Thursday, July 20, 2006

President Bush, NPR, and the S-Word

Perhaps President Bush just misunderstood. Perhaps he thought the FCC said it was “fine for people to use the S-word” rather than “people will be fined for using the S-word.”

Either way, it wasn’t a slip of the tongue. The man is experienced in the ways of four-letter language. His use of S-word was intentional and he seems to have no regrets about it.

I’m glad NPR chose to broadcast the tape without bleeping the President. Some argue that bleeping the S-word still communicated the essence of the story. I agree with that.

More important, though, is that Americans hear our President so easily use the very words he claims to be indecent. NPR’s role here is to not only report the news, but also to create an uncensored public record of the incident.

The incident is of particular significance given that Congress just approved stiffer FCC fines for “indecency” on the airwaves. Public radio stations are worried that NPR’s decision will result in substantial fines for local stations. Some commercial broadcasters are looking at NPR’s broadcast and hoping it will become a test case for the indecency regulations.

As it stands, we are in a situation where the President’s indecent language might be worthy of a $325,000 fine, but not worthy of a public apology from the President.

That, to me, is obscene.


Anonymous Jeffrey Wilkins said...

I'm not so sure that Mr. Bush should appologize. It is my understanding that he and Mr. Blair did not know that a microphone was on and pointed in their direction. If he chooses to use such words in a personal conversation with another, so be it.
I am not offended by such language anyway, and I certainly don't think the NPR stations that broadcast this un-cut should be fined. That's rediculous.

8:56 AM  

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