Letter to USAToday.com Regarding Senator Brownback

Date: 10/20/2004

In Regards to Senator Brownback's piece that describes a "surge" of indecent conduct. This surge he argues is the direct result of the competition in the marketplace. Yet somehow, Senator Brownback seems to distinguish the marketplace from public interest. If the Marketplace is not driven by public interest than WHO is it driven by? Herein lies the failure of the FCC and its "complaint" process. It takes ONLY one complaint from one viewer to generate a fine. While the Super Bowl broadcast was shown to tens of millions of persons, most of whom either didn't see Janet Jackson's breast, were unconcerned about it's appearance, or were too busy eating Cheetos and ignoring the mammarian event, it bothererd a few thousand folks enough to generate hundreds of thousands of dollars of fines. This event was an extreme event. But again, it only takes one person to generate a complaint. And organizations like Brent Bozell's Parent Television Council ask their members to write in complaints even if they HAVE NOT SEEN THE offending breast. Yet each complaint would go in the list, and the FCC will compile the list and add up the fines. This is a failure in the system. There is no LEGAL recourse for the broadcaster.

You may argue there is an appeal process, but this process can hold up a companies daily business to make commerce, as the FCC will hold up License Renewals and Sales of Radio and Television stations until proposed fines are paid, regardless if they are under appeal or not. This lack of due process is unconstitutional and harmful to the MARKETPLACE who is the public that the government is trying to protect.

Mike Cunningham



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