Now, we all remember the now-infamous Janet Jackson/Justin Timberlake incident known as "nipple-gate" when Ms. Jackson had a major wardrobe malfunction and her bare breast was exposed.
Okay, now that was a pretty big deal, especially since it happened at the VERY end of the performance and the cameras were literally paused on JT and Janet. The Parents Television Council (PTC) laid down the law after this occurred because the Super Bowl is a family event, and kids do not need to see nudity.
Well, a few years later we now have a new scandal with M.I.A. Will the NFL, NBC, or M.I.A. be held responsible for the hand gesture? While I personally don't think that this is all that offensive, people are comparing it to the Janet Jackson incident.
While I do think that it was not in the best interest of the performance, and all would be fine if this incident never occurred, I do not think that this is the end of world causing for strict new rules for the performance. No one involved other than M.I.A. herself knew that she was going to do that.
I realize it is prime time, and everyone and their mother is watching, but the game is changing with television. What can and can't be shown on TV is changing every year, and it is a live performance. I think people need to calm down for a second and realize that 99% of the people watching, probably only noticed that the picture freaked out for a moment, not that she gave them the middle finger for a split second.