Monday, February 28, 2005


Several blogs have picked up on this from Rolling Stone:
When the Federal Communications Commission fined Clear Channel Communications $27,500 last year for each of eighteen incidents of "indecent material" spouted
by shock jock Howard Stern, it sure seemed like a lot of money. But in
retrospect those fines look like chump change. On February 16th, the Bush
administration won House approval for a bill that would raise the maximum FCC
fine to $500,000 per violation. Under the new measure, Clear Channel -- and
Stern himself -- could each have been fined a total of $9 million.
Hmmm...sounds bad but here's the perspective part:

A review of fines levied by other federal agencies suggests that the government
may be taking swear words a bit too seriously. If the bill passes the Senate,
Bono saying "fucking brilliant" on the air would carry the exact same penalty as
illegally testing pesticides on human subjects. And for the price of Janet
Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" during the Super Bowl, you could cause the
wrongful death of an elderly patient in a nursing home and still have enough
money left to create dangerous mishaps at two nuclear reactors. (Actually, you
might be able to afford four "nuke malfunctions": The biggest fine levied by the
Nuclear Regulatory Commission last year was only $60,000.)
Priorities are priorities.

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