17 November 2009

Kudos to the FCC for ruling "Saving Private Ryan" not indecent

On Veteran's Day 2004, several ABC affiliates in the US pre-empted the network's national showing of the 1998 Oscar-winning film Saving Private Ryan because of its numerous use of profanity (such as the F-word) and graphic violence...all intended to depict the realities of World War II. Nine months earlier, Justin Timberlake exposed one of Janet Jackson's breasts at the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show. For that incident, the broadcasting network CBS was fined $550,000 in September 2004. (This fine is currently under legal review in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals following an order by the US Supreme Court)

Right now I'm watching the Frontline documentary "Obama's War". It was shown on Oct. 13, 2009, on primetime on PBS. In my area, KQED at 8PM. I don't know whichever parental guidelines rating (like TV-PG, etc.) that it got since it wasn't shown on screen, but there was a viewer discretion screen that said "tonight's program contains graphic imagery". The clips of military members engaged in war in Afghanistan left the F-words uncensored. In an era where groups like the Parents Television Council have intimidated networks into censorship, I applaud PBS for choosing to leave the profanity to show the realities of the environment where the men and women fighting for our freedom inhabit every day while we enjoy our luxurious lives in the free world. It's as verbally rough as it's geographically, since in the middle east days can get even hotter than in Las Vegas.

I googled to see if anyone's reacted to this also. Read Daniel Hennis's comment on this article:

I was watching PBS last night, the program about the current situation with Afghanistan and Pakistan. I was greatly disturbed that the f-word was left in, clear as a bell, THREE times in less than thirty seconds. I reported it to the FCC (because I doubt PBS's elitist leftist program managers would care to do anything about it otherwise). Normally, I allow my children to watch SOME of PBS's programming, but it's falling on my popularity list. I can tolerate some of the socialist indoctrination, but I will not tolerate profanity of that magnitude.

Daniel Hennis, Kuna, ID
Well Daniel, your complaint will be likely flushed down the john...the FCC will most likely not fine PBS as it did to ABC back in 2004 for Saving Private Ryan.

Two other comments on this article accused the title of having a bias against Obama. Other comments praised the documentary for being better than most mainstream reporting.


Daniel said...

Regardless, I spoke up. And I don't regret it.

Don't misunderstand, I'm fully aware of what our soldiers go through. In fact, I'm currently in the process of joining the Army National Guard (I scored a 99 on the ASVAB), and I'm almost done with Lt Col Dave Grossman's ON COMBAT. War is hell, language and all. But I disagree with piping that level of unfiltered content into the homes of average citizens, on a publicly-accessible television channel.

And I defy anyone to think me less a man for having a sense of right and wrong.

Andrew P said...

You exercised your First Amendment right, that's all right with me. I'll see what the FCC decides.