Even as the Federal Communications Comission is preparing, by all accounts, to issue a record fine against CBS over the Janet Jackson incident that so exercised legislators, regulators and family values groups, a study is being prepared for release Thursday that is expected to suggest that the general public doesn't share their sentiment.
"Looking back on it now, how concerned are parents about the Janet Jackson Super Bowl incident that has sparked so much national debate?," is how the survey question was raised by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser was being tight-lipped about the result, but sources with knowledge of the study suggest that, by and large, the public isn't overly concerned, and certainly not as apoplectic as the post-Janet crackdown would suggest.
The 18-frame, less-than-a-second flash resulted in congressional hearings, regulatory changes, and self-censorship among some of the nation's biggest media companies.
The 500,000-plus e-mails the FCC got complaining about the Jackson/Justin Timberlake Super Bowl reveal has been pointed to by FCC commissioners as evidence of a broad-based public outcry, but activist group Parent's Television Council has taken credit for hundreds of thousands of those complaints, the product of an orchestrated e-mail drive.
The Kaiser study will also provide results on whether respondents want regulation on TV violence and food ads, and whether they actually use the V-chip or TV ratings that are mandated in all new TV's.
The FCC is currently taking comments on whether and how to regulate TV violence and the Kaiser Study is expected to be included in those comments.