A coalition of groups, including some TV networks, is criticizing one of the latest crackdowns by the Federal Communications Commission. ABC affiliates in Green Bay, Madison and Milwaukee each had to pay $27,500 in fines for a nude scene depicted in the cop-drama NYPD Blue.
Jim Dyke, Executive Director of Television Watch, says most of the complaints the FCC received were from a single organization. He accuses the group of "astroturf campaigning" in which people can go to their website and click a button to register a complaint. He claims many of those complaining had never seen the episode.
TV Watch supports empowering parents to decide what their children view in the home. Dyke says all TV shows are rated and technology such as the V-chip allows parents to decide what shows are best viewed in the home, rather than the government.
Ultimately, Dyke fears fines like this can have a chilling effect. He says one of the best examples of this is a 9/11 documentary that stations chose not to air, although they had broadcast it a year prior. He says, "Because it wasn't clear whether the FCC was going to fine stations for showing the program."