Violent programming should be added to the Federal Communications
Commission's list of restricted programming, commissioner Michael Copps told
"We should consider excessive violence as part of the definition" of indecent
programming limited by government rules, he said.
He noted that although the FCC never sanctions stations for airing violent
programming, Congress ordered the agency to restrict obscene, profane or indecent
"It's time for us to step up to the plate and tackle the wanton violence our
kids are served up every day. Compelling arguments have been made that excessive
violence is every bit as indecent, profane and obscene as anything else that's
broadcast," he said.
Copps -- who has repeatedly beat the drum against what he considers lax
enforcement of the FCC's indecency restrictions -- issued his latest edict the
morning after CBS aired the Victoria Secret lingerie fashion show. He said
he'd received 250 electronic-mailed complaints by Thursday morning.
Copps mused whether media consolidation isn't driving the increasing violence
and raunch on TV. "It's kind of an intuitive conclusion," he said, speculating
that conglomerates make decisions for Wall Street and Madison Avenue primarily to
boost ad revenue, whereas local owners might be more willing to consider needs of
local audiences. "More and more programming decisions are made by folks with
advertisers' interest at heart. We really need to see if this rising tide of
consolidation doesn't have an impact on the amount of indecent programming," he said.
Indecent programming is banned between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., when children are
likely to be in the audience. Obscene programming is never permitted.