What To Watch: A Singer's Nipple Or An Olympian's Sudden Death?

Six years later and we are still talking about a blink-of-an-eye look at a singer's breasts during the Super Bowl, and whether anyone should be punished.

As the NFL does with the Super Bowl, NBC executives talk about how families come together to watch the Winter Olympics. Big events like these are called family programming.

I'm not sure this includes the video of the death of that luger right before the start of the games. Complaints about the raw pictures of the incident have been tossed around for over a week now. NBC has repeatedly aired that video of that gruesome run.

Somehow the FCC doesn't have rules about preventing this. Nipples are another matter.

Reports now say NBC News President Steve Capus has put a stop to the airing of the video -- or at least, now any NBC News outlet needs his approval to show the footage again.



Unlike NBC, CBS -- which aired the 2004 Super Bowl -- hasn't re-run the Janet Jackson half-time breast-revealing incident, because there could be another half-million-dollar fine levied.

What do those incidents have in common? Both were accidents.

TV's own logic is that real-life events shouldn't be censored. However, when it comes to acting, as in the case of Jackson's duet with Justin Timberlake, people and companies need to be punished.

We are worried about what kids might think if they see a naked breast because, you know, that means sex. Violence? Death? Not so much.

7 comments about "What To Watch: A Singer's Nipple Or An Olympian's Sudden Death?".
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  1. John Licardi from Extreme Reach, February 24, 2010 at 5:28 p.m.

    Your thoughts are very true. I sat down with my 4 and 5 year to watch the "Opening Ceremonies" at 7:30pm EST, when NBC started airing...only to be shown the "death" video.

    Of course I then had to explain to my children that he was "hurt" and the doctors were taking care of him.

    As much as the disclaimer came on before the start, I still think there was a way to hold off on the actually video to a more appropriate "primetime" hour, if there is such a thing.

  2. Thomas Siebert from BENEVOLENT PROPAGANDA, February 24, 2010 at 5:37 p.m.

    A great point, and a depressing reminder that the American communications establishment encourages the embrace of violence while suggesting sex and nudity is offensive (although I've had a few women friends who suggest the Super Bowl strip was an act of sexual violence).

    Not sure I agree that both these events were "accidents," though; I never bought that "wardrobe malfunction" spin.

  3. Kevin Hurst from ensequence, February 24, 2010 at 6:04 p.m.

    well put wayne. our priorities are messed up.

  4. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, February 24, 2010 at 6:08 p.m.

    1. The accident was an accident. The nipple incident wasn't. 2. Worse? When a CBS affiliate showed the suicide of a local official shooting himself in the head and then falling down on the local news...repeatedly.
    3. The ripping off clothing act is a violent act. How many rapist rip off clothing before the rape? It's not about a naked breast. This is a criminal act, not an accident. Liability can't be hard to find - from the promoters to the person who thought it was a good idea to do it. There is a need to prosecute. So what's the time limitation?

  5. Jonathan Mirow from BroadbandVideo, Inc., February 24, 2010 at 6:14 p.m.

    This is just one example of why broadcast is such a dinosaur - I'd rather have my kid see a nipple any day (something he saw right after birth - although I'm pretty sure it didn't have the decorative ring around it that the "nipple in question" did) than see people killed. He's got a pretty good handle on the difference between death in movies (fictional) and death on the news (the real deal). Oddly enough broadcasters will edit the hell out of films that are deemed violent, while endlessly showing other violent reality fare with a laugh track behind it (skateboarder crushes testicles on steel railing) and call it "America's Funniest Home Videos". The true future of mainstream media can be seen in the film "Idiocracy" - where most of the world spends their days watching a series called "Kicked in the Balls" and the Oscar for best screenplay is given to a movie called "Ass" which is an hour and half of a persons buttocks in a tight, full-screen shot.

  6. Dave Robinson from O'Leary and Partners, February 24, 2010 at 6:43 p.m.

    Nicely written and well-thought out (as always), but a point about violence on TV: the networks have been incredibly passive in showing any violence from Iraq & Afghanistan with the exception of the aftermath of suicide bombers. If the public had been witnesses to more traditional war scenes, the troops would have been home years ago...

  7. Howard Burkat, February 25, 2010 at 9:39 a.m.

    Great piece. Send this to everyone in DC who is letting the FCC spend our money on this worthless pursuit of punishing the perps who destroyed - right in the middle of the Super Bowl - the purity of America's children.

    What's funny is European children see these same anatomical features - even in commercials - daily, and somehow their lives are not destroyed.

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