News Corp’s U.S. television network Fox is going to the Supreme Court to fight for its right to broadcast freely — whatever the Federal Communications Commission has to say about it.
Chief Operating Officer Peter Chernin will offer a preview of the network’s thinking tonight when he addresses the Media Institute, which is honoring him for his leadership on free speech. This comes in advance of the Nov. 4 court date in FCC v. Fox Television Stations.
Here’s the gist of the case, as The New York Times described it:
When Cher appeared on the Billboard Music Awards in 2002, she used a four-letter word connoting sex. The next year, on the same show, banter between Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie included that word and another obscenity. In Federal Communications Commission v. Fox Television Stations, No. 07-582, the court will decide whether the F.C.C. has the power to punish broadcasters for airing “fleeting expletives.”
And here’s a bit of what Chernin plans to say (We presented the excerpts in consecutive order. Spaces indicate where we cut things out for the sake of space):
And for creators of content, if we’re doing our jobs right, we sometimes offend people. It’s that simple. And, believe me, we wrestle with that fact. We struggle with complex issues every day. Are we guilty of contributing to the vulgarization of our society or simply of mirroring it? Is it our responsibility to be the arbiters of good taste, or is it our duty to push boundaries? Is it even possible to create innovative programming for a mass audience that is diverse on every level – from age, to religious affiliation, to ethnicity?