Broadcasters can breathe a sigh -- make that a half-sigh -- of relief.
Despite fulminations and promises to hammer indecency on TV and radio, odds are better than 50/50 now that Congress won’t do anything this year.
Why? Because of breaks for upcoming political conventions and the presidential election, Congress has little more than a month of working days left.
That’s not much time to remove hurdles stalling the legislation, which would hike indecency fines to $1 million.
The main obstacle is Sen. John Sununu, R-N.H., who is holding up a Senate vote until a provision blocking the FCC’s relaxation of media ownership rules is removed.
There's also a fight over a measure targetting TV violence.
Early on, House Telecommunications Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), one of the indecency crackdown's architects, warned that as the bill got loaded down, its chances for passage grew slimmer.
Unless the provisions' sponsors cave in soon, the anti-indecency fight will fizzle, at least in the Congress. The FCC continues to pursue profanity, regardless of context, a rule change most broadcasters are openly fighting.