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FCC Closes Review of Colbert Comments - Broadcasting & Cable

FCC Closes Review of Colbert Comments

Says nothing actionable under indecency or obscenity in Trump tirade
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Not surprisingly, the FCC has closed its review into the indecency complaints against Stephen Colbert's colorful criticisms of President Donald Trump. Though the speed with which it reached that conclusion was noteworthy.

"The FCC received thousands of complaints about the May 1 broadcast of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. Consistent with standard operating procedure, the FCC's Enforcement Bureau has reviewed the complaints and the material that was the subject of these complaints," said an FCC spokesperson. "The Bureau has concluded that there was nothing actionable under the FCC's rules."

Colbert's comments earlier this month, which included an oral sex reference and calling the President "BLOATUS," "presidunce," and "pricktator," came after 10 p.m., so would not be considered under the indecency rules, and came in the course of stinging criticism of the very public figure of a very controversial President, so would be highly unlikely to meet the much-higher bar for obscenity, which must be utterly without redeeming social importance.

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The FCC reviews complaints as a matter of course, but there was essentially no avenue for it to take any action against the CBS stations that aired the content even if it wanted to.

The conclusion that there was nothing actionable closes the review and means the FCC found nothing that its indecency rules or obscenity laws would apply to, which could have triggered a fine.

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