This has been quite a week for hypocrisy.
The Janet Jackson incident (search) at last Sunday's Super Bowl will be investigated by the Federal Communications Commission. After 30 years of telling us that it could do nothing about deviancy on television because of the First Amendment, suddenly the FCC — in a burst of election year outrage — is going after CBS, Viacom and MTV for a two-second breast exposure by Janet Jackson and some bumping and grinding by her backup dancers. Where has the FCC been? Language, nudity, violence and profanity didn't start last Sunday at halftime.
CBS has carried the Victoria's Secret "Fashion Show" (search) where more skin is exposed than in the two-second flash of Janet Jackson's right breast. There is blood and gore on the popular CSI series. There are homosexual themes on all the networks and recreational sex by unmarried heterosexuals. And what about those erectile dysfunction and bathroom humor commercials?
Cable, over which the FCC has no authority, is a cesspool for many. For others, it's hot stuff and must see TV.
Just last month the FCC ruled that Bono's use of the f-word during the Golden Globe Awards (search) telecast was ok, because he used it as an adjective. And the FCC wants us to take their investigation of the Super Bowl halftime show seriously?
The networks are all parts of huge conglomerates. What politician wants to find himself on the bad side of network TV executives?
Tomorrow night, CBS will use a five-second audio and video delay just in case any of the Grammy Awards presenters and receivers cuss or perform a lewd act. Why not require them to sign a document that will force them to pay fines if they violate broadcast standards, if any remain?
This will go the way of everything else. Hackles will be raised (and so will funds by various self-appointed morality police), but things will go on as usual — downhill.
Television is no longer a friendly guest in many homes. More and more people I know are getting rid of it and seeking other forms of entertainment.
And that's Column One (search) for this week.
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Cal Thomas is America's most widely syndicated op-ed columnist. His latest book is "What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America". Readers may email Cal Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org.