Thursday, November 11, 2004

No more saving Private Ryan?

TV Stations Cancel 'Saving Private Ryan'
Associated Press
NEW YORK — 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

A strawman, pure and simple. ABC has been leading up to this for at least two years, with the cooperation of CBS and Fox – claiming this is “violating” new FCC rules. If they were so afraid of the big bad FCC, they could ***bleep*** the language - no one has raised any objections to the violence, but both a warning (nobody warned anyone that Janet Jackson would be having her shirt ripped off) or a bit of editing to get the worst of the gore out (the opening scene mostly) might not butcher it too badly- certainly TV stations and networks have done worse butcher jobs to serve their own purposes in the past. [Although a friend tells me ABC’s contract with Spielberg allows no editing – an interesting clause indeed.]

But the truth is, they want to make anyone who objects to ANYTHING they air look like fools, and the entire idea that viewers should have control of content (other than through response to advertising) look bad. Sadly, most viewers who object to network content are (a) too gutless to turn the dial, and (b) so gutless that they expect the government to do what they won’t – discipline the networks by fines and punishments rather than notify the networks directly (and indirectly through advertisers) that they will not patronize a sleazy outfit. ABC and these stations aren't opposed to the FCC - they just want it to be their tool to prevent and control competition, but not TOO powerful, lest their profits be negatively effected by its limits on what they can broadcast.

At the same time, in the words of another commentator – “Ain’t guvmint grand?” The unconstitutional power of the FCC to censor anything is being used as an excuse to ignore a popular sentiment to honor veterans with an acclaimed movie.

Still, there are millions of people who live in daily fear (as these ABC stations claim to be) that something that they will innocently do will bring down on them the wrath of a totally bloated, all-controlling, big government that seeks ANY EXCUSE to expand its power at the expense of you or me. These range from the owner and operator of a small truck firm not sure about whether he can load one more pallet on his truck, a ready-mix “mom-and-pop” plant operator replacing a defective piece of machinery and running afoul of air “quality” regulations, a doctor debating whether to prescribe a new, more powerful painkiller, a husband and wife responding to a loud knock at the door late at night, a homeowner wanting to leave his grass a few inches higher than the bureaucrats downtown allow, and millions of others.

Is ANYTHING government provides worth the fear and pain that government, even at its most “benign” causes? Anything?

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