FCC to investigate, 'take appropriate action' on Colbert’s Trump rant

Late night talk show host Stephen ColbertStephen Tyrone ColbertHelen Mirren, Ian McKellen act out Trump Ukraine call in Colbert appearance Klobuchar to Colbert: We're going 'to build a blue wall' in PA, WI, MI and 'make Trump pay for it' Sherrod Brown: GOP colleagues privately acknowledge Trump is racist, misogynist MORE’s controversial joke about President TrumpDonald John TrumpWatergate prosecutor says that Sondland testimony was 'tipping point' for Trump In private moment with Trump, Justice Kennedy pushed for Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination: book Obama: 'Everybody needs to chill out' about differences between 2020 candidates MORE drew the attention of the Federal Communications Commission. The agency received “a number” of complaints about Colbert’s commentary earlier in the week, according to the FCC’s chief.
 
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai promised to “take the appropriate action” following a comprehensive investigation of Colbert’s remarks.
 
The FCC's response will depend on whether Colbert’s remarks are considered “obscene.”
 
“We are going to take the facts that we find and we are going to apply the law as it’s been set out by the Supreme Court and other courts and we’ll take the appropriate action,” he told Talk Radio 1210 WPHT Thursday.
 
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“Traditionally, the agency has to decide, if it does find a violation, what the appropriate remedy should be,” he said. "A fine, of some sort, is typically what we do.”
 
Broadcast television is governed by different rules depending on the time of day, Pai said Wednesday, prior to viewing Colbert’s comments.
 
The FCC flags speech it considers “indecent” before 10 p.m., he told Fox Business Network, and looks for “obscene” content after that point. Colbert's “The Late Show” airs at 11:35 p.m. ET on CBS.
 
The agency’s website states that content must meet a three-tier Supreme Court test to be labeled “obscene.”
 
“It must appeal to an average person’s prurient interest; depict or describe sexual conduct in a ‘patently offensive’ way; and, taken as a whole, lack serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value,” it reads.
 
Colbert on Monday unleashed a flood of insults at Trump, satirizing an interview with CBS news the president cut short the day before.
 
 
Colbert on Wednesday defended his joke amid fierce backlash online.
 
“I don’t regret that,” he said. “[Trump], I believe, can take care of himself. I have jokes; he has the launch codes. So, it’s a fair fight."