Fox Lawyer Throws Radio Under The Bus In Supreme Court Indecency Trial
January 12, 2012 at 10:52 AM (PT)
It's beginning to look like the broadcast industry's legal defense against FCC indecency regulations in the SUPREME COURT is starting to resemble a circular firing squad. The L.A. TIMES reports that FOX outside counsel CARTER PHILLIPS argued that broadcast television should be free of content regulation -- but not over-the-air radio.
When Supreme Court Justice SAMUEL A. ALITO, JR. asked whether radio should have to play by the current rules but not television, PHILLIPS said, "Absolutely, they are fundamentally different media. The court has recognized that media has to be evaluated individually."
Ironically, PHILLIPS contradicted himself just a few minutes later when he suggested that there shouldn't be two sets of indecency rules for cable television -- which doesn't have the same indecency standards because it doesn't use the public airwaves -- and for over-the-air broadcasters.
"First of all, the notion that one medium operates in a certain way in the exercise of its 1st Amendment rights can be used as an explanation for taking away or for restricting the 1st Amendment rights of another medium is flatly inconsistent with what this court has said across the board in the 1st Amendment context," he said. "You don't balance off one speaker against another and give one favored status and give another unfavored status."
Unless, apparently, that "unfavored status" is given to radio.