WASHINGTON — In a vindicating speech after his acquittal in the Senate on articles of impeachment, President Trump delivered a spirited rebuke aimed at his detractors and the Democratic party Thursday. 

"We were treated unbelievably unfairly," Trump said. "And, you have to understand, we first went through Russia, Russia, Russia. It was all bullshit."

THE QUESTION

Can the President and/or broadcast TV and radio organizations be fined after President Trump said "bullshit" during a White House speech?

THE ANSWER

No. A Supreme Court decision stripped the FCC of its ability to fine individuals and broadcast organizations which transmit profanity over the public airwaves.

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WHAT WE FOUND

A spokesperson for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) declined to comment on our Verify story. 

The WUSA9 Verify team was instead directed to the FCC's website in which a section lays out the FCC's guide to 'Obscene, Indecent and Profane Broadcasts.' 

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Although the FCC's 'Consumer Guide' notes that the Commission has the power to levy a fine if profanity rules are violated, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously in 2012 that the FCC was no longer permitted to levy fines in cases where profanity was spoken on broadcast entities. 

President Trump and other politicians have utilized curse words more frequently in speeches and on social media in the past decade. 

A 2018 analysis by the website GovPredict charted a monumental increase in the number of swear words used by politicians. 

The government debate over the use of obscene language intensified with a Supreme Court decision in 1978 over a radio station's decision to broadcast a comedy routine by George Carlin complete with the "words you couldn't say on the public airwaves."

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