Saturday, May 1, 2004

Sanitized for Your Protection

I was too tired last night to stay up and watch Nightline’s broadcast of the names of the dead. I’m assuming that my local ABC affiliate ran it – they’re owned by Post Newsweek, so you know they’re a hive of radical liberals anyway; look at the story they’re running on their website about Sen. John McCain’s vigorous protest to Sinclair Broadcasting’s pre-emption of Nightline. While I disagree with the senator that the war was justified, he’s right on the money that the program is a way of honoring these people.

Although I have no first-hand knowledge of Sinclair Broadcasting’s political views, not having lived in an area covered by them, I have heard anecdotally that they are big contributors to conservative causes, including the RNC and the Bush-Cheney campaign. Well, fine. They along with anybody else – including other local media outlets like Clear Channel, Jaycorp, Storer, and so on – are free to exercise their rights to support the candidates of their choice. However, I don’t think they have the moral obligation to be the nannies over their audiences. After all, one of the most cherished conservative causes is the right for people to choose for themselves what to do and say without interference from a larger entity such as the government. But, apparently, Sinclair thinks it’s perfectly acceptable for a corporation to decide to choose what people can do: watch Nightline, for example. And aren’t conservatives always using the label of “the nanny state” to describe their idea of Hell if the liberals took over?

Over all of this is the presumption on the part of Sinclair that their audiences are too stupid to know propaganda when they see it. I’m not saying that the Nightline broadcast was propaganda, but if it was, don’t you think we’re smart enough to figure it out and switch over to watch Leno or a Cheers re-run? Once again we’re being treated to the idea that “we know better than you do” as if the entire country is five years old.

Granted, there are people on both sides of the aisle who feel it is their mission in life to make the world safe from crony capitalism, environmental hell, televangelism or godless communism, creeping socialism, and the homosexual agenda (whatever that is). We are now protected against everything from insurance fraud, hot McDonald’s coffee, and exploding bottle caps, and we are PC’d to death. Everybody’s trying to protect me from the bumps and rolls of life, and I hate it. And I especially hate it when people like Sinclair want to impose their views on me to protect me from something only they see as insidious.