Wednesday, February 11, 2004

CALM YOURSELVES DOWN: We're sorry to return once more to Ms Jackson, but NFL and Viacom execs are going to be dragged up to Capitol Hill to be shot ("to explain themselves.") There's a growing wind of faux-outrage being worked up as every two-bit right-wing group sees that this could be the button to press to ensure that newsreaders always wear ties in the future/there won't be any more of that punk music on the radio anymore/ABC will change its name to Jesus Loves You: "CBS gave everyone on the FCC, everyone in Congress, every parents' organization, every parent a slap in the face and said, 'Go to hell,'" said L. Brent Bozell III, president of the Parents Television Council, a conservative advocacy group.
"The wake-up alarm went off at the FCC," Bozell said. "Now what you're seeing are the commissioners taking a very strong public position on this."

This is actually a piece of rather deft footwork - the FCC had already lurched to right under Michael Powell's leadership; the week before the boob-bowl interface he'd announced his intention to get tough on the purveyors of filth onscreen - so if Janet was a wake-up call, it was one of those that comes after you've been lying in bed for half an hour wondering if the clock is actually telling the right time.

Elsewhere in America, the boss of the oscars Frank Pierson has denounced as post-Jackson five second delay as 'a form of censorship' on this year's telecast. Hmm, is this the same Oscars which warned last year that prizewinners would have the band turned on them if they made anti-war statements?

Back in Britain, Ofcom has issued a new set of judgements following viewer complaints [pdf]. We can't help but notice ofcom are lot less disapassionate in their reports than the ITC were - Little Friends is described as a 'comedy' (their quote marks); yes, it was rubbishly unfunny, but is it in Ofcom's remit to judge the artistic merit of a show as well as how it fits in with the regulatory framework? Big losers this time round were Top of the Pops, who get a rap for allowing Phixx to prance about like they were in a bondage club. Lord Ryder's BBC of course were quick to say 'yes, this is terrible, probably Greg Dyke's fault' although Ofcom seems to be more worried that kids seeing the routine would be likely to copy the dance and strangle themselves rather than develop a taste for bondage, whipping, and so on.

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