By Steven J.J. Weisman
BOSTON — Earlier this week, the FCC announced that it intends to fine television station WDBJ of Roanoke, Virginia $325,000 for broadcasting an image of a penis in a corner of the television screen for three seconds in a story that WDBJ ran on its six o’clock news on July 12, 2012. The story was about a retired porn star, Harmony Rose, who was now working as an EMT. In the broadcast of the story, a visual image of a porn website for which the star had worked was shown in a corner of the screen. While putting the story together, no one who worked on the story noticed a penis was viewable on the image of the website. According to WDBJ, which has never been fined in the past, the image was not even viewable on the editing machines used to create the story. According to WDBJ president and general manager Jeff Marks, “We are surprised and disappointed that the FCC has decided to propose to fine WDBJ for a fleeting image on the very edge of some television screens during a news broadcast. The story had gone through a review before it aired. Inclusion of the image was purely unintentional.” This fine, if it stands, would be the highest fine the FCC has ever issued for a single incident broadcast on one station and ten times higher than previous single broadcast fines for indecent material.