NEW YORK, Nov. 7 /Standard Newswire/ -- In response to the Federal Communications Commission's request for comments concerning four TV indecency determinations that were remanded to the Commission by the federal Court of Appeals in New York City (in a law suit brought by Fox, CBS, ABC and Hearst), Robert W. Peters, president of Morality in Media, submitted a statement citing 40 news stories from 1992 (mostly from newspapers published in New York City) that reported evidence that swearing or cursing has a number of harmful effects on both children and adults. The FCC's Order response was due November 6, 2006.
His full statement is available at http://www.moralityinmedia.org (Radio/TV Indecency page).
Peters put the question of "why people get so uptight about four-letter words in general and certain four-letter words in particular."
"Undoubtedly, it has something to do with the views held by most Americans throughout our nation's history that God is holy (profanity is therefore unacceptable) and that sex is sacred (obscene language is therefore unacceptable).
"But it isn't just religious Americans who get upset about swearing. A common element in sexual harassment suits is the use of vulgarity in the workplace. Violent confrontations among non- religious combatants are often provoked at least in part by swearing or cursing. The large majority of parents do not want their children using four-letter words, regardless of whether religion is or isn't an important part of the parents' lives."
Peters wrote that he "was surprised to see how many articles addressed the impact of swearing on adults.
"One reason that I decided to include evidence of harm to adults was to make the point that if swearing can result in harm to adults, what do we think it is doing to children? It doesn't take a barrage of four letter words to adversely impact a child. One curse word is more than enough.
"While we can't shield children in today's world from all swearing, we should want to minimize their exposure to indecent language in broadcasting and in other media. Parents are clearly the first line of defense, but parents in today's world cannot do the whole job alone.
"Clearly the Constitution, as our nation's founding fathers understood the document and as the Supreme Court itself understood it for almost 200 years, was not intended to cripple the power of government to help protect children from obscene or indecent language.
"The First Amendment is properly viewed within a framework of ordered liberty - not as a license to assault citizens, young and old, with indecent talk and pictures on TV and in other media. Those that wave the 'flag' of the First Amendment every time that government attempts to suppress smut are pushing our nation towards moral anarchy."
NOTE TO EDITORS: Bob Peters was interviewed by Steve Anderson for his documentary about the "F-word" that opens on November 10 in
MORALITY IN MEDIA, a nonprofit national organization with headquarters in New York City, works to curb traffic in illegal obscenity and to uphold standards of decency in the media.