Intrusive Broadcast Media (FCC v. Pacifica)

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Forgive the absurdity of this question, but isn't AIR an intrusive broadcast medium? This summer while walking in a neighborhood in New York City, I was involuntarily and without warning subjected to all kinds of sounds, including obscenities (usually not directly). There was an elementary school nearby, yet no one was attempting to regulate the use of air as a medium for transmitting obscenities.

The infeasibility of regulating air as a broadcast medium aside, my questions are these: Why aren't radio and internet seen as an extension of this prehistoric broadcast medium? Is there hypocrisy in the fact that we code for and demand higher moral standards from technology? Is technophobia a factor?

-- Marissa Martin, October 7, 1999


Sound v. Radio waves

While I don't particularly agree with the Pacifica distinction, in all fairness, there does exists a physical difference between the "pervasiveness" of these two media. The area intruded on by most sound can be measured in sq. m rather than sq. km. At that scale, a quantitative difference becomes a qualitative one. There is also a social difference of seeing the person you are talking to.


-- Joshua Tauber, October 7, 1999