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11.10.2005

Now THIS Is A Bureaucratic Process I Don't Mind Being Glacial

On the morning of June 3, 1996, Howard Stern hosted an explicit discussion between adult-film star Jenna Jameson and her father on a nationally syndicated radio show, broadcast to more than 10 million listeners.

It didn't take long for the conversation to go from tasteless to downright vulgar.

The Federal Communications Commission, under Democratic Chairman Reed E. Hundt, took one year to determine that the radio routine violated the agency's indecency regulations. But nearly four years and two FCC chairmen later, in February 2001, the $6,000 fine was rescinded "due to passage of time," FCC records note.

The FCC's actions were hardly an aberration. A Washington Post analysis of all 92 known proposed indecency fines shows that the agency's record of policing the airwaves has been undermined by plodding investigations, insufficient fine amounts and inconsistent follow-up.

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