Monday, May 4th, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that showing a nipple on TV is against the decency standards set forth by the Federal Communications Commission. The SCOTUS ruled that the FCC had the right to fine CBS for the "wardrobe malfunction" that occurred during the halftime entertainment at the 2004 Super Bowl to Ms Janet Jackson's attire.
From Truthdig and the New York Times:
High Court Still Sizing Up Ms. Jackson’s AssetsIt was the “wardrobe malfunction” seen around the world, and for most it’s really old news by now, but Janet Jackson’s famous mammary flash from the 2004 Super Bowl has once again come to the attention of the top U.S. court.
The New York Times:
The Supreme Court on Monday set aside a ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, in Philadelphia, that had overturned a $550,000 fine imposed by the Federal Communications Commission on CBS for the “wardrobe malfunction,” as the fateful moment has been described.
The high court said the Third Circuit should give “further consideration” to its conclusion last July 21 that the F.C.C. was wrong to fine the network. A three-judge panel of the Third Circuit said the F.C.C. had not given broadcasters enough advance notice that it was tightening its policies involving fleeting displays of nudity, and that CBS should not have been held responsible for the actions of Ms. Jackson and her performing partner, Justin Timberlake.
The Supreme Court’s order that the Third Circuit re-examine its judgment was not unexpected, given the justices’ ruling last week that broadcasters that allow foul language on live programs may be held accountable, even if the vulgarities were unscripted and isolated. (The ruling, in F.C.C. v. Fox Television Stations, has no effect on cable television.)
CBS issued a statement on Monday saying that it was not surprised by the Supreme Court’s directive, given the Fox decision, “despite the differences in the two cases.” The Fox decision arose from two appearances on a music awards show by celebrities who used words long considered unacceptable in polite conversation. (For instance, Nicole Richie used vulgar language in discussing the difficulty in cleaning cow manure off a Prada purse.)
The exposure of Ms. Jackson’s breast lasted nine-sixteenths of one second, the Third Circuit said. That is barely enough time for the speediest wide receiver to cover five yards on a dry field, but plenty of time to generate litigation that has lasted half a decade, with accompanying lawyers’ fees.
“We are confident that in reviewing the case the Third Circuit will again recognize that the Super Bowl incident, while inappropriate and regrettable, was not and could not have been anticipated by CBS,” the network said. “This remains an important issue for the entire broadcasting industry because it recognizes that there are rare instances, particularly during live programming, when despite best efforts it may not be possible to block unfortunate fleeting material.”
This is unbelievable.! The whole thing lasted 9/16th of one second. All the evening news shows ran the tape of the incident repeatedly, which they showed when little kids would be watching, and yet none of them got in any trouble for it.
We have all kinds of TV programs that show all kinds of violent acts, murder, mayhem, people being beaten, as well as hatred and bigotry, but these are allowed to be broadcast during a time period when the very young and impressionable are watching. I, for one, would rather have my grandchildren see a little titty once in a while then to have them see all the violence and hatred many of the TV Networks broadcast everyday. The one that seems to me to be the worst is FOX, the network that says it stands for family values, the Rethuglican Party and the American Taliban, those radical right-wing religious fanatical fascists!