FCC Again Rejects Tribune's "Fleeting Commercialism' Defense


For a second time, the FCC has told Tribune that the fleeting visual profanity precedent does not apply to a brief glimpse of the name of a character from a kids show if it appears in a commercial for a show that features that character.

It is the cursed GameBoy E-Reader ad that has come back to bite numerous stations.

In a notice of apparent liability Friday against Tribune's KTLA Los Angeles, the FCC proposed fining the station $20,000 for 14 separate violations of the FCC's limits on ad time in kids shows, seven of which violations were so-called program-length commercials. All of those were because of the ad for the E-Reader (one WB network spots, 6 local spots) that aired in the Pokemon show, which no longer airs, on The WB network, which no longer exists.

The ad showed the letters "MON" in a fleeting glimpse of a Pokemon card that featured no images of any of the characters, said Tribune. Nonetheless, the FCC has consistently found that that glimpse turns the entire Pokemon show into an ad for the GameBoy.

Just last week, the FCC proposed a $23,000 fine on two Tribune stations for airing the ad.. Tribune in all three cases asserted that the fleeting "MON" did not violate the rules becuase the FCC had found in an earlier indecency complaint that the phrase "Fuck Cops" on the side of a train that showed up in an episode of Amazing Race 6 was not indecent.

The FCC found in all three cases that the indecency decision was not germane because it did not deal with the "comingling of program content and commercial matter in kids shows."