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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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July 30, 2004

Better Tape Delay the Political Conventions

Posted by Ernest Miller

Drudge is reporting that DNC Convention Director Don Mischer used what the FCC calls "indecent and profane" language and his unfortunate words were (inadvertantly?) broadcast by CNN ('What the F**k Are You Guys Doing Up There?'):

'We need all of them coming down. Go balloons- balloons? What's happening balloons? There's not enough coming down! All balloons, what the hell! There's nothing falling! What the fuck are you guys doing up there? We want more balloons coming down, more balloons. More balloons. More balloons'...
Luckily, CNN is a cable news network and not subject to the FCC's indecency regulations (yet). However, if the language had accidentally been broadcast over the air, wouldn't the FCC have to fine the stations unfortunate enough to have broadcast the profanity? After all, they could have taped delayed the political convention. They should have realized, given numerous precedents, that politicians and associated types are prone to using profane language, just as rock stars are. If you can get into trouble because Bono spontaneously says "fucking brilliant" on an awards show, why is this different? It is more or less an awards show anyway, right? That is what they hire Don Mischer for, isn't it?

Listen to the audio clip: DNC Convention Profanity [MP3].

via Lost Remote

Comments (2) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Freedom of Expression


1. endico on July 30, 2004 07:30 AM writes...

Don't laugh. PBS had their coverage delayed.

During Kerry's speech I abused my awesome power of picture-in-picture by having both ABC (KGO) and
PBS (KQED) on screen at the same time and flipping
back and forth. PBS was a second or two behind
ABC. I noticed this earlier in the week as well.

Not sure if ABC was delayed, but my guess is 'yes'.

Permalink to Comment

2. Bored Huge Krill on July 30, 2004 11:32 PM writes...

I was watching on CNN, and heard this as it was broadcast. It was, frankly, painful to watch.

What was particularly incredible is how long the whole incident lasted. It was rather difficult to understand how nobody noticed the screwed up audio feed and did something about it in, say, the first ten seconds, which I would expect would be an eternity for a TV director. Worst case, they could have just muted the sound while they figured out what was happening.

In some other discussions, I have seen it noted that it wasn't just CNN, but everybody's audio feed. Can anybody confirm or deny this? Just curious...

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