Thursday, November 11, 2004

 

They can't handle the truth!

Some ABC affiliates are refusing to air tonight's rerun of Saving Private Ryan because (they say) they're afraid the FCC will fine them because of the violence and adult language in Steven Spielberg's 1997 World War II movie. ABC has aired the movie twice, but that was, of course, before CBS suffered Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" at the Super Bowl this year, and radio stations airing Howard Stern were fined hundreds of thousands of dollars.
"It would clearly have been our preference to run the movie. We think it’s a patriotic, artistic tribute to our fighting forces,” Ray Cole, president of Citadel Communications, told AP Radio. The company owns three ABC affiliates in the Midwest. “We regret that the FCC, given its current timidity in dealing in this area, would not grant an advance waiver, which would have allowed stations like ours to run it without any question or any concern,” Cole said.

Other stations choosing to replace the movie with other programming are located in Atlanta, Dallas, Honolulu, New Orleans, Milwaukee, Phoenix, Orlando, Fla., and Charlotte, N.C. They are owned by a variety of companies, including Cox Television, Tribune Broadcasting Corp., Hearst-Argyle Television Inc., Belo Corp. and Sinclair Broadcast Group.
Does anyone see the stupidity in all this? Yes, Saving Private Ryan is extremely violent - war is hell, after all - and hard to watch. The ending is almost unbearable because of the tension and destructiveness.
n a statement on WSB-TV’s Web site, the Atlanta station’s vice president and general manager, Greg Stone, cited a March ruling in which the FCC said an expletive uttered by rock star Bono during NBC’s live airing of the 2003 Golden Globe Awards was both indecent and profane.

The agency made it clear then that virtually any use of the F-word — which is used repeatedly in Saving Private Ryan — was inappropriate for over-the-air radio and television. The Bono case “reversed years of prior policy that the context of language matters,” Stone said. He added that broadcasters could not get any clarification from the FCC on whether the movie violates the standard.

ABC, which broadcast the film uncut in 2001 and 2002, issued a statement saying it is proud to broadcast it again. The network’s contract with director Spielberg stipulates that the film cannot be edited. “As in the past, this broadcast will contain appropriate and clear advisories and parental guidelines,” the statement said. The network has about 225 affiliates. Several stations said ABC had rejected their requests to air the movie after 10 p.m.

An FCC spokeswoman said Wednesday that the agency does not monitor television broadcasts, but responds to complaints. The agency received a complaint after the 2001 broadcast of “Saving Private Ryan,” but it was denied, she said.

WSOC-TV of Charlotte said it received complaints about language in the movie when it aired in 2001 and 2002.
It's absurd that any TV station would have to think like this, but that's the world we live in, where you can show the most absurd nonsense without problem, but try to air a serious movie that realistically depicts the unbelievable and unendurable horror of war and you have to worry about the Republican fuckheads on the FCC.

Janet Jackson didn't even actually show her tit, you know - you couldn't see her nipple - but that didn't matter. The right-wing bluenose majority on the FCC saw a chance to scare the shit out of American broadcasters and rein in their bothersome independence, and they took it. And the corporations that own more and more of our media caved rather than fight - mainly because most of them are already in bed with the fucking Republicans and thus had no desire to have it out with their allies over something as inconsequential as the First Amendment. Now, the people in the trenches - the station managers and programming bosses - are on their own, having to deal with this disgusting new regulatory environment bereft of support from the people with the power.

Saving Private Ryan is a brilliant movie. If seen by enough of the right people, it might actually bring home a tiny bit of the unimaginable horror that is now going on in Fallujah. Another reason not to let the American people see it.
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