The Blog


This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

I know that I need to learn not to do what I am about to do:

First, I will engage in a mostly irrelevant digression.

It was thirty odd years ago when at a dinner party a lawyer I was sitting next to told me of his worst nightmare. The world had ended and the only two people still living were he and his landlord. He had leased 30,000 square feet and the landlord kept hounding him every day for the rent.

I have my own nightmare that 50 years from now when most of the world has been destroyed, a 90 something year old Kevin Martin, still the FCC Chairman will be watching broadcast television to ensure that there are no breasts, or behinds shown before 10PM.

The Federal Communications Commission reported a few weeks ago that it planned to fine the ABC Television network $1.4 million for airing an episode of "NYPD Blue" in 2003 that showed a side view of a woman's bare buttocks.

The ever vigilant FCC said it was seeking $27,500 for each of 52 stations in the Central and Mountain time zones that aired the scene in the 9 to 10 p.m. time slot in violation of federal restrictions against broadcasting "obscene material" between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.

The FCC said it received "numerous complaints" about the scene, in which a young boy walks in on a nude woman about to take a shower.

Unreliable reports at the time indicated that emergency rooms were flooded with minors having been traumatized by the scene, and continue to suffer from the traumatic event. A bill has been introduced in congress that will force violators of the FCC rules concerning content to pay for the therapy of all children under 18 that have been traumatized by this event, or any other similar violations of the FCC rulings.

Stations in the Eastern and Pacific zones won't be fined because they aired the episode in the 10 to 11 p.m. slot, local time.

Since half the country watched the rerun in the forbidden slot, before 10 PM, and the other, un-fined half, watched in the permissible time period-after 10 PM, an examination of the affect on young minds between the two areas should reveal in definitive detail, the causative damage ascribable (if any) to the impact of a side view of a bare ass on the vulnerable and malleable minds of our young citizens.

ABC said in a statement that it had broadcast the episode and others from the police drama, which ran from 1993 to 2005, with appropriate parental warnings and with V-chip-enabled program ratings when they were available.

"ABC feels strongly that the FCC's finding is inconsistent with prior precedent from the commission, the indecency statute and the 1st Amendment," network spokeswoman Julie Hoover said.

"The law is simple," FCC Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate said. "If a broadcaster makes the decision to show indecent programming, it must air between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. This is neither difficult to understand nor burdensome to implement."

From the definition of "hypocritical" is:
a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, esp. a person whose actions belie stated beliefs.
a person who feigns some desirable or publicly approved attitude, esp. one whose private life, opinions, or statements belie his or her public statements.
If I had the opportunity to ask Commissioner Tate about this, I would direct her to the following paragraph:

A representative of our government that has engaged in three major wars in the last 50 or so years that have killed or maimed MILLIONS has the temerity of calling the depiction of a "BARE ASS" before 10 PM or after 6AM INDECENT?

The FCC said it received "numerous complaints" about the scene..." This to me is no way to run a regulatory group. Good grief! Numerous complaints:

I have complained to the FCC as have tens of thousands of others that the stations owned by the four broadcast networks do not fulfill their obligation to serve in the "public interest convenience, and necessity." This abdication of their requirements in this area is OK with FCC Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate and at least two of her associates, yet an unintended obscenity or bare ass on television (before 10PM) is not.

I would write more on the subject but I need to get to my "Sensitivity Training Class" on time this week.

From time to time I find the actions of the FCC somewhere adjacent to silly, ludicrous, and frightening.

Years ago I debated the President of Morality In Media, and I asked if he objected to the broadcast of certain words and pictures, or did he fundamentally object to "...the very existence of the words and pictures, and what do you think he said in his answer?

Norman Horowitz

Popular in the Community