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The 1978 case of fcc v pacifica foundation

Further complications arise when the monster says he. August 16, 2018, 9: But in 1973, the monologue was aired as part of a radio broadcast, and it was heard by a man who complained to the FCC when his young son heard the curses. This started a series of events that led to the FCC v. Not only has Pacifica become the cornerstone case for the regulation of the 1978 case of fcc v pacifica foundation speech and the seminal Supreme Court case that authorized the FCC to restrict content, but it is also considered by some as one of the worst decisions on First Amendment rights.

George Carlin was born on May 12, 1937. In fact, Carlin would regularly fill in for host Johnny Carson. During this period, Carlin appeared in suits and had conservatively short cropped hair. When the police arrested Bruce, they asked Carlin for his identification. After Carlin told them that he did not believe in government-issued IDs, he was arrested and shared a ride to the police station with Bruce.

Soon afterwards, Carlin had a new look and a new attitude. I thank you for hearing my words. I want to tell you something about words that I uh, I think is important. Words are all we have really. We have thoughts, but thoughts are fluid.

And, then we assign a word to a thought, [clicks tongue]. So be careful with words. I like to think, yeah, the same words that hurt can heal.

There are some people who would the 1978 case of fcc v pacifica foundation you not use certain words. What a ratio that is. They must really be bad. All of you over here, you seven. The case was eventually dismissed in December of the same year, with the Court declaring that the language was indecent but Carlin had the freedom to use it as long as he caused no disturbance.

The Pacifica case began simply enough. On October 30, 1973 at around 2: Douglas was driving in his car with his 15-year-old son. On October 30th, in the early afternoon from approximately 1: I heard, among other obscenities, the following words: This was supposed to be part of a comedy monologue.

Any child could have been turning the dial, and tuned in to that garbage. If you fine for suggestions, should not this station lose its license entirely for such blatant disregard for the public ownership of the airwaves? Can you say this is a responsible radio station that demonstrates a responsibility to the public for its license? Incidentally, my young son was with me when I heard the above, and unfortunately, he can corroborate what was heard.

Douglas later acknowledged that his son was fifteen-years old at the time. Douglas was living in Long Island, working for CBS, and, on the side, a dedicated defender of decency.

FCC v. Pacifica Foundation, 438 U.S. 726 (1978)

He had joined a campaign to eliminate sexually explicit movie theaters from Times Square, and he was a national planning board member of Morality in Media MIM.

MIM had been founded in the 1960s by three clergymen to restrict access to pornography. In 1978, the organization claimed 50,000 members. Here is a description of their investigation process from www. Enforcement actions in this area are based on documented complaints received from the public about obscene, indecent or profane material. FCC staff will review each complaint to determine whether it contains sufficient information to suggest that there has been a violation of the obscenity, indecency or profanity laws.

If it appears that a violation may have occurred, the staff will start an investigation, which may include a letter of inquiry to the broadcast station. If the description of the material contained in the complaint is not sufficient to determine whether a violation of the statute or FCC rules regarding obscene, indecent and profane material may have occurred, FCC staff will send the complainant a dismissal letter explaining the deficiencies in the complaint and how to have it reinstated.

In such a case, the complainant has the option of re-filing the complaint with the 1978 case of fcc v pacifica foundation information, filing either a petition for reconsideration, or, if the decision is a staff action, an application for review appeal to the full Commission.

If the facts and information contained in the complaint suggest that a violation of the statute or FCC rules regarding obscenity, indecency and profanity did not occur, FCC staff will send the complainant a letter denying the complaint, or the FCC may deny the complaint by public order.

In either situation, the complainant has the option of filing either a petition for reconsideration or, if the decision is a staff action, an application for review appeal to the full Commission. Subsequently, this preliminary finding may be confirmed, reduced or rescinded when the FCC issues a Forfeiture Order.

In accordance with its rules, the FCC sent the complaint to Pacifica, which prepared the following response: The selection was broadcast as part of a discussion about the use of language in society. Gorman played the George Carlin segment as it keyed into a general discussion of the use of language in our society.

The selection from the Carlin album was broadcast towards the end of the program because it was regarded as an incisive satirical view of the subject under discussion. Immediately prior to the broadcast of the monologue, the 1978 case of fcc v pacifica foundation were advised that it included sensitive language which might be regarded as offensive to some; those who might be offended were advised to change the station and return to WBAI in 15 minutes. To our knowledge, Mr. Douglas is the only person who has complained about either the program or the George Carlin monologue.

George Carlin is a significant social satirist of American manners and language in the tradition of Mark Twain and Mort Sahl. Carlin, like Twain and Sahl before him, examines the language of ordinary people. In the selection broadcast from his album, he shows us that words which most people use at one time or another cannot be threatening or obscene. Carlin is not mouthing obscenities, he is merely using words to satirize as harmless and essentially silly our attitudes towards those words.

The inclusion of the material broadcast in a program devoted to an analysis of the use of language in contemporary society was natural and contributed to a further understanding on the subject. The FCC then investigated the complaint. More than 15 months after the program aired, on February 21, 1975, the FCC finally issued it ruling. After characterizing the language as patently offensive, though not necessarily obscene, the FCC issued a declaratory order granting the complaint, but not imposing any formal sanctions.

Broadcasting requires special treatment because. These words were broadcast at a time when children were undoubtedly in the 1978 case of fcc v pacifica foundation audience i. Moreover, the pre-recorded language with the words repeated over and over was deliberately broadcast. It also bears mentioning that not all of the FCC Commissioners agreed. Two commissioners would have held that the language in question was inappropriate for broadcast at any hour.

Two others were a notch less statist than the majority. They explained that the case was difficult for them, and they assured readers that they would treat nighttime broadcasts more leniently. But even these commissioners warned of a coarsening culture. They observed doctrinal trends making it more difficult for sensitive audiences to insulate themselves.

Circuit, arguing that the FCC was improperly censoring them. Judge Leventhal dissented and emphasized that the early time frame which was in the afternoon in which the monologue was broadcast played a crucial role in his analysis. Angela Cambell pointed to some procedural peculiarities for what happened next in her article, Pacifica Reconsidered: The FCC filed its petition for certiorari on October 7, 1977.

Circuit, it did not join in the petition for certiorari. This change of position may have been due to the change in administration. McCree to replace Robert H. Bork as Solicitor General. In support of certiorari, the FCC argued that the Court should take the case in order to decide whether the unique quality of the broadcast media justified its action. In response, Pacifica argued that the D.

At a conference on January 6, 1978, the Justices voted whether to hear the case. As a result, the Court approved certiorari. The oral argument can be found at http: Basically, there were several issues before the Court: Does the First Amendment deny government any power to restrict the public broadcast of indecent language under any circumstances?

The Court held that there were a variety of circumstances in which limited civil sanctions could constitutionally be invoked against a radio broadcast of patently offensive words dealing with sex and execration.

The words need not be obscene to warrant sanctions. Other factors, such as audience, medium, time of day, and method of transmission should be considered in determining whether to invoke sanctions.

The significance of the decision in Pacifica is important for two reasons. First, it was the first time that the Supreme Court reviewed power of the FCC to impose penalties to prohibit the broadcast of obscene, indecent, or profane language. The decision, at the very least, broadened the authority of the FCC to control programming. After Pacifica, the FCC had the power and ability to enforce the law. Second, the decision is also important because the Court created a new class of speech and allowed government regulation of non-obscene constitutionally protected speech.

Hslung, in his article, Indecent Broadcast: It was a shock to the broadcast industry when the U. Pacifica Foundation Pacifica in 1978.

The industry and many critics were afraid that this newly created FCC rationale to regulate indecent programming would increase censorship of broadcast content, chill broadcast licensees, and curtail the first amendment rights of broadcasters.

He wrote about the case in his autobiography, Last Words.