victory for the rule of law.  And a victory for common sense. On July 21, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit overturned the Federal Communications Commission’s fine against CBS televisions stations for airing the Janet Jackson Super Bowl incident. As you might remember, this was the so-called “wardrobe malfunction” … Continue Reading

Those “Outlaw” Television Networks?

Posted in Broadcast Indecency, Broadcasting, Content Controls, First Amendment, Media Regulation
George Carlin’s death on June 22 came only days before the 30th anniversary of what has become his legacy in Washington policy circles: The U.S. Supreme Court’s Pacifica decision. That ruling centered on Carlin’s comedy bit "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television" (commonly known as the “Seven Dirty Words” routine), and guided the … Continue Reading