WASHINGTON � Forty years after the U.S. Supreme Court established guidelines for saying profanities over the airwaves, broadcasters are dealing with a new challenge that has very little precedent: How to treat such utterances when they come from the president of the United States.
In 1978, the court ruled in the infamous �seven dirty words� case after the FCC issued a fine against a radio station that aired the George Carlin sketch. While in some ways, the court�s decision established indecency guidelines, it also opened the door for an evolution of sorts for how radio and television broadcasters�who are bound by FCC rules�handle such incidents.
President Trump�s recent alleged use of the word �shithole� during a White House meeting with senators forced news organizations to decide whether or not to repeat the profanity during news reports. The approaches were varied and nuanced.