The Federal Communications Commission’s ruling that U2 singer Bono did not violate decency rules when he uttered the F-word on a television program marks a dangerous sea change in the industry, warns a family advocacy group that has launched a campaign.
In a ruling last month, the commission effectively approved the word’s use at any hour, except in sexual situations.
Bono (Photo: Irish Times)
As WorldNetDaily reported, the FCC ruling was a response to a challenge by the Parents Television Council and more than 200 people who accused dozens of stations of violating federal restrictions when the singer said during the Golden Globe Awards in January, “this is really, really, f—— brilliant.”
The FCC said while the word may be crude and offensive, in the context in which Bono spoke, he “did not describe sexual or excretory organs or activities.”
“The Federal Communications Commission has approved the use of the ‘F’ word for use on any TV show or radio program, anytime day or night,” the American Family Association declared in a campaign to urge citizens to contact lawmakers.
“That means that real soon you will be watching a sitcom on TV, or news, or any drama or movie – any program – and it is ok! Hollywood is rejoicing!”
Songs on the radio will contain the word, and “shock jocks such as Howard Stern are now free to use any language, no matter how vile and repugnant, on their radio shows,” the group said. “And use it they will.”
In last month’s ruling, the FCC’s enforcement bureau chief, David Solomon, explained Bono used the vulgarity as an adjective or to emphasize an exclamation and that “the use of specific words, including expletives or other ‘four-letter words’ does not render material obscene.”
“We have previously found that fleeting and isolated remarks of this nature do not warrant commission action,” Solomon said.
The Los Angeles-based Parents Television Council said it plans to appeal.
“It’s not shocking to us on the FCC decision because they’re a toothless lion,” said Lara Mahaney, director of corporate and entertainment affairs for the council. “They don’t take indecency seriously and that’s why you see it proliferating on the broadcast airwaves.”
The American Family Association suggests citizens include the following text in a message urging lawmakers to take action against the FCC ruling: “The FCC has the responsibility of enforcing what constitutes decency on our nation’s airwaves. Why have they failed the American people in this responsibility? To whom is the FCC accountable?”