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Ernest Miller Ernest Miller pursues research and writing on cyberlaw, intellectual property, and First Amendment issues. Mr. Miller attended the U.S. Naval Academy before attending Yale Law School, where he was president and co-founder of the Law and Technology Society, and founded the technology law and policy news site LawMeme. He is a fellow of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School. Ernest Miller's blog postings can also be found @
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« Darknet - The Blog, the Wiki, the Book | Main | When is Indecency Regulation "Censorship"? »

May 04, 2004

FCC Receives Numerous Complaints About Oprah Show

Posted by Ernest Miller

Howard Stern has been the FCC's indecency whipping boy for some time. After the latest series of fines, however, he asked his listeners to complain to the FCC about an episode of Oprah's talk show that included rather graphic descriptions of sex acts. The Smoking Gun has received copies of more than 1600 complaints about that episode thanks to a FOIA request (FCC Swamped With Oprah Indecency Complaints). It is impossible to know which complaints are real, but many of them are downright hilarious:

I had just returned with my 3-year-old twins from Bible day camp when I turned on the show ... Tell me, Mr. Powell and Mr. Copps: How would you explain the concept of a "tossed salad" to your kids?
The Oprah show ... was so offensive that my child's head literally exploded. Please ban free speech so this never happens again.
I just wanted to say how much I appreciate all your hard work trying to take down such evils as Howard Stern.... next, please, oh please, go after that Mother of Harlots, Oprah....I will send a list of books next that I think you should look into.
I am writing to you as a very concerned elementary school teacher ... While watching this program, all I could think about were my 3rd grade students home from school, viewing these vulgar conversations about sex: at 4:30 p.m.! .... In teaching government to my students, I'm finding it very difficult to be honest. How do I teach the notion of "Freedom of Speech"???
Recently on the Oprah Winfrey Talk show ... acts of sexual nature were described in detail without the presence of a medical doctor ... Thank you for your time, ... Registered Republican

Comments (6) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Freedom of Expression | Oddities


COMMENTS

1. Michael A. Cohen on May 8, 2004 07:31 PM writes...

FCC, stay out of governing free speach. You're an appointed body put in office to regulate, NOT prohibit, what can be stated over our nations airways. Up to this day, 5/8/04, there is NO clear policy in force, which describes your policy. Without this policy in the people's (It IS still WE THE PEOPLE, right ?)hands, to refer to and accept, it is certain that the FCC is overstepping the intended authority initially laid out for it to work within. Staying on this path will ensure that business, individual rights and government will clash, resulting in senseless lawsuits and litigations, which will cost this nation millions.
FCC, you MUST release your intended policy for the people of this nation to either approve, or not. In the meantime, it seems abundantly clear that the people have spoke.

Permalink to Comment

2. Name on May 25, 2004 03:08 AM writes...

To all parents, teachers, and anyone else concerend with what can be expressed through free speach; let me remind you, first and foremost of how lucky you are to have the freedom to post the comments that you have posted on this web site.

I am a Jr. in High School and for my AP U.S. History class I, along with the rest of my classmates must research what we bleieve to be Un-American, or an Un-American act. I view the FCC crackdown on free speach to be quite Un-American.

What are our rights as Americans if we can not freely express ourselvs?

Permalink to Comment

3. Name on May 25, 2004 03:11 AM writes...

To all parents, teachers, and anyone else concerend with what can be expressed through free speach; let me remind you, first and foremost of how lucky you are to have the freedom to post the comments that you have posted on this web site.

I am a Jr. in High School and for my AP U.S. History class I, along with the rest of my classmates must research what we believe to be Un-American, or an Un-American act. I view the FCC crackdown on free speach to be quite Un-American.

What are our rights as Americans if we can not freely express ourselvs?

Permalink to Comment

4. Name on May 25, 2004 03:18 AM writes...

The first comment made by "Name" (May 25, 2004 03:08 PM) was miss spelled, thus the 2nd posting. If you can find the miss spelled word, you win the grand prize!

Permalink to Comment

5. Dave on July 10, 2004 12:43 AM writes...

Yeah you misspelled 'believe'. But you also misspelled 'speech' of all things, and didn't correct it in the second post.

Permalink to Comment

6. Dave on July 10, 2004 12:46 AM writes...

In fact you misspelt 'speech' twice.. as well as concerned and ourselves.. and again none of these were corrected

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