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Monday, November 15, 2004

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 America's 'moral values' army is three strong

Good investigative work by Jeff Jarvis.
With not much original reporting, I discovered that the latest big fine by the FCC against a TV network -- a record $1.2 million against Fox for its "sexually suggestive" Married by America -- was brought about by a mere three people who actually composed letters of complaint. Yes, just three people.

I filed a Freedom of Information Act request on Oct. 12 asking to see all of the 159 complaints the FCC cited in its complaint against Fox.

I just received the FCC's reply with a copy of all the complaints -- and a letter explaining that, well, there weren't 159 after all... The FCC confesses that they come from only 23 individuals.... [A]ll but two of them were virtually identical. In other words, one person took the time to write a letter and 20 other people then photocopied or merely emailed it to the FCC many times....

So in the end, that means that a grand total of three citizens bothered to take the time to sit down and actually write a letter of complaint to the FCC. Millions of people watched the show. Three wrote letters of complaint.

And on the basis of that, the FCC decided to bring down the heavy hammer of government censorship and fine Fox an incredible $1.2 million for suggesting -- not depicting but merely suggesting -- sex on a show that had already been canceled because the marketplace didn't like it anyway....

Reading stories about the FCC's actions, you'd think that millions are outraged by what's on TV.

No, millions watch TV. Only three are outraged.

This is America's "moral values" army: three strong.

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