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

Late night talk show host Stephen ColbertStephen Tyrone ColbertColbert: Trump era 'almost like a spell was being cast' on the American people Charlamagne Tha God to host late-night Comedy Central show Late-night show hosts slam Tennessee's vaccine policies MORE’s controversial joke about President TrumpDonald TrumpNew Capitol Police chief to take over Friday Overnight Health Care: Biden officials says no change to masking guidance right now | Missouri Supreme Court rules in favor of Medicaid expansion | Mississippi's attorney general asks Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade Michael Wolff and the art of monetizing gossip 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.
 
 
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.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
“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."