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November 11, 2004
Censoring Private Ryan

From USA Today:

Many ABC affiliates around the country have announced that they won't take part in the network's Veterans Day airing of Saving Private Ryan, saying the acclaimed film's violence and language could draw sanctions from the Federal Communications Commission.

The decisions mark a twist in the conflict over the aggressive stand the FCC has taken against obscenity and profanity since Janet Jackson flashed the world during the last Super Bowl halftime show.

Steven Spielberg's Oscar-winning movie aired on ABC with relatively little controversy in 2001 and 2002, but station owners including several in large markets are unnerved that airing it Thursday could bring federal punishment. The film includes a violent depiction of the D-Day invasion and profanity.

"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 WOI-TV in Des Moines, KCAU-TV in Sioux City and KLKN-TV in Lincoln, Neb.

Equating a film depicting the herroric sacrifce of our World War II veterans with a tacky publicity stunt would be outrageous, even for the parental FCC.

And Cole's self-serving statement falls rather flat when he offers this follow-up:

"We're just coming off an election where moral issues were cited as a reason by people voting one way or another and, in my opinion, the commissioners are fearful of the new Congress," Cole said.

This is nothing more than network backlash at the Red Staters. The voters were not thinking about TV programming when casting their ballots. They were instead focusing on the characteristics of leaders demonstrated in the very movie the networks have chosen not to air: patriotism, clarity of vision, and self-sacrifice.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Whiskey at November 11, 2004 12:18 PM

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