Reviews > Culture

Crackdown on crass

Culture

Issue: "Year in Review 2004," Jan. 1, 2005

Janet Jackson bared her breast at the Super Bowl halftime show, a quick flash that outraged most viewers of the biggest family TV event of the year. One of those viewers was Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael Powell-who himself was mortified as he watched the game with his children. FCC regulators promptly enforced the broadcast decency standards that have been on the books for decades, though generally ignored in recent years. They fined CBS $550,000 for airing what Ms. Jackson's dance partner Justin Timberlake called a "wardrobe malfunction," and then went on to crack down on indecent radio, slapping fines on raunchy shock jocks to the point of driving one of the biggest offenders, Howard Stern, off the free airwaves onto pay-to-listen satellite radio.

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