ERIC Number: ED212024
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1980
Reference Count: N/A
Children, Indecency, and the Perils of Broadcasting: The Case of "Scared Straight."
Jassem, Harvey; Glasser, Theodore L.
This paper argues that the United States Supreme Court's 1978 "FCC v. Pacifica Foundation" decision, in which the Court held that broadcasters must refrain from transmitting unseemly language at a time of day when children are most likely to be in the audience, has created a perilous dilemma for broadcasters: how to accommodate a child's right not to know without violating the adult's right to know. To capture the gravity of this dilemma, the paper focuses on a television documentary, "Scared Straight," that liberally used profanity, and contends that there is no principled way to distinguish between the language that resulted in the "Pacifica" decision and that used in the television documentary unless the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) uses content criteria. The paper presents a brief history of the events leading to the "Pacifica" decision and then examines the FCC's interpretation of this decision. It then focuses on "Scared Straight," emphasizing the FCC's reasons for not finding the program's language indecent. In conclusion, the paper speculates on the implications of "Pacifica" for both broadcasters and the FCC. (FL)
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A