First, the Public Broadcasting Service caves to our new Secretary of Education and slashes an episode of "Postcards from Buster," which has the asthmatic bunny visiting lesbians in Vermont. Now, PBS is bleeping American soldiers who dare curse while on patrol in Iraq. The cowering bureaucrats at PBS have decided to censor next Tuesday's "Frontline" documentary about the war in Iraq, removing 13 expletives uttered by soldiers.
The producers of the "Frontline" program in question wrote a memo to executives at PBS calling on them to stand firm and broadcast "A Company of Soldiers” intact, as it was intended:
We believe what is at issue is not the particulars of this case, but the principle of editorial independence. Because overreaching by the FCC is at its heart a First Amendment issue, all programs are at risk, whether art, science, history, culture, or public affairs.Rather than fight the good fight for our First Amendment, PBS President and CEO Pat Mitchell has decided to decamp from the network at the end of her term. But before ducking out, Mitchell has announced that public television will conduct a “strategic assessment” of their children's lineup “We will create new and even better standards for programming" for children, Mitchell told a congressional subcommittee on Thursday.
Translation: "strategic assessment" = more scrubbing of PBS content.
Meanwhile, Fox plans to go ahead with the airing of a Simpson’s episode "There's Something About Marrying," in which Springfield legalizes same-sex marriage and Homer cashes in playing minister. One would expect swift condemnation from the Washington conservatives who slammed Buster and, earlier, SpongeBob SquarePants. Don’t count on it, these prigs won't waste their powder during sweeps, especially with a program broadcast on Fox News Channel's sister network. They're out to spill PBS' blood.
Which tells you some about the real motivation lying behind the new McCarthyism. It's not about making our airwaves safe for lily Christians, but about punishing media that the right believes slants in the opposite direction.
Kay McFadden writes: "Better for Mitchell to quit before American public television comes to resemble Al-Jazeera or state-run TV in Russia by reflecting the government's ideology instead of the taxpayers' diversity."
End Note: I initially had some trepidation about drawing comparison between the campaign against PBS ("Buster") and the pass given Fox ("Simpsons"). After all, it was Fox that received the highest FCC fine in 2004 for an episode of "Married By America" that included people licking whipped cream off strippers' bodies. But given this administration's taste for propaganda and message control, it's not a stretch to assert that they also favor a double standard when it comes to punishing the media.