9/16th of ONE SECOND, was how long the infamous “wardrobe malfunction” of Janet Jackson’s lasted at her 2004 superbowl performance with Justin Timberlake. Without a TIVO, you missed it. I was watching without benefit of TIVO. I wasn’t sure what I saw, considering it was a wide shot and not a close up. But of course, every news organization in the country put the incident on loop for myriad replays.
9/16ths of ONE SECOND and the FCC flipped out, rushing to protect the innocents watching the superbowl from the debauchery of Ms Jackson and Mr Timberlake. The feds slapped CBS with a half million dollar fine. Pseudo Christians and others who are hell bent on protecting everybody else’s morality, TIVO’ed their little hearts out, watching over and over and over, loudly decrying the outrage of the barely visible view of Ms. Jackson’s pasty covered nipple.
The FCC said the nudity and “malfunction” were graphic and explicit and CBS should have warned its audience that it was coming.
But the federal court said;
“The Commission's determination that CBS's broadcast of a nine-sixteenths of one second glimpse of a bare female breast was actionably indecent evidenced the agency's departure from its prior policy," the court found. "Its orders constituted the announcement of a policy change—that fleeting images would no longer be excluded from the scope of actionable indecency.”
The policy that the FCC went against was its own, having been in existence for 30 years. The policy states roughly, fleeting glimpses, inadvertent words, are accidents, not finable offenses. They can’t arbitrarily change the rule overnight, said the high court.
I can understand if Jackson had really been nude, say maybe a bikini or skin colored body suit. But the girl was fully clothed for all but 9/16th of ONE SECOND. And the nipple had a pasty on it. Actresses walking the red carpet, routinely show off as much body as possible...hello JLO, wearing a green Versace...Anybody check out girlfriend from Dreamgirls and American Idol on Good Morning America, today? That was way more cleavage then I needed with my cornflakes this AM. But obscene or indecent....nah!
The FCC has yet to comment on the reversal. In a written statement that I’m paraphrasing, CBS says it hopes the FCC has returned to its senses, so that the world can move on to a real crisis.
My take...want to eliminate government waste...ditch the FCC right after doing away with the Department of Homeland Security.