CHAPTER 10

Censorship and Celebrity

The Broadcast Standards and Practices (BS&P) departments at the networks were created in the 1950s as a result of the quiz show scandals. The mission of the BS&P censors was to protect the networks from embarrassing displays of poor judgment on the part of advertisers and producers.

Over time, the BS&P departments became the guardians of morality by monitoring sexual content, controversial issues, and medical information, among other duties. At different times, BS&P departments were reduced in size as a result of budget constraints, but since Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” at the 2004 Super Bowl and the raising of FCC fines tenfold to $325,000 per incident, per station, it is unlikely that BS&P departments ...

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