Congresswoman Wishes FCC Chairman Had Watched His Language

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When an appeals court decision last month kneecapped the FCC’s policy on fleeting profanities, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin made a point of uttering recurring profanities in his statement responding to the ruling.

The point wasn’t lost on Rep. Anne Eshoo (D-Calif.). But she wishes Martin, who normally isn’t one to cuss publicly, had been less explicit in venting his outrage.

During an FCC oversight hearing of the House Telecommunications & Internet Subcommittee last week, Eshoo chided the chairman for the statement, in which he repeated the offending words “fuck” and “shit” nine times.

According to an Eshoo staffer, the congresswoman offered a “gentle suggestion” that the statement, which is archived on the FCC Website, either be cleaned up or re-moved. “It was unbecoming of the FCC and could easily have been redacted,” says the staffer.

“We understand the impact of this language,” says FCC spokesman Clyde Ensslin. “That’s what the Second Circuit case was about. These are words that parents react to when they hear them on television in primetime when they are not expecting to.”

As it turns out, some Hill staffers had been looking to make a point of their own. According to both a veteran communications attorney and a committee source, the staffers considered trying to get Martin to read the statement aloud, epithets and all, during the hearing. In the end, however, decency prevailed.

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