December 2, 2006
FCC FU: Guess the Title Makes Their Message Clear

Now, here is a group who, I believe, makes their point quite clear from their very title: FCC FU.

The initiative was created by World Wide Wadio, which describes itself as "an All-Star team of radio writers, directors, producers and sound designers" who have "won more than 1000 awards so far."

They write that their goal is to protest through humor but hope to tie their humor substantially with more straightforward and traditional forms of protest as well. According to their statement, "Our dream is to spread our message through the Internet and the Mass Media; to have as many people as possible singing and sharing our song, proudly wearing the message on our merchandise... and taking the first crucial step toward that most American of all activities: political protest in the name of Free Speech."

Their mantra may best be expressed by this video I first saw over at Jeff Jarvis' BuzzMachine. It is the anthem of FCC FU, sung to the tune of "America the Beautiful." The video is also getting widely distributed by Robin Good and WFMU.

Their irreverent pokes at the FCC seemed like a fun way to voice dissent, but they particularly got my attention with a story on their front page that points out that the eeevilll Parents Television Council has embedded in the search on their site ads for the very shows they are condemning, through their search engine. They supply this PDF to show how searches for shows that the PTC is condemning may even bring up ads to purchase those very shows.

They comment, "Now, we find out that the Parents Television Council has been providing links to purchase the very shows they urge the government to restrict. You have to wonder if the PTC wasn't making money off the advertising that offered these shows. Maybe the FCC should fine the PTC for their hypocrisy."

Of course, I can't really hide my bias against the PTC. Back in September, when detailing some of the history between the WWE and the PTC and celebrating L. Brent Bozell's exit from the group, I wrote:

I have no problem with grassroots groups of citizens who get together to call for industries to have more scruples, to consider showing more compelling content, etc. I am disgusted by these groups, though, when they become not just media watchdogs but media censors. Warning parents about media that may not be inappropriate or calling for more family-friendly programming is one thing. Trying to eliminate programming one does not agree with is another [ . . . ] (L. Brent Bozell) led the PTC through some major victories, including the decision earlier this year by Congress to dramatically increase the fines for "indecency." Again, the problem here is who gets to define indecency, and these types of fines usually lead to a certain degree of fear to air certain content or to take risks, exactly the opposite kind of environment we need to be in to encourage networks to take advantage of the new possibilities offered by convergence culture.

Back in June, I wrote, "The Book of Job reminds us all that bad things often happen to very good people. And, if that's the case, it must be conversely true that, very often, great things happen to pretty crummy people. And that's the case this week for the pit bull attacking the leg of free speech, The Parents Television Council, when our heralded leader President George W. Bush signed into law the raising of fines for television indecency from $32,500 to $325,000." I concluded by writing:

And this is a guy who is consistently quoted in newspapers as an expert. An expert in rhetoric and distortion, maybe. Sure, there are plenty of things on television that I think is just done for sex, violence, or language's sake that is too "shock TV' in nature. And I wish every program had quality writing and imagination, but that isn't the way creativity get a lot of bad stuff when you let people be free, but you also get a lot of quality.

In short, I believe that there's nothing more dangerous to American values than L. Brent Bozell, and continued initiatives like this can dampen the spirit of convergence culture like nothing else...

Earlier in June, I had planned an initiative to "convince my local congressmen to find a way to start fining journalists every time they cite Bozell as a credible source. After all, your children are reading."