You are hereHuffington Post: Has Anyone Seen the FCC? How Rush Limbaugh Broke the Law and Got Away With It.

Huffington Post: Has Anyone Seen the FCC? How Rush Limbaugh Broke the Law and Got Away With It.

-By Sarah O'Leary

March 8, 2012- When Rush Limbaugh called Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a slut and a prostitute because she believes women should have access to affordable birth control, he crossed a line that also happens to be law. The following was lifted directly from the Federal Communication Commission's website:

It's Against the Law
It is a violation of federal law to air obscene programming at any time. It is also a violation of federal law to air indecent programming or profane language during certain hours. Congress has given the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) the responsibility for administratively enforcing these laws. The FCC may revoke a station license, impose a monetary forfeiture or issue a warning if a station airs obscene, indecent or profane material.

If Mr. Limbaugh had used the N-word rather than a gender slur directed at Ms. Fluke, no doubt he would have been taken from the air by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), his distributor, Premiere Radio Networks, and every station across the nation who carries his acrid spittle. Instead, he gets even more free publicity by objectifying and degrading Ms. Fluke and fellow female Americans everywhere. The time for the FCC to act swiftly was last week when it happened, but better late than a deregulated never.

The tenants of the FCC require that stations operate in the "interest, convenience and necessity" of the American public. Radio waves are public airwaves, and on-air talent and radio stations are licensed access by the government to use our airwaves. But thanks in large part to the deregulation of the FCC under President Reagan, the FCC has about as much power as a square of one-ply toilet paper in a manure storm. Sadly, whatever authority the FCC does have it rarely chooses to use in any meaningful way against conservative haters disguised as political pundits. Shock jock Howard Stern was fined a record-setting $2.5 million for his on-air indecencies, yet it's unclear if Rush Limbaugh has been fined ever. (Media experts believe the obvious disparity is a result of the power of conservative members of Congress who think he moves their agendas forward, along with those who are simply too afraid of ticking him off.)

What Mr. Limbaugh said to millions of listeners on air (including little boys and girls who get to add a whole new batch of adult words to their vocabularies like "blow job" from his daily broadcasts) was not only a complete nose-thumbing breach of his FCC-licensed responsibility, but a gender-based hate crime. If an on-air radio personality uses the public airwaves to defame any segment of our nation's population as Rush did, he/she should be ripped from the public's air. Using the public airwaves is a privilege that comes with responsibilities to our fellow Americans. It should not be used as a playground for the Rush Limbaughs of our nation to hate, rant and spew all the while attempting to hide under the guise of freedom of speech.



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