Bob Wright: “Federal Censorship Commission?”

NBC Universal CEO Bob Wright writes in the Wall Street Journal that the FCC is “blind to the reality of today’s media environment” in their crackdown on broadcast indecency. “The chill in the airwaves is unmistakable, and the viewing public is the biggest loser,” he writes (in perhaps an unintended reference to NBC’s reality show). One of his examples is an FCC finding that a live news program was indecent because an expletive was uttered by someone being interviewed by a reporter. Wright’s harsh words for the commission follow those recently made by Sumner Redstone, who said at a recent benefit that the networks are suffering through a period of self-censorship for fear that they will be subject to staggering fines. Wright argues that efforts to regulate programming don’t make sense when so much other material is available at on cable, satellite and the Internet. Moreover, he goes on to point out that the “vast majority” of complaints about specific shows filed with the FCC came from “organized interest groups who regularly trawl for complaints from individuals who never saw the show in question.”

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