Monday, March 01, 2004

The hypocrisy of the indecency backlash

Michael Hiltzick has a nice piece (surprisingly biting) in this morning's LA Times highlighting the utter hypocrisy in Clear Channel's dropping of Howard Stern (from their feigned surprise at the questionable material on the show to the fact that since Viacom and not CC are the main airers of the show they have little to lose by cutting him loose) as well as that of Michael Powell (who actively subverts regulation of the truly indecent mega-conglomeration of media companies and who won't acknowledge the relationship between this issue and the issue of standards, etc. in broadcast media).

"Still, Clear Channel's two-step is nothing compared with the fake piety exhibited by the man who probably bears the most responsibility for setting broadcast tastelessness loose on the public: FCC Chairman Michael K. Powell. A commissioner since 1997 and chairman since 2001, Powell was fast off the mark after the Super Bowl, complaining the very next day about the outrage perpetrated upon him when, "like millions of Americans, my family and I gathered around the television for a celebration."

Leaving aside the question of what Powell thought he was celebrating by viewing the single most overhyped and commercialized event in American entertainment — The U.S. snack food industry? The principle of monopoly control of sports leagues? The decline of pop music? — the trends that have launched a thousand fulminating press releases are largely the result of his own agency's servile regulation of the ever more concentrated broadcasting industry."

Link: After Janet Jackson's Prank, the Truly Indecent Behavior (free registration required)


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