FCC Chair Hires Bible-Thumper as “Special Advisor”

According to Mediaweek, FCC Chair Kevin Martin is preparing his forces for a major assault on broadcast indecency, including action on as many as 50 different complaints. As part of that, he’s hired on right-wing Christian anti-pornography activist to be a special advisor in the FCCÂ’s Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis.

The new hire is Penny Nance, formerly a board member of Concerned Women for America, whose mission is “helpingÂ…to bring Biblical principles into all levels of public policy.” She has also testified in front of Congress “describing Internet pornography as a threat to children and speaking in favor of technology that lets DVD movie viewers skip past sexual and violent scenes.”

Nance also has spoken out against indecency on basic cable, in addition to all sorts of lobbying on Republican causes. CJR Daily’s Paul McLeary digs out some more data on her Republican schilling:

Nance appeared on a “Fox News Live” segment identified as a “suburban stay-at-home mom” in a piece dealing with “issues [that] matter most to suburban moms.” The segment did note that Nance was a former “full-time lobbyist” who “started a nonprofit organization for moms,” but in portraying Nance as an average suburban mom, Fox purposefully ignored much more. …

In what amounted to little more than a Bush campaign pitch, Nance said that “safety issues are the things that American women are talking about on the playgrounds and on the soccer fields of America, and we believe that President Bush hears us and cares about these issues.”

Frankly, this shouldn’t be surprising, that a right-wingnut be chosen as an advisor on indecency for the Bush appointed FCC. Martin has been much cooler and smoother in his regulatory approach than Michael Powell ever was, and the recent quiet on the indecency front should really be seen as the calm before the storm.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that Nance’s hiring isn’t cause for concern, providing further ammunition for bleaching broadcast media cleaner than an episode of Davey and Goliath.

The most dangerous aspect is where this pioneer may forge the indecency trail. McLeary notes:

What is disconcerting are her connections to groups which use terms like “Homosexual Agenda” and want to instill “Biblical principles.”

Are we in danger of returning to a time when any homosexual activity, say two men or two women kissing on TV, gets branded indecent? What about stuff that isn’t specifically sexual or excretory but strays into the realm of being atheist or anti-Christian?

Though I’m not Bible scholar, I’m pretty sure a lot of biblical content wouldn’t pass current network censors if portrayed literally.