FCC Crackdown Has Public Broadcasters Running Scared

The FCC’s recent crackdown on “obscenity” isn’t likely to change much of what commercial broadcasters choose to put on the air. After all, with most TV networks and radio stations now owned by a few multi-billion dollar corporations, the potential $500,000 fines are a slap on the wrist. But for public broadcasting, where every dollar of programming money has to be begged and cajoled from either viewers or the government, the fines have the potential to be crippling. Accordingly, PBS, public radio, and some individual public stations are working overtime to get rid of anything that sounds even remotely controversial, even when it’s just a single word from an innocuous British sitcom or a sound byte embedded in an award-winning documentary series.