Thursday, June 15, 2006

Hijacking PBS from the Right

I've posted earlier about the FCC clamping down hard on broadcasters. Now it's taking a toll on PBS as well.

The Public Broadcasting Service has told all 348 public television stations to edit out coarse language to comply with new Federal Communications Commission rulings. Stations also should obscure images of peoples’ lips as they utter some profane words, the nonprofit organization advised its stations last month.

In a statement Wednesday, PBS said the new guidance seeks “to protect its member stations from the now-catastrophic financial sanctions and expensive litigation associated with FCC indecency enforcement activity.

Programs that may have to be edited if they are repeated include Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues, a documentary on the blues; Mystery!, a detective adventure series, and A Company of Soldiers, a documentary on U.S. soldiers in Iraq, PBS spokesman Lea Sloan said in an e-mail interview.

“We’re going to start censoring ourselves to pick scenes that don’t have those words in it,” Louis Wiley, executive editor of Frontline, a documentary series produced by WGBH-TV in Boston, said in an interview. “This will make our communications less powerful, less accurate and less truthful.” FCC spokesman David Fiske declined comment.

In March, the FCC proposed a $15,000 fine of KCSM-TV in San Mateo, Calif., for airing the Scorsese film produced for PBS. It included interviews with performers and a record producer that contained numerous uses of words that the FCC said has inherent sexual and excretory connotations. San Mateo Community College District, which owns the TV station, appealed the fine. It was one of a dozen penalties proposed at the time against TV broadcasters for airing indecent material. The biggest among them was for $3.35 million against CBS stations for airing an episode of Without a Trace showing a teen orgy.

Comparing PBS programming to that shlock on commercial networks is appalling. If you want unedited truth, you'll have to move to cable. And whatever the FCC can't accomplish in terms of silencing what they dislike, your trusty congress is capable of finishing off.

Public Broadcasting Targeted By House
Panel Seeks to End CPB's Funding Within 2 Years

Read the full story at the

Where is the outrage?

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