Vigilant Parents Required

It wasn't that long ago that the bureaucracy at the Federal Communications Commission fell on its collective rump when, with Solomonic wisdom, it announced that use of the “f-bomb” over the broadcast airwaves didn't constitute an indecency so long as that word was used as an “intensifier” adjective and not a verb. The real world shook its head in disbelief, the appropriate cobwebs were cleared, and ultimately the FCC reversed itself.

Never underestimate a federal bureaucracy. The FCC has struck again.

One responsibility of this agency is to assign call letters to new TV and radio stations. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin has reported that deep in a 15 page list of new call letters issued by the FCC last month, the call letters KUNT were granted to a yet-unbuilt low-power digital television station in Wailuku, Maui.


The Honolulu paper discovered that the FCC doesn't actually hire a human to look over the call letter list. Apparently the agency's $300 million annual budget goes only so far. Assignment of the station letters is an automated process, according to Mary Diamond of the FCC's Office of Media Relations. Broadcasters use the FCC Web site to request and receive call letters with no oversight from any FCC human.

The station owners have now stepped in to reverse this outrage, and Kevin Bae, vice president of KM Communications Inc. in Skokie, Illinois, has now apologized. It is “extremely embarrassing for me and my company and we will file to change those call letters immediately.”

But this is not the first time the FCC has been asleep at the assignment desk, nor have other station owners reflected KM's responsibility. KCUF-FM near Aspen, Colorado got its F-word-in-reverse call letters in August of 2005 and has been on the air since December. 

It seems like everywhere parents turn, they are having to rush to the ramparts to protect their children from the noxious world of decadence advanced by the champions of “free expression.”

The New York Times has blown the whistle on a blogger in Los Angeles named Jack McClellan, a man who uses the Internet for a nefarious reason: to declare himself a pedophile and discuss how he likes to troll for little girls. We're told the police can do next to nothing, since McClellan appears to be doing nothing illegal. He publicly proclaims he wants only to engage in non-sexual contact with other people's grade-school daughters. Like hugging and caressing, you know. And bless his heart, he only advises other pedophiles on the Internet about good venues to pursue young girls. He prefers them aged three to eleven.

Mothers in Los Angeles are banding together to consider how to urge California state legislators to ban images of children on any kind of Web site with sexual content. “Just the idea that this person could get away with what he was doing and no one could press charges has made me angry,” said Jane Thompson, a stay-at-home mother in east Los Angeles. She has every reason to be upset. She told The New York Times she recently read Mr. McClellan's comments about a festival in her neighborhood in which he seemed to be describing her child. That crosses a frontier of creepiness that no parent should ever have to experience.

Mr. McClellan told the Times that two months ago he was more or less run out of Washington State after the news media there, along with various Web sites, drew attention to his activities. He had been posting nonsexual pictures of children on a Web site called “Seattle-Tacoma Girl Love,” intended to promote the acceptance of pedophiles, and to direct other pedophiles to events and places where children gather.

So he moved to the nation's entertainment capital, Los Angeles, which he must have assumed was a more welcoming environment for perverts and their “Girl Love” Web sites. The climate was one draw, McClellan told the Times, but there are also “so many world-class children's attractions here, Disneyland, festivals and whatnot.”

He launched a site called “Los Angeles Girl Love,” but now parents and news outlets aren't the only ones who've cramped McClellan's style. Internet hosting companies also have pulled the plug on him, even though he hopes to start again with a Dutch Web host. (Does Europe really want to be more “tolerant” of this?)

Thank God for small favors, that some American Internet and radio companies are public-spirited enough to stop the obscene behavior being advanced through their media. But you can feel the frustration level rising among families when in the first instance, with the Internet, they have no legal protection, and in the second, the broadcast airwaves, they do, yet those in authority won't act.

L. Brent Bozell III is President of the Media Research Center.