"If President Bush and Vice President Cheney can blurt out vulgar language, then the government cannot punish broadcast television stations for broadcasting the same words in similarly fleeting contexts.
That, in essence, was the decision on Monday, when a federal appeals panel struck down the government policy that allows stations and networks to be fined if they broadcast shows containing obscene language.
Although the case was primarily concerned with what is known as "fleeting expletives," or blurted obscenities, on television, both network executives and top officials at the Federal Communications Commission said the opinion could gut the ability of the commission to regulate any speech on television or radio.
If there really is a significant market for very prim TV, some channel will see an opportunity in that and provide it. There is no reasonable justification for a minority of easily shockable people to impose their preferences on the rest of the country. Let the market decide what is available.
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