- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 5, 2018

More than one viewer was disturbed by the carefree way some networks bandied about President Trump’s reported use of the word “s–hole” during a White House meeting in mid-January. Mr. Trump denied using the term, but broadcasters flooded the airwaves with coverage nevertheless.

Politico tech reporter John Hendel has discovered that the Federal Communications Commission fielded complaints from at least 162 people about the uncensored, bleep-free coverage of the word by certain news organizations.

“Many of the viewer complaints over the controversy implored the FCC to take action against one of Trump’s favorite targets: CNN, which as a cable network does not fall under the FCC’s indecency rules. Only the agency’s power to keep obscenity — that is, hardcore pornography — off the air applies to cable and satellite stations,” writes Mr. Hendel, who obtained the collection of complaints through a Freedom of Information Act request.

“CNN was mentioned 249 times across the 162 pages of response that the FCC supplied to Politico. Some cited specific CNN journalists, such as Don Lemon and Jim Acosta, and called the network fake news. One suggested most members of the media hate Trump and his voters and said the use of such indecent language is ‘responsible for the growing animosity that leads to riots and other crimes and is in fact tearing our country apart’,”  the analyst said.

“Although CNN received the lion’s share of complaints stemming from coverage of Trump“s comments, other outlets were mentioned as well, including NBC News, NPR and MSNBC,” Mr. Hendel continued in his analysis.

This round of complaints was worse than previous incidents.

Mr. Hendel also noted that Mr. Trump’s unsavory remarks about women on an old “Access Hollywood” tape that surfaced during the 2016 presidential campaign drew less than two dozen complaints, while Madonna’s public use of the f-bomb during the 2017 “Women’s March” garnered over a hundred.


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