There appears to be a booming market in 9/11 conspiracy theories, especially among academics nestled into their home-made Skinner boxes, toggling their BDS* gratification buttons. Meanwhile a much more brazen attack on free-speech is carried out by Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, Byron Dorgan and Dick Durbin (leaders of the Party-Not-In-Power) who not only threatened the broadcasting license of Disney (parent company of ABC) if it didn’t cancel or alter its broadcast of “The Road to 9-11”, but were even willing to put it in writing. ABC, btw, has complied. I’m waiting for Tim “There’s a Chill Wind Blowing Through Our Nation” Robbins to jump up and say, “See! I told you so!” (HT: Hugh Hewitt)
Something else that caught my attention earlier this week, however, is the decision by certain CBS affiliates not to rebroadcast the “9/11” documentary because they’re supposedly afraid the coarse language will cause them to be fined by the FCC. This is the award-winning documentary by the two French brothers who were making a film about the experiences of a rookie New York City firefighter and in the process ended up in the front lines of the action that horrible day. As such, the film captured the blunt and passionate responses and language of the firefighters on the scene, as well as the sounds of bodies hitting the roof of the plaza outside the lobby of Tower One where the firefighters had set up a command post. CBS has already broadcast this at least twice (that I’m aware of) in the past without controversy. Those broadcasts were before the 2004 Janet Jackson Super Bowl scandal, which led the FCC to increase fines for broadcasters that allow offensive content to go out over the air.
Several dozen CBS affiliates have decided to either replace the documentary or delay its broadcast until after 10 p.m., when the Federal Communications Commission loosens restrictions — even though the film has already aired twice with little controversy.
“This is example No. 1” of the chilling effect over concerns about profanity, said Martin Franks, executive vice president of CBS Corp.
Hey — there’s that “chilling” word again! Apparently Mr. Franks wouldn’t dream of bleeping out or aurally pixillating the bad words. I’m very familiar with this documentary having watched its original broadcast and taping the replay a year later. I recently viewed it again when I showed it to the group of young men in my “Fundamentals in Film” class. This close to the fall elections I think CBS – the network of Dan Rather, Mary Mapes and “fake but accurate” standards — is really more concerned about stirring the passions of the public than with offending its morals. I also think the network can’t resist the opportunity to gig the FCC and the current administration over the heavy-handed federal sanctions.
I think the language CBS is most concerned about is the part at the end when young Tony, the rookie firefighter, tells the camera, “I’d much rather save lives than take lives, but after this, if my country wants to send me to fight then I’ll go.”
* Bush Derangement Syndrome