Following the Super Bowl halftime debacle that featured a female entertainer’s exposed breast, a U.S. House panel today will vote on the prospect of a huge rise in fines for indecent broadcasts. Iowa Senator Tom Harkin says he’s not sure where he’d stand on such a measure, if it makes it before the Senate. Harkin says he didn’t see the halftime show, but caught a replay. He says it -was- offensive, but not for the reasons many are proclaiming. Harkin says it wasn’t Janet Jackson’s exposure but the violence displayed by Justin Timberlake that bothered him. Harkin says it appeared to be a violent attack on a woman by a man — ripping off her clothes — which he says is not something that needs to be portrayed during such a broadcast. Harkin says the TV executives should look more toward that issue. Harkin says the networks should cut down on violence, saying “You turn on any network show at any time and you’ve got people shooting, killing, beating up people…during the family hour.” Today’s hearing was reportedly scheduled -before- the Super Bowl, but Janet Jackson’s so-called wardrobe problem is still being held as an example of broadcasters who overstep the bounds of decency.Today, the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee is expected to raise the top fine for indecency from 27-thousand-500 dollars to 275-thousand. The F-C-C says it will start fining broadcasters for each incident, not just each program. On another topic, Harkin is reconsidering his endorsement of Democrat presidential candidate Howard Dean. Harkin, who announced he was backing Dean eight days before the Iowa caucuses, says next week’s Wisconsin primary will likely be the deciding factor. Harkin says “There will come a point when all of us in my party will have to come together for a common goal to take George Bush out of the White House.” Harkin says he likes all of the Democrat presidential hopefuls and Iowans should not feel like they’ve made a mistake by endorsing Kerry, Kucinich, Gephardt or any of the others.
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