Thursday, November 11, 2004

The F-Word

Here’s an example of what we’re in for under the regime of the mullahs.

Several ABC affiliates 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.

Stations replacing the movie with other programming Thursday include Cox Television-owned stations in Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C., three Midwest stations owned by Citadel Communications.

“Under strict interpretation of the rules, we can’t run that programming before 10 p.m.,” said Ray Cole, president of Citadel, which owns WOI-TV in Des Moines, KCAU-TV in Sioux City and KLKN-TV in Lincoln, Neb.

The Oscar-winning film includes a violent depiction of the D-Day invasion and profanity.

“We have attempted to get an advanced waiver from the FCC and, remarkably to me, they are not willing to do so,” Cole told The Des Moines Register.

In a statement on the Web site of Atlanta’s WSB-TV, the 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 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 broadcaster could not get any clarification from the FCC on whether the movie violates the standard.

[edit]

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 Steven 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.

[edit]

ABC has told its affiliates it would cover any fines, but Cole, of Citadel, said the network could not protect its affiliates against other FCC sanctions.

[edit]

Cole cited recent FCC actions and last week’s re-election of President Bush as reasons for replacing “Saving Private Ryan” on Thursday with a music program and the TV movie “Return to Mayberry.”

“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. [Sun-Sentinel]

This brings to mind several other F-words, like “fundamentalist fearmongering” and “frightening.” And using Return to Mayberry as counterprogramming for Saving Private Ryan pegs the Irony meter.

It’s going to be a long four years, folks.