When I drove in Tuesday morning there was a story on the radio about a traffic tie-up because of a widescreen TV on the side of the road.
I knew TV had a large impact on my life. I just didn't know it was going to be on my morning commute.
It was a strange start to a day that had already had a curious preamble.
The night before, as I was preparing to leave the office, I got an FCC filing e-mailed to me. It was a request to a New York appeals court to throw out CBS' opposition to the FCC's recent request for a remand of a prior ruling–on several cases of broadcast profanity.
If anyone is still awake, I will continue.
I debated whether to check it out or leave quickly before the news once again prompted that call so familiar to all journalists with families. "You know how I said I would be home in about a half hour, well….
Well….I started reading, and what to my wondering eyes should appear on page five but my own name. "See John Eggerton," it said, and a little later on, "Exhibit 1." Well, I would have rather been Exhibit A, which has a more iconic ring to it, more Perry Mason-ish to be exact, but being Exhibit 1 in a motion before a federal appeals court had an imposing sound to it, too, and a little intimidating.
This document had my attention.
Turns out the FCC was arguing that CBS had violated the court's confidentiality agreement in the network's motion to the court, which I had written on. The FCC had not commented on the allegations in the motion for my story–they are pretty tight with a quote or a response over there–but now I knew why.
In the FCC filing, the commission said it could not comment because it was honoring the confidentiality agreement, and that it was unfair that stories like mine were allowed to hang out there unaddressed because the commission was playing by the rules and CBS wasn't.
I'm not sure how it will all play out. The court has delayed starting to hear the case until it finishes hearing from various parties in these dueling motions to delay and to press forward, but I may start bylining my stories "Exhibit 1."
As Pig Pen said of carrying around with him dirt that might have been trod upon by Alexander the Great: "Kind of makes you want to treat me with a little more respect, doesn't it?"
OK, maybe it doesn't.
By John Eggerton