Furious Carolinians criticize FCC over media’s use of ‘shithole’ in Trump coverage

Carolinians made up nearly 10 percent of those who called to complain

By Mark Price, The Charlotte Observer

When major networks began openly using the word “shithole” while covering alleged comments made by President Donald Trump, outraged Carolinians made up nearly 10 percent of the people who called the Federal Communications Commission.

The FCC says about 190 complaints were lodged at the height of the controversy (Jan. 11-16) and many targeted CNN, NBC, PBS, Don Lemon and Anderson Cooper.

Among the complaints: Use of the vulgarity was unnecessary, it was used too often and it came without warning for families in public places like restaurants where TVs were on.

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“CNN has for two full days had the actual word on the bottom billboard of their screen…I counted 32 times they said it in one hour alone. Does this not break any FCC rules?” said a viewer from Greensboro.

“When I was watching CNN this morning at 6 a.m, John Brennen kept using the word repeatedly, and was almost giddy about being able to use it,” said a Waxhaw resident.

“Think of all the children at airports where CNN is playing at full volume all day long who have to be assaulted by this word said over and over,” said a Hendersonville resident.


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Of the 189 complaints filed in five days, 18 were from California, 11 from Texas and nine from the Carolinas.

More than one of the complaints noted that CNN and other broadcasters had exposed millions of children to their first experience with vulgarity.

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In Vicksburg, Mississippi, a couple complained they heard it while eating dinner in a restaurant after Sunday church services – with their pastor at the table.

“My young daughter asked me what (shithole) meant because it was being shown on the T.V. screen,” said one of the horrified parents.

A similar complaint from Fenton, Michigan, noted: “Now, my nephew is running around calling everything a shithole.”

FCC rules prohibit the broadcast of indecent material during the period of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. However, the FCC takes news value into consideration when determining if a broadcaster should be fined.

The FCC has not taken enforcement actions on the indecency complaints received about media outlets repeating Trump’s alleged use of “shithole,” reports BuzzFeedNews.

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Posted by The Charlotte Observer

The Charlotte Observer is the largest daily newspaper in the Carolinas. CharlotteObserver.com is the most visited news and information website in the region. QNotes is proud to be a member of The Observer's Charlotte News Alliance.

One Reply to “Furious Carolinians criticize FCC over media’s use of ‘shithole’ in Trump coverage”

  1. We’re in the top 10 biggest states in the country. Any time something talks about North Carolina as being one of the top states for something, good or bad, if it’s not using numbers as a percentage of our residence, it’s often a meaningless piece of data.

    Also, there’s only so much blame you can put on the media for covering the executive branch. If one has a real problem with that language, maybe the complaints should be directed to the source.

    Lastly, as with any “bad” language, it’s only really as bad as how it is used. If it’s used to put people down, especially in a racialized way, that strikes me as more worthy of concern than just the utterance of the word itself.

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