It's all about values

From Jordon at Confined Space:

Steve Mooser from RWDSU/UFCW notes that CBS gets fined $550,000 for its Superbowl wardrobe malfunction, while ABC gets fined only $4,200 for the death of CWA Local 16 member Richard Umansky, 48, who fell from a platform on November 23, 2003.

Now, which of these two rule-breakings are more likely to be repeated, do you suppose?

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2 Responses to It's all about values

  1. 1
    nobody.really says:

    >Now, which of these two rule-breakings are more likely to be repeated, do you suppose?

    Neither. And both.

    I’d guess that the exact wardrobe malfunction scenario will not occur again. And I’d guess that the exact circumstances of Mr. Umansky’s death will not occur again either.

    But I expect that CBS makes money selling sex, and saves money cutting corners, and I expect that CBS will continue to do both to varying degrees.

    What’s to keep CBS from doing the wardrobe malfunction thing again? Some people were offended, but I have to suspect that there will be more people watching halftime shows in the future, which should help CBS sell ads. So, absent some gov’t fine, it’s unclear to me what would keep CBS from doing it again.

    In contrast, what’s to keep CBS from continuing to cut safety corners? A big fat civil lawsuit that will likely cost more than $550,000.

    Since I suspect that the FCC expected that it was imposing the sole sanction for the wardrobe malfunction, whereas OSHA did not expect to be imposing the sole sanction for Mr. Umansky’s death, I don’t regard the fines as an apt basis for comparison.

  2. 2
    Jordan Barab says:

    The only problem is that, because of workers compensation laws, employees can’t sue their employers, so aside from ABC’s workers comp rates possibly going up a slight bit, the OSHA fine may very well be the entire sanction.

    The point here is that OSHA fines are ridiculously low and don’t, in and of themselves, deter much of anything. $550,000, on the other hand, sounds like a pretty good chunk of change, for a fairly silly “crime” and far exceeds any OSHA fines handed down in years — no matter how many workers were killed, and no matter how neglegently.