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Author Topic: Democrats Attempting to Suppress Free Speech!!!
javelin
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(this is tongue in cheek, for those of you bound to overreact)

Clinton & Aides Demand 9/11 Film Be Pulled, Or Modified

quote:
Senior officials and advisers in Clinton's administration have attacked the accuracy of "The Path to 9/11," accusing filmmakers of including "fictitious" and even "false and defamatory" scenes of how they responded to the terror threat.

"I think they ought to tell the truth, particularly if they're going to claim it's based on the 9/11 commission's report," Clinton told reporters in Arkansas on Thursday.

I remember hearing from many people that networks choosing not to air "F911" (and earlier, when Disney or whoever decided not to distribute it or whatever) were suppressing Michael Moore's free speech rights. Now, those same people's leaders are trying to suppress ABC's free speech rights?

What is WRONG with this country? Can't we have our fake documentaries, or must our fascist totalitarian government take those away from us too? When will it END?!

EDITED: to fix spelling of subject, so cperry doesn't call OrneryMods in on me. [Wink]

[ September 08, 2006, 04:33 PM: Message edited by: javelin ]

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Wayward Son
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I've heard that Oliver Stone is leading the charge to get any spurious political speculation removed from the movie. [Wink] [Big Grin]
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javelin
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quote:
Reid and other leading Senate Democrats wrote to Robert Iger, president and CEO of ABC's corporate parent, the Walt Disney Co., urging him to "cancel this factually inaccurate and deeply misguided program."
Source
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javelin
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By the way, this is getting much closer to being a free speech violation by our government than similar incidents that have had people up in arms on this very forum. On that, I'm serious. [Smile]
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Everard
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Ok, so I have a serious question, which is only incidentally related to this topic.

If you present something as factual, in the media, how far does your obligation go to be accurate extend?

Is it to the best of your ability? If so, does something with a long production time (a documentary) have less leeway then something that has short production time (an evening news clip)?

Or is it not knowingly providing any innaccurate information?

Related question: How far does your obligation extend to explain to your audience that you are not providing only factual information go?

If you present something as a documentary, should reasonable people conclude that no false information has been knowingly placed within the documentary? If you present something as a documentary, can you then add fine print that says "Some information contained in this film is for editorial purposes only and should not be viewed as the truth," and be absolved of responsibility for providing innacurrate information, or does the very format preclude you from doing that?

Whats the line between truth and fiction, and what is the purveyor of informations responsibility to the truth, in formats that are understood to be non-ficticious formats?

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Adam Lassek
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This is not surprising. People in Hollywood so desparately want to be free speech martyrs, they cry foul in situations like this where the government isn't involved.

What pisses me off is that the FCC really is suppressing free speech every day, and nobody cares.

[ September 08, 2006, 10:39 PM: Message edited by: Adam Lassek ]

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scifibum
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me too...their current rules are something like "don't do anything we won't approve of, or you get a massive fine. And no, we won't tell you in advance what the rules are. We'll know when you've messed up when we get calls from a special interest group."
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0Megabyte
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They are? I was not truly aware of the FCC's suppression of free speech. Please tell me more, Adam Lassek.
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TommySama
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"The FCC, an appointed body, not elected. Answerable ONLY to the president decided all on it's own that radio and television were the only aspects of American life not protected by the first ammendments freedom of speech.

Why did they decide that?

Because they got a letter, from a minister, in Mississippi!"

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Rallan
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0Megabyte, considering that the only time the FCC ever gets in the news is when they make a network pull a show, or fine people and networks for violating broadcast content standards, I have to ask if you were being serious.
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TomDavidson
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Didn't Senate Republicans complain about that CBS Reagan docudrama, too? IIRC, they were successful in getting it rescheduled and/or moved off the network.
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hobsen
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The FCC has authority to regulate radio and television because those media get a partial monopoly backed by the government. If a thousand people dislike the San Francisco Chronicle, they can start a thousand competing newspapers in the Chronicle's circulation area. But if they dislike a TV station, they cannot start a thousand competing TV stations, as frequencies are not available. Probably the FCC has abused its authority in the past, but radio and TV stations have done some outrageous things which required regulation. Happily it looks as if Internet video will soon compete with local broadcasting, so the FCC will no longer have enough control to matter, although that will bring new problems.
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DaveS
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TomD: "Didn't Senate Republicans complain about that CBS Reagan docudrama, too? IIRC, they were successful in getting it rescheduled and/or moved off the network."

Timing is everything, or the worst thing about this disaster is choosing to fictionalize the real disaster on its anniversary while it's still a fresh and exceedingly painful memory. It would be like your cousins hiring actors to deliver fake eulogies at your parent's funeral.

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scifibum
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quote:
The FCC has authority to regulate radio and television because those media get a partial monopoly backed by the government
Interesting point...I can't quite make sense of it. Because the government has granted partial monopoly to a limited number of companies, it has the right to control what those companies broadcast. Hmm. This sounds a little bit like a government-owned broadcast monopoly, which is not the friend of free speech.

I know the government doesn't completely control the broadcast stations...they can largely produce and air what they like (including a lot of stuff the government might prefer to stifle on political grounds).

But, let's examine the difference between things that might be offensive on political or ethical grounds, and the standards of offensiveness enforced by the FCC.

The government (FCC) has asserted control over moral standards in broadcast radio and television. The moral standards are basically dictated by an arbitrary threshold of what they figure most of Americans will tolerate without complaining (in turn this appears to be dictated by whichever self-appointed moral guardians are willing to complain the most). Basically the 7 (or however many) words you can't say on television, certain kinds of nudity, and sexual content are regulated, in largely arbitrary fashion.

Things that might be offensive by other standards are not the FCC's problem. If a network chooses to broadcast an opinion piece that says that any supporters of the war in Iraq are idiots, or warmongers, or hypocrites, this may deeply offend many Americans. It is even possible for broadcasting of politically charged speech to lead to riots or violence. But it's not subject to broadcast standards, not the FCC's problem. Free market forces (and common sense and decency, perhaps to a lesser extent) keep this in check despite the partial monopoly of the broadcast stations.

What's the difference? Angry war supporters are equally not free to start a bunch of new broadcast stations as angry people who saw a boob on TV, or heard the F-word on the radio.

[ September 09, 2006, 02:29 PM: Message edited by: scifibum ]

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by DaveS:
TomD: "Didn't Senate Republicans complain about that CBS Reagan docudrama, too? IIRC, they were successful in getting it rescheduled and/or moved off the network."

Timing is everything, or the worst thing about this disaster is choosing to fictionalize the real disaster on its anniversary while it's still a fresh and exceedingly painful memory. It would be like your cousins hiring actors to deliver fake eulogies at your parent's funeral.

Timing is a lot, but it's not *everything." Content matters as well. I don't think it's innapropriate to use 9/11 to argue that we need to fight back against Al Qaeda. I haven't seen anything about the movie yet to comment on. I'd be delighted to read any critique or condemnation of this film, provided that the author applied the same standards to Farenheight 9/11 when that movie aired.
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DaveS
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You're right that content can trump timing, and vice versa. From what I've read about it, this is a very "right wing" political portrayal that makes it all Clinton's fault. Even so, if it tells a "true" story, content wins despite the sensitive timing; if it is as innacurate and slanted as people who advised the production, acted in it or are portrayed in it are claiming, then the timing will make a mockery of the content and the network.

Already this week the Senate report shredded more of the underpinnings of the war and Bush's international policies have been lambasted for toppling another foreign government (Blair). If this turns out to be a Swiftboatumentary, then the backlash may be far worse for Bush and his current campaign for support for the war than the producers could have imagined in their worst dreams.

But the political problems are not my concern in this. It will be outrageous if Disney/ABC pervert the historical record that is a national legacy. If they've done that, they can join CBS and FOX in the basement of public opinion for responsible news.

I keep saying "if" because I haven't seen it, only read what people have alleged. It will be interesting to see a sampling of those critical reviews posted here.

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FiredrakeRAGE
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Pete -

So censorship is fine as long as everyone is censored? [Smile]

Ah, of course!

--Firedrake

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TommySama
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lol

/begins describing an unbiased source

Michael Medved said this is a very honest movie [Big Grin]

He said it is very harsh on the Bush administration as well, but he claimed the people saying it is biased against Clinton only saw the first two episodes, which were about Clinton

/Ends describing an unbiased source

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RickyB
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Well, if you say "Clinton neglected terrorism and AQ because of Monica", when this is proven to be false, yeah, people will have a problem.
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TommySama
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Maybe it would be good for people to watch it and then critique it's factual accuracy/inaccuracy afterwards. People on the right might like it, and people on the left won't (if it's terribly biased) but I don't see it actually affecting anything, so whats the problem?
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javelin
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quote:
It will be outrageous if Disney/ABC pervert the historical record that is a national legacy.
[Roll Eyes]

Whatever, man. The show doesn't call itself a documentary - it's a drama. I don't care what your politics are - crappy, poorly researched, divorced from reality dramatic movies that completely distort history come out constantly - pretty much any time some director gets a zen to make a movie about something remotely connected to history.

Does it suck? Sure - if people believe it's true. Then again, the whole chewing gum and walking thing occurs to me again and again. I WOULD say it's appropriate to make sure it's not called a documentary, but anything more? It's political grandstanding, of some of the worst kind, which is why I posted this crap in the first place. As usual, our Democrat and Republican party representatives are full of hot, stinky air, and I'm truly sick of it.

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DaveS
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Actually, at least one of their ads (in Australia) claims that it is: "The story of exactly what happened".

I am not going to bother tracking down the other things I've read in the past few days, such as an ABC statement that all of the material was taken directly from the 9/11 Commission Report. They're not saying that any longer, of course.

You're right that this is just TV trash, but for those who aren't so discerning, it is How Government Works with all the juicy stuff left in, like "24". Since you're on the left coast, you might be able to read the reviews before the program even airs and save a couple of hours of quality primetime to spend with your family.

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javelin
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quote:
Originally posted by DaveS:
Actually, at least one of their ads (in Australia) claims that it is: "The story of exactly what happened".

I am not going to bother tracking down the other things I've read in the past few days, such as an ABC statement that all of the material was taken directly from the 9/11 Commission Report. They're not saying that any longer, of course.

You're right that this is just TV trash, but for those who aren't so discerning, it is How Government Works with all the juicy stuff left in, like "24". Since you're on the left coast, you might be able to read the reviews before the program even airs and save a couple of hours of quality primetime to spend with your family.

I agree that they've dropped the documentary thing late, and yes, ABC's actions on this? Yuck, at best. 'Course, I felt the same way about F911.

[ September 09, 2006, 04:35 PM: Message edited by: javelin ]

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LetterRip
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According to the Washington Post

quote:
One scene that is being revised -- to what extent is unclear -- involves former national security adviser Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger refusing to approve a CIA plan to snatch bin Laden in Afghanistan, which Berger and the Sept. 11 commission say never happened.
Washington Post

Thus at least the original version apparently was willing to completely fabricate events.

LetterRip

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TomDavidson
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quote:
he claimed the people saying it is biased against Clinton only saw the first two episodes, which were about Clinton
I'm curious how it would wind up not being biased against Clinton, then. It might be equally biased against Bush -- although I think that's an outside chance at best -- but unless Clinton shows up with a semi-automatic in Episode 3 to take out the top lieutenants of Al Qaeda personally, I'm not sure what portrayal of him (if he appears at all) would counteract the falsehoods in the first episodes.
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Adam Lassek
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quote:
hobsen wrote:
The FCC has authority to regulate radio and television because those media get a partial monopoly backed by the government.

The federal government doesn't have the authority to do that. The fact that they are anyway doesn't excuse the fact that it's unconstitutional.
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Wayward Son
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Well, my wife watched the first hour of it last night and discovered a flaw even worse than inaccuracy.

It was boring. [Smile]

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G2
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Didn't Senate Republicans complain about that CBS Reagan docudrama, too? IIRC, they were successful in getting it rescheduled and/or moved off the network.

That is correct; it was moved to a cable channel (Showtime?). The Reagan docudrama did show and was panned by critics. I suspect CBS was aware they had something less than stellar on their hands and that played as much, or more, a part of their decision to go to cable with the show.

There is a fundamental difference between the end result of the Reagan docudrama and The Path to 9/11. The Reagan docudrama was only moved to cable. The content of The Path to 9/11 was actually altered under pressure by Democrats. There was a rather thinly veiled threat to pull broadcast licenses if the edits were not made. To my knowledge, Republicans never threatened such a thing over the Reagan docudrama.

quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
I'm curious how it would wind up not being biased against Clinton, then. It might be equally biased against Bush -- although I think that's an outside chance at best -- but unless Clinton shows up with a semi-automatic in Episode 3 to take out the top lieutenants of Al Qaeda personally, I'm not sure what portrayal of him (if he appears at all) would counteract the falsehoods in the first episodes.

Previous administrations will share the brunt of the blame for not doing more to fight terrorism and prevent the attacks. Bush had taken office less than 8 months before the attacks and the transition from the Clinton to the Bush administration was not well handled by the outgoing staffers. It would be difficult to assign a great deal of responsibility to Bush after only a few months of being in charge after 8 years for Clinton. Bush 41 and Reagan could shoulder some of the responsibility for the failure to pursue Islamic terrorists but the majority of attacks occurred under the Clinton administration and the Clinton administration implemented policies that hampered pursuit of terrorists (the Gorelick 'wall').

Personally, I am reluctant to assign blame to any specific administration. I would prefer to see this analyzed in a vacuum where mistakes are identified, regardless of the responsibility for them, and then implement measures to prevent those mistakes from happening again. Getting caught up in the blame game may be fun for some but it's ultimately pointless.

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