Will yesterday's FCC-Clear Channel settlement have the unintended consequence of thwarting legislation that would raise indecency fines? An influential member of the Senate Commerce Committee thinks so.
Senator John Breaux (D-LA) tells Daily Variety that Wednesday's record-shattering consent decree is "pretty much the result the legislation was written to produce." In other words, maybe broadcasters have gotten the message. With the nations's largest radio company effectively banishing indecency from its airwaves and instituting a zero-tolerance policy, there's less urgency for a legislative solution. "I don't think we're going to see anything else on the indecency front out of Washington-- at least not this congressional session," Breaux added.
What has kept Sam Brownback's Broadcast Decency Responsibility and Enforcement Act of 2004 off the Senate floor are controversial amendments that would roll back media ownership deregulation and address violence. However, Brownback may try to add the bill to must-pass Defense Authorization legislation, which could be voted on as early as next week. According to Broadcasting & Cable, Brownback hasn't yet introduced an amendment to the Defense Department bill -- nor has he decided if he will. But he has offered the amendment, which essentially serves notice that he could introduce it.
Brownback's amendment to the defense legislation is a stripped down indecency bill that would increase indecency fines tenfold but wouldn't address media violence or ownership limits.