Stern v. fcc

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's February 2008

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Stern v. FCC Love him or hate him, Howard Stern is the "King of all Media". In twenty controversial years of radio, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has fined Howard Stern a sum of some 1.7 million dollars. The FCC has been trying to curtail Howard Stern's free speech rights and they should not be. On several events (mostly early in the show's history) Howard Stern has used language that was considered "vulgar" and "inappropriate"(FCC). However, Howard Stern uses these "vulgarities" to make a point and not for show. So Howard Stern should not be banned or censored on account of his radio show.

In referring to the case of The FCC v. Pacifica Foundation, the FCC was granted the "power to regulate radio broadcasts that are indecent but not obscene"(essay). What does this mean exactly? According to the government it means that the FCC can only regulate broadcasts.

They cannot censor broadcasts, that is determine what is offensive in the matters of speech (essay). Pacifica was a radio station that in 1978 aired a twelve-minute monologue by comedian George Carlin. This twelve-minute monologue called "Filthy Words" consisted of, according to Carlin, 'words you couldn't say on the public airwaves' (qtd in essay). This caused one of the most controversial cases in the history of broadcasting. It would then set the standard of what could and could not be said on radio.

It is clear that much of the Stern content is outside of the example of disallowed content embodied in the Pacifica ruling. On the other hand, the vagueness of the precedent may mean that some or all of Stern's talk is legally "indecent". Like their 1973 definition of "obscene" content (which included seven cuss words), the Supreme Court has refused to issue a definition of "indecent" content that articulates clear boundaries and is not.

These seven cuss words are also in Stern's breech of contract, but these were never purposely used on air in any of his radio shows.

This vagueness in the ruling puts a dent in our rights as citizens to free speech. We should all be offended with this ruling, for it shows how the government is slowly taking away our freedoms.

Many people still support Howard weather on radio or TV. Former New York senator Al Domato, stated that, " "(Fortune 10 ). While the people of Time magazine and The Nation also give their support to Howard's talk show (Sloman 224-225). Stern also got support from some of his "nemesis"(Sloman 28), also a radio personality Imus, "Now, it's also clear to that Stern should be able to say what ever he likes. No matter what puddle of putrescence he happens to be wallowing in at the moment…If every time some slug says something that offends us we are thrown into wild expurgatory paroxysms then let's just repeal the first amendment right now and be done with it. And please, spare me the 'my kids might listen' rap because that's why they make radios with dials." Howard Stern should not be censored because it is against our freedom of speech, and it is against everything we fought for as a country.