TV networks argue against decency rules, because no one's watching anyway

TV networks argue against decency rules, because no one's watching anyway

The broadcast TV networks have long chafed at the FCC's decency regulations, arguing that the rules are vague, and restrict the networks' First Amendment rights. They won a battle in 2010, when the FCC began allowing "fleeting expletives" in live broadcasts. But they've taken a new tack this year, arguing that it doesn't matter if they show objectionable material because no one is watching.

It's well-known that network TV's audience has declined precipitously over the past two decades, but this may be the first time the networks have proudly trumpeted that fact, arguing there's little danger of kids being exposed to nudity, shows with curse words in the title, or other risqué material, because they're too busy looking at stuff on the Internet, which fortunately contains no objectionable material whatsoever.

Naturally, the Parents Television Council objected to this stance, because it falls under a broader category of things the PTC objects to, namely "everything." PTC President Tim Winter took issue with Fox in particular, saying the network has shown "a man masturbating a horse, a character eating excrement out of a baby's diaper, and a baby eating a bowl of semen." Which suggests Winter probably just turned on Family Guy for five minutes and then unplugged his TV in horror.

Fortunately for the faint-at-heart, most of America unplugged their TVs in boredom long ago. As NBC puts it, "Broadcast TV is not a uniquely pervasive presence in the lives of 21st century Americans." And you thought they wouldn't be able to come up with a slogan to replace "Must-See TV."

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