Wednesday, September 12, 2007

$550,000 For A Half-Second Of Partial Nudity?

FEDERAL JUDGES in Philly are deciding whether the FCC's fine of $550,000 was too much punishment on CBS after Janet Jackson's barely covered breast was exposed to 90 million Super Bowl fans in 2004.

"The FCC's new zero-tolerance policy has already had a chilling effect on the broadcast industry, particularly with regard to television," said Robert Corn-Revere, a CBS lawyer who asked a federal appeals court panel to overturn the fine.

FCC lawyer Eric Miller argued Tuesday that Jackson's costume reveal was graphic and explicit.

"The idea of an exception for fleeting nudity flies in the face of common sense," Miller said.

Is this government censorship? Was anyone really harmed in this situation?

Or did the mass media use a cheap gimmick to draw in viewers?

(Similarly, did your teacher put this story online only because it is a pop culture reference with a saucy photo that would draw comments from students?)

If CBS gets fined for allowing the stunt to happen live on television, shouldn't this blog site be fined for running the photo?

25 comments:

davonne said...

if we are running with the definition of journalism and journalist setting the standards of society then running the picture that you have posted on your blog site should not result in a fine of any kind. you're showing your readers (who just so happen to also be your students) that this kind of behavior via exposing ones right breast is unacceptable.
in my own personal opinion, initially, i really didnt think there was anything wrong with it. im more or less excited (woo Justin Timberlake just exposed Janet Jackson's breast, thats HOT!) Then i thought, after remembering the standard setting responsibility of journalism that this incident/picture should be exposed and THEY should be fined so other entertainers know that this is unacceptable. if CBS would have let them slide you can only imagine what kind of nudity pop artists would try to use. However in terms of punishment they both should have been fined, not just Janet. justin is just as much guilty as she.

dan said...

Along with the teacher wanting to attract comments with a "saucy photo," i would think the less obvious reason this was posted was because the federal judges debating this fine are in fact philadelphia judges. As for the fine, $550,000 is an extremely large amount of money, yet one has to consider the magnitude of janet jackson's celebrity power and the amount of money cbs made for having the rights to air the superbowl in the first place. I don't think much of america had a problem with the incident, but the fcc still wants to, and perhaps needs to, make a statement with the punishment

Geo said...

$550,000 is peanuts to CBS. Ad rates for this year's Super Bowl were $2.6 million for 30 seconds. (CBS paid around $12 million for the rights to air the game.)

Not only is this case being heard in Philly, one of the judges is Midge Rendell, wife of Governor Ed (a former Philly mayor).

What is the role of the FCC? They are a government gatekeeper, an officially sanctioned standard-bearer, right? Don't they tthen have the right to say that Janet, Justin and CBS went to far?

- George (the teacher and devil's advocate)

Jamie Olson said...

Maybe this is just a misunderstanding that I have, but wasn't the breast-exposure a wardrobe malfunction? I thought that it was a mistake that CBS could not have forseen and that was the only reason it was aired during the live show. If it was indeed a wardorbe malfunction, neither CBS nor Janet and Justin should be fined.

Andrew said...

I think the wardrobe malfunction thing was just a coverup. If she didnt know her boob was going to pop out she wouldnt have put that litle pasty on it.(ha ha sorry to be so perverted)
But on a serious note, publicity is key here. Janet knew exactly what she was doing and was the biggest deal that year for this reason. So pay the fine and take your objective publicity and run with it.

Crystal Hawkins said...

I'm probably the only person in the world who wasn't watching the superbowl and missed all the excitement.

The photo isn't risky enough for a fine, Jackson's covered.. I don't see anything fine-worthy. Not to mention that it's online! There's all kinds of freaky junk online, so no, the blog site shouldn't be fined.

It was an accident. The show was live, wasn't it? CBS couldn't predict a costume malfunction.

Anonymous said...

This is bologna! First of all, breast's are everywhere, I don't care how old you are you've seen them before! I don't think that everyone should go around flashing what their momma gave 'em, but the FCC is taking it way to far! They have turned this split-second accidental peep-show into a huge controversial scandal. The public needs to draw the line on what the FCC allows on television or else soon the only thing left on tv will be fuzzy bunnies and Care Bears!
-chelsea leposa

Anonymous said...

I think that over 1/2 a million $ is way to harsh for the situation, i believe it was an accident and cbs would be smart enough not to plan something like that to be aired because of the risks involved
-Ryan Parmer

Morgan Z. said...

I think that, if anything, the most CBS should have gotten for this was a slap on the wrist. I know $550,000 is the equivalent to a slap on the wrist for CBS, but still...it's not like CBS could have predicted that she would spontaneously pop out of her top, so to speak. I actually felt sort of bad for her when all this happened, because of all the horrible backlash she got for it. It wasn't like she stripped naked on purpose knowing it was live TV. It was an accident...and as for CBS getting fined for "allowing" something like this to happen on live TV, well...it's live TV, what could they have done about it?

Geo said...

Read the link in the post ... it goes to an AP story that claims there was no wardrobe malfunction! The breast was bared on purpose!

Now should they be fined?

- George (the teacher and devil's advocate)

abby said...

i think the whole "wardrobe malfunction" thing was blown way out of the water. Whether it was an accident or not it was a split second of nudity on tv. arn't some of the commercials that are shown during the superbowl even more explicate than the wardrobe incident? some of the laws that the FCC have put into place hurt journalism. some live broadcasts are no longer live but shown a few seconds behind actually time! whats next?

Anonymous said...

I think thats a little to much for one nipple. $550,000 for one nipple at a half of second? we could have at least given us both nipples for a half a million lol. But seriously the FCC needs to just chill out. it wasnt that serious. the only reason people really saw it was because people keeped playing it over and over in slow motion. if it would have been sweeped under the rug nobody would have noticed
Brandon Duhart

Alexandra Pillion said...

it was a cheap gimmick that obviously worked. no one was harmed by a flash of a nipple, but because people kept reporting on it and replaying that shot, it was blown completely out of proportion and the FCC probably felt that with all the publicity, they would look irresponsible not to act. even still, you should expect the unexpected when you're working with celebrities and live tv.

medicpauly said...

Where do you draw the line? A little boob is fine for now? What about next time? $500,000 is nothing. Just a little warning to watch yourself.

Anonymous said...

I agree with whoever said that the reason Janet Jackson's boob drew so much attention was that it was played over and over again by the media. That clip was on news channels for weeks. Personally, I never even saw it until after the fact because I only watch the football, not the halftime show. So I do believe that a $500,000 fine is excessive because the media is what made that moment such a big deal in the first place, not CBS.
-Bridget Corcoran

medicpauly said...

So,it's the medias fault? CBS has no responsibility for what they run?

Anonymous said...

I think you knew people would comment like crazy on this. Everyone loves a debate on censorship...why else would we be into journalism? I think it's rediculous to make such a big deal over this. It was accidental and the amount of time that there was anything exposed is so minimal. In Canada and European countries, something like this wouldn't be a problem. They actually show that stuff over there and it's not a big deal. People need to get a life and find something more worthwhile to argue about. $550,000 is way too much money to punish over a split second of seeing a breast.

~Ashley Hart

Leila said...

I've seen just as much nudity, some times even more disturbing things, than Janet Jackson's breast. Maybe half a million isn't that big of a deal to a major station like CBS, but they are trying to make a point. However, why make a spectacle out of her? Some one mentioned Jackson's "celebrity power", I mean really, does anyone consider her a celebrity anymore? She doesn't have much impact on America's youth, because she hasn't really been around, no one young would even know who she is. And because she was exposed for a grand total of less than 15 seconds, I seriously doubt any child was phased, or emotionally "damaged" because of it. The judges are trying to make a point, okay, for 500,000 dollars, you come in crystal clear. Nudity on TV is bad.

Donnie said...

This entire thing is a farce. It's nothing. It seems like a lot of money to the average person, but to a station like CBS it's nothing more than a slap on the wrist. The FCC can look like its being stringent because the fine looks big. But that's it, it's all about LOOKS. So everyone can go home and feel good.

Long story short, was the fine needed? I doubt it. It's the idea of nudity on "family television" that got people hyped up. I feel mostly, this was pointless, because it won't really stop anyone from doing something with a fine that small, and besides, the event itself didn't merit the coverage it recieved.

Like I said, it's a joke.

Anonymous said...

i feel that nudity is everywhere in the media today; be it on your favorite HBO show or Vanessa Hudgens' nude internet photos. Half a million is not a lot of money to CBS but it is ridiculous that it was such a big issue. If you're gonna fine CBS you should fine every other station that shows nudity. And lastly shouldn't we be more worried about the "real" news. Although I will say this particular blog drew me in just as you intended it to.
-adrienne fehringer

Anonymous said...

CBS, as well as this blog, have no right to be fined for showing what was almost nudity at a Superbowl half-time show. To begin with, Jackson and Justin Timberlake acted on their own to expose a pastie-covered breast. The responsibility lies with them. Secondly, there was no actual nudity! There are far more revealing bikinis being worn at the Jersey shore, a public area, than what went down during an otherwise forgettable half-time performance. Should the ladies tanning on a beach be fined as well? No, because it's not a big deal. Just like Janet Jacksn's wardrobe malfunction.

-- Bill Matz

Morgan said...

I read the link. If it wasn't a "malfunction," I definitely don't feel sorry for Janet Jackson anymore. Especially not since the remark her people made that there would be some surprises, or something to that effect. It sounds like it was planned.

Chris said...

CBS and the NFL are surely getting their moneys worth. This only serves them both. I'm sure each would pay twice the fine to keep them on people's monds and lips.
I have to say this has made me question, and not able to answer yet, where I stand. I believe in free speach, and I think the country is way to puritan and conservative, but does that personal belief bleed into what or how I believe the station should handle something like this? I believe Don Imus had a right to say what he did. I disagreed with it, but believe he had a right to. I also believe his employer has a right to terminate him.
I'm pretty open to arguments, but I think where I fall on this was intentional or not, CBS aired it, and can/should be fined. But I think the news should run it unedited. It's reporting the news, not creating or censoring it.
And for the record, I have never seen it.

Anonymous said...

Enea said...

It does not matter how long you crossed the line for. If you crossed the line, then you crossed the line.

Anonymous said...

There is a saying: "There is no better advertisement than (good or bad) publicity!" and this topic proves it-- the bodalicious nature of the wardrobe malfunction has served all parties well! Despite that fact, it violates standards of decency for material piped into our living rooms and should be punished. Parents DO have a right to censor what their children see... and Janet Jackson's pastie should have been censored. What ever happend to the 5 second delay?