In his brilliantly-titled essay, Of Dynamic Media, Steamed Dinners, and Bare Breasts, PFF’s Ken Ferree points out that FCC’s “Janet Jackson case” just continues to wind on and on and on. There is basically no end in sight for this case, CBS Corp. vs. FCC or the other major ongoing broadcast indecency case, FCC v. Fox, even though the incidents that motivated these cases took place years ago (between 2002-2204). As Ken notes:
Can we not all agree that there is something wrong with this process? The media landscape has changed dramatically, even since that fateful day in 2004 when Justin Timberlake pulled the veil from the now senescent Ms. Jackson, and it will likely be unrecognizable by the time any final conclusion in this matter is reached — which could be another ten years hence.
The problem is that the wheels of justice turn slowly while the wheels of technology propel the media markets ahead at a blistering pace. We simply can’t go on pretending that broadcasting is what it was in the 1970s, 1980s, or even in the 1990s. The markets have changed, the number of program options has grown, consumers’ usage patterns have become more varied and variable, new delivery platforms have evolved, and the technologies available to manage media on a personal level — especially for parents — have become ever more sophisticated. It is time the “expert” agency recognize the media revolution that has occurred and abandon its holy war on broadcasting.
Ken’s got it exactly right when he notes that “the wheels of justice turn slowly while the wheels of technology propel the media markets ahead at a blistering pace.” Indeed, Janet Jackson will probably be an old woman living in a Florida nursing home by the time this case winds its way back and forth through the courts and finally comes to a conclusion.