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Indecent Overexposure

The FCC needs to do a little housecleaning on its indecency docket, which could be getting a lot more input now that the agency has extended the deadline for comment. The online docket is where the FCC is posting the comments to its proposal to confine its pursuit of indecency to “egregious” cases.

Put “NBC” or “Fox” into the docket and what shows up under the “Name of Filer” column is ”NBC/Fox.” That’s hardly unusual. After all, it was swearing on the NBC- and Fox-aired awards shows combined with the CBS 2004 Super Bowl “reveal” that helped prompt the FCC crackdown on content.

But when the comment comes up, it is the single line that reads, “Stop Show Females Nude on Tv.” That is obviously not a comment from either network.

So, does the FCC check the comments it makes public online for obvious bogus identification? An FCC source speaking on background said that the system has checks and balances of the legitimacy of comments, including making it easy to file comments in reply to other comments and removing a comment “if necessary.”

And what are the chances the FCC could rely on a bogus comment if it does not know it is bogus? The FCC source said that if the information is relied on, it must be attributed and footnoted, which provides for scrutiny.

And what about that Fox/NBC comment? At presstime it was still showing up under that filer name, making the commission somewhat slower than Wikipedia in its checks and balances.