From Carlin’s Seven Dirty Words to Bono’s One Dirty Word: A Look at the FCC’s Ever-Expanding Indecency Enforcement Role
The manuscript entitled: From Carlin’s Seven Dirty Words to Bono’s One Dirty Word: A Look at the FCC’s Ever-Expanding Indecency Enforcement Role examines whether the FCC, in the years since the Supreme Court’s 1978 decision in FCC v. Pacifica, has exceeded the limited holding that the Court rendered in that seminal case. Initially, the article focuses on the Pacifica holding itself, reminding the reader of the narrowness of the decision and pointing out some interesting limitations that the FCC appears to have forgotten in its recent race to crack down on speech it deems indecent. From that initial examination, the article takes the reader through the FCC’s changing standpoints on its enforcement authority, starting from the day after the decision all the way up to the current FCC philosophy, including the full Commission’s recent reversal of previous policy in its March 2004 Golden Globe Awards decision.
While much has been written about Pacifica and the indecency dilemma, this article is different in that it focuses specifically on the FCC’s continued expansion of its indecency enforcement authority, while always keeping an eye on whether such expansion squares with the Supreme Court’s decision in Pacifica. In addition, this article undertakes this task by looking at the FCC’s actions over the 26 years since that decision and brings the discussion full circle to the recent Golden Globe Awards decision and activities in Congress.
Date of this Version
Faith Sparr, "From Carlin’s Seven Dirty Words to Bono’s One Dirty Word: A Look at the FCC’s Ever-Expanding Indecency Enforcement Role " (October 22, 2004). bepress Legal Series. bepress Legal Series.Working Paper 419.