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Censoring Private Ryan?

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Methinks this is just the begining of censorship in the Land of the Free. To deny a remarkable film being shown, on Vetrans Day.




NEW YORK (Nov. 11) - 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.

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Censorship is something a government would do. It is not the act of an individual broadcast station in pre-empting a network program, which is within their contractual rights to do so. It often happens, as it did with the scene in Thirtysomething of the two men in bed, and has with some other television programs. Those decisions can often be viewed as culturally based, certainly prejudicially so, and often as highly conservative and reactionary.


In the case of this film, I would think it would be the classic red state film, but it does have obscene language, a great deal of violence, even with editing, and some graphic sexual content. By voluntary agreement, the networks are not supposed to show this time of material during what is considered family viewing time.


I think a bigger matter to be concerned about is that some stations requested and did not receive a waiver. Unfortunately, even if Michael Powell leaves the F.C.C., a worse Bush appointee will likely replace him.




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