Thursday, October 14, 2004


FCC Won't Block Airing of Anti-Kerry Film

Another victory for free speech, or, er...

The Federal Communications Commission won't intervene to stop a
broadcast company's plans to air a critical documentary about John
Kerry's anti-Vietnam War activities on dozens of TV stations, the
agency's chairman said Thursday.

"Don't look to us to block the airing of a program," Michael
Powell told reporters. "I don't know of any precedent in which the
commission could do that."

The sad thing is that the Republican cheerleaders who are waving their cyber pom-poms in joy over Sinclair's announcement fail to see the problem in the context of the Big Picture. Do they not realize that this is de facto permission for another large broadcasting company to televise, say, F9/11 the night before the election?* Would they actually see both events as a positive development in free speech? If not, then we've got a lot of simple-minded hypocrites who want a short-term victory more than long-term fairness.

Keep in mind that this is going on at the same time that the NRA can't even blast Kerry for the pro-AWB comments that he made during last night's debate. Sad, right? Well, apparently not if it helps The Home Team. I'll laugh while the Bush supporters are crying once the shoe's on the other foot, but it won't be a laughter of joy.

The last time I checked, the FCC always pulled out the "greater public interest" card whenever confronted with a questionable use of the public airwaves. I personally think that particular litmus test is a load of crap, but if it's going to be applied to any one event, it needs to get evenly applied to all broadcast programming. This idea of applying a half-assed laissez faire approach to the use of the airwaves, but only when it serves the appropriate masters, really pisses me off.

*This actually is a possibility, but the last I heard, Moore struck-out with broadcast and cable outlets, and was pimping his work to pay-per-view vendors. Kinda reminds me of Howard Stern's attempts to break into TV in the 90s, but with fewer camera shots of thongs (in this case, that's a very good thing).

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