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Thursday, December 23, 2004

Decent Satire
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The New York Times has honed in on Michael Powell and indecency regulation with a (hit) piece today. (Free registration required.) The article notes that Powell declined four invitations to speak about the issue. However, his reluctance to speak does not give license to the reporter. For example, all of the quotes from the Commission are anonymous. The story liberally uses quotes from folks with a clear vested interest in the issue and select quotes from Powell's public statements. The source(s) and motives for the other quotes are hidden from the reader. The story explains Powell's views with unflattering quotes from sources like unidentified "commission officials and friends of the Chairman" and "other lawyers and commission officials."

No doubt Powell's statements and actions should be analyzed. Likewise the views of people with an interest in broadcast regulation should be heard. But an article headlined "Evolution Atop the FCC" and given prominent space ought to include something attributable in the Chairman's defense. On the key criticism of the Powell and the FCC - the perceived arbitrariness of this form of regulation - no one is on the record to push back. The criticism may be warranted, but without more information it simply looks like a personal attack.

This space has highlighted a few bits here and there on the subject of indecency but none are as humorous as this classic piece of PFF Weblog satire. It too paints a picture of the Chairman's views on indecency, but no one tried to pass it off as a straight news article.

posted by @ 1:48 PM | The FCC

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