Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Hey, Look, It's $550,000

Does anyone else wonder what will become of the $550,000 fine that CBS paid for Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction”?

Seriously—where does that money go? Do they write a check to the FCC? And if so, what does the FCC do with it?

Does it go toward the national debt? Does it get placed into a fund that will be used to educate the public about the dangers of exposing one’s breasts on national television? Does it go toward the FCC operating budget or does it go to their year-end holiday party?

I sent an email to the FCC asking this very question, without the snarkiness. I simply said “I’m curious—where does that money go?”

I haven’t heard back yet, but I’m sure they’re busy up there, fielding complaints from people who can’t tear themselves away from the shows that offend them most. But I want to know where the money goes because I want to know who benefits from this fine.

More specifically, who has the right to benefit from this fine?

Let’s face it: In a live broadcast, anything can happen. CBS had no idea what Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson had cooked up for the grand finale of their lame-ass halftime extravaganza. CBS didn’t replay the wardrobe malfunction over and over, didn’t call undue attention to it, didn’t pat themselves on the back for finding a way to show a tit on TV. I don’t see how the broadcasters of a live event can possibly be held liable for the actions of people over whom they have no control.

And that’s why I wonder where the money goes. The FCC is saying “You owe us $550,000 for not preventing something you didn’t anticipate and couldn’t have prevented.” On the streets this is known as a shakedown. It’s theft. And even though CBS is a gigantic media conglomerate with deep pockets, I hate to see them or anyone else get hosed by a government agency flying the flag of “decency.”

Oh Wait, There's More

+ I have no idea why I was watching that particular Super Bowl halftime show. The remote must have been just out of reach or something, because history shows that if you try counting the number of entertaining Super Bowl halftime shows, you’ll be lucky to find IV of them. But yeah, I saw it happen, and though I’ll admit that the incident was indecent in the strictest sense of the word, that’s not the word that came to mind. I thought creepy described it better.

1 comment:

Arthur Dent said...

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