Bart Whiteman: Climate Of Fear

Thursday, November 11, 2004 - by Bart Whiteman
Bart Whiteman
Bart Whiteman

It didn’t take long to start, and you have to wonder if it will ever end. Several ABC affiliates are pulling the television broadcast of the movie Saving Private Ryan fearing a possible backlash and fines from the FCC for letting the show air. There is a fair amount of graphic violence and some foul language in the movie, since it appears that not all soldiers actually talk like John Wayne when under fire and some battle wounds are actually a little ugly.

The networks regularly air a wide variety of soft porn reality shows that somehow pass unscathed under the FCC’s austere regard, as well as more and more drama shows based in Las Vegas, where the women in particular always seem to be missing at least one piece of clothing, but an artfully-made movie (directed by Steven Spielberg) with a very powerful dramatic message has to sweat.

So what is going on here?

Is this really an effort to protect the oh-so-sensitive eyes and ears of the American public, or just another attempt to keep them stupid? With all the warnings about the movie’s content that have already been broadcast anyone with half a brain could figure out whether or not this is something they could handle. In fact, it has already aired at least twice before. Why the panic now?

Let’s see, what has happened recently?

It would seem that something other than concerns for decency is afoot. Someone is using the FCC to help create a climate of fear within our hallowed shores. If Saving Private Ryan cannot air, what can? It’s a shame that so much glop makes it through to every home in America, but a few decent, intelligent items don’t have a chance.

What is further intriguing is the fact that the ABC affiliates that are pulling the show are mostly owned by Sinclair Broadcasting Corporation, the same bozos who did some pro-Bush censorship and promotion of their own during the campaign with regard to airing material that might give the impression that some people are actually suffering because of the war in Iraq. You would think that Private Ryan would be their baby and that they would defend its broadcast, not yank it and claim it’s all the FCC’s fault.

Maybe Sinclair doesn’t want the American public to see and consider a graphic display of the fact that some of our own soldiers actually get killed when we go to war right about now.

The whole thing smells from every angle.

The FCC, not wanting to be seen as responsible for anything at all, has said it can’t give anyone the green or red light on this thing prior to broadcast. They only react “if someone complains,” which nowadays would mean about every nano-second. They also haven’t told Sinclair Broadcasting to “get a life.”

This whole brouhaha only further points out how whacked out our current real war is. When Saving Private Ryan first came out, it was considered to be pro-war, but we didn’t have a hot war going on. That’s one of the reasons it was denied a Best Picture Oscar by the Hollywood establishment. It still came close to winning, though, and it did manage to take home five Academy Awards. Now, it would appear that some people are thinking it is anti-war just because it shows it like it is, and we do have a hot war going on. I suppose this is why the American public has apparently decided it can abide with the idea of perpetual warfare for the time being simply because it is taking place out of view.

This is psychopathically delusional.

So, now we have the FCC scaring some people into silence over the prospect of fines and sanctions, or being used by others to do the same thing, and we have certain corporate interests trying to control or withhold the information stream to the American public to further their own ends. In all cases, the American public suffers and is treated like a bunch a boobs there for the manipulating.

I think the American dietary intake, which is not exactly glorifying the idea of nutrition right now, can withstand whatever horrible gastric consequences Saving Private Ryan might lead to. It might even wake a few people up, and that’s exactly why some people don’t want you to see it.

Bart Whiteman

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