November 12, 2008 at 12:00 PM EST

Joe Scarborough, one of the harshest critics of so-called “filth” on television — he has demanded the FCC levy massive fines against the networks that aired Janet Jackson’s halftime Super Bowl show, and Bono’s Golden Globes acceptance speech, among others — let slip a juicy, unbleeped F-bomb during Monday’s Morning Joe show (watch the NSFW clip, in all its sordid glory, below). Not to mention the fact that he was so wrapped up in the point he was making, he had no idea he’d let slip the most dastardly of the seven dirty words on air till several of his flustered guests clued him in.

MSNBC has taken action, instituting a so-called “early warning system” — a seven-second delay — with Tuesday’s broadcast, so that’s probably the last naughty word we’ll hear out of Scarborough (though it remains to be seen whether or not he’ll maintain his crusade against the FCC) . BUT — and this is what gets me — the network is only vetting this one show. According to MSNBC spokesman Jeremy Gaines, the delay will not affect any other programming on the network.

What the f—? Isn’t that the problem with these so-called “fleeting expletives”? That in most cases, the people who blurt them out are as taken by surprise as their audience? It seems a bit like putting a sprinkler system in the one building that has already burned down. Anyhow, Scarborough has unintentionally made himself into a poster boy for those on the side of the defense; which, after saying things like, “The FCC is asleep at the wheel. And it is your family who’s being hurt….” serves him right, I say.

Anyone feel differently about this? And how funny is Mike Barnicle’s reaction (on the right-hand side of the split-screen) after Joe lets ‘er rip?

More on the FCC and censoring TV:

The Supreme Court takes on the seven dirty words
Diane Keaton + Katie Couric = unladylike language
Janet’s Super Bowl snafu

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