Some ABC affiliates will not show Saving Private Ryan

In observance of veterans day, ABC will air Saving Private Ryan this evening. Although ABC has run this movie before with little controversy, a number of stations will not show it because of uncertainty about how the FCC will react. Quoting the article in USA Today (on-line).

“It would clearly have been our preference to run the movie. We think it’s a patriotic, artistic tribute to our fighting forces,” Ray Cole, president of Citadel Communications, told AP Radio. The company owns WOI-TV in Des Moines, KCAU-TV in Sioux City and KLKN-TV in Lincoln, Neb.

Other stations choosing to replace the movie with other programming include Atlanta’s WSB-TV, WFAA-TV of Dallas, WGNO-TV of New Orleans, WCPO-TV of Cincinnati, WSYX-TV of Columbus, WISN-TV of Milwaukee, WSOC-TV of Charlotte, N.C., WVEC-TV of WMUR-TV of Manchester, N.H., WHAS-TV of Louisville and KVUE-TV of Austin, Texas. They are owned by a variety of companies, including Cox Television, Tribune Broadcasting Corp., Hearst-Argyle Television Inc., Belo Corp. and Sinclair Broadcast Group.

“We regret that the FCC, given its current timidity in dealing in this area, would not grant an advance waiver, which would have allowed stations like ours to run it without any question or any concern,” Cole said

KNDL in St. Louis is another affiliate that will not be showing the movie.

A number of the stations would have shown the movie after prime time, but ABC wouldn’t budge on the schedule. Steven Spielberg will not allow a cut version version to be shown. (Good for him.) So, when the movie is shown, the F word stays, and language, rather than the violent opening, is the point of contention in this case.

With the new Congress, I can understand the broadcast groups opting out and even the silence of the FCC. However, its not a complete blackout and maybe we will be pleasantly surprised by the absence of punitive action from the Feds.

12 thoughts on “Some ABC affiliates will not show Saving Private Ryan

  1. Well, typical American BS. It’s perfectly fine to show somebody get their head blown-off, or a person being viciously beaten—just don’t say one of the seven forbidden words while you do it!

  2. Well, I can watch it in my local area, surprisingly.

    In times of war “fuck” seems a very appropriate word, I’d guess. But I wonder, considering some of these affiliates, whether it’s really about controlling public exposure to the gritty realities of war. With 18 American soldiers killed and 178 wounded since the start of the Fallujah assault Monday night, some conceivably would prefer we were entertained with a subject less thought-provoking, even though it would behoove us to think deeply of war right now.

    Those who can’t watch it can instead watch WWE SmackDown on UPN. Talk about your violent fare with NO redeeming social value!

  3. They happened to show it on our two local ABC affiliates with very, very, very brief commercial interuption. Kudos to them for having the guts to stand up and show a movie that alot of veterans I know appreciate. I actually don’t think the FCC would dare say anything about the showing of this movie.

  4. Our local ABC affiliate has decided to show it without commercial interruption and without editing for content, etc., stating they realize its importance, accurate depiction of war’s reality, the importance behind the movie (airing a story on the real ‘Pvt Ryan’ afterward) etc.

  5. Don’t thank Janet Jackson (though she played a part). The douche who started the complaining to the FCC after the Janet Jackson “accident” was L. Brent Bozell of the “Parents Television Council”. Send him an email. I did, though I doubt it will do any good. I did get a good laugh when I spell-checked my email in Word and it couldn’t find Bozell. Word suggested a suitable substitute – bowel.

  6. Is it strange that the word “fuck” sounds so much more powerful on network TV as opposed to cable?

  7. Actually you would do more good complaing about the movie to the fcc forcing them to say brodacast networks either can or cannot play certain materials opening up even larger cans of worms.  The power off the fcc must be tested to see where it draws the line.

  8. Thanks for the tip-off, Anti-Right.  I am assuming that this “Parents Television Counsel” is made up of that ever-growing number of parents that are just too damn lazy to control their own spawn.

  9. Yeah, so, considering I’m in the state that John Kerry is from, and since we’re supposed to have some sort of a liberally minded political base here, I was pretty Goddamned shocked that they didn’t show it on ABC in Boston.  In fact, I was outright disgusted.  They showed some dumbass movie with Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise instead (not “Eyes Wide Shut”, but some other movie where Cruise plays some dumb Irish role.  Even though he doesn’t look remotely Irish).  It’s really starting to scare me now how the Bill of Rights is being usurped by the economy that lies under our own media (which is not ours anymore).

    I HATE IT I HATE IT I HATE IT!!!!!!!

  10. I live in the fucking bible belt and we were slow so I sat down at my bar and watched the entire ending, FUCK and all. I cannot understand why Janet Jackson’s titties can hang, Awards shows can say fuck, but for a little historical information with the word FUCK in it, it is wrong?!?! Well, not suprised, Cindi, you are so right! LAZY FUCKING PEOPLE! (sorry guys dont usually use this many obsenities, but it seemed SO right!)

  11. Rich. I was originally going to say ‘right on’ to your suggestion and provide the email addresses of the FCC Commissioners. However, writing to them may or may not do too much good. Let me explain.

    Last April, when the Sinclair Broadcast Group preempted Ted Kopel’s tribute to our war dead, I expressed my concern about the effects of media consolidation to the FCC Commissioners, the appropriate House and Senate oversight sub-committees and to Senator McCain (Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation). I received three responses.

    The first was an email from Sen. Jim Talent (R-MO), thanking me for my comments about indecent material on the air waves. (What?). The second was an email from one of the Commissioners that described FCC’s position on obscenity. Refreshingly, the letter that I received from Sen. McCain’s office was actually on the subject of media consolidation.

    Here is part what the FCC has to say obscenity, indecency and profanity.

    Obscene Broadcasts Prohibited at All Times

    Obscene speech is not protected by the First Amendment and cannot be broadcast at any time. To be obscene, material must meet a three-prong test: (1) an average person, applying contemporary community standards, must find that the material, as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest; (2) the material must depict or describe, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by applicable law; and (3) the material, taken as a whole, must lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value. See Miller v. California, 413 U.S. 15 (1973).

    Indecent Broadcasts Restricted to 10 P.M. – 6 A.M.

    The Commission has defined broadcast indecency as language or material that, in context, depicts or describes, in terms patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards for the broadcast medium, sexual or excretory organs or activities. In applying the “community standards for the broadcast medium” criterion, the Commission has stated, “The determination as to whether certain programming is patently offensive is not a local one and does not encompass any particular geographic area. Rather, the standard is that of an average broadcast viewer or listener and not the sensibilities of any individual complainant.” Indecent programming contains sexual or excretory references that do not rise to the level of obscenity. As such, the courts have held that indecent material is protected by the First Amendment and cannot be banned entirely. It may, however, be restricted in order to avoid its broadcast during times of day when there is a reasonable risk that children may be in the audience. For a complete summary of the Commission’s case law regarding the indecency standard, see Industry Guidance On the Commission’s Case Law Interpreting 18 U.S.C. § 1464 and Enforcement Policies Regarding Broadcast Indecency, 16 FCC Rcd 7999 (2001).

    Consistent with a subsequent statute and federal court decisions interpreting the indecency statute, the Commission adopted a rule (47 C.F.R. § 73.3999) pursuant to which broadcasts – both on television and radio – that fit within the definition of indecency and that are aired between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. are subject to indecency enforcement action.

    Profane Broadcasts Restricted to 10 P.M. – 6 A.M.

    The FCC has defined profanity as “including language that denot[es] certain of those personally reviling epithets naturally tending to provoke violent resentment or denoting language so grossly offensive to members of the public who actually hear it as to amount to a nuisance.

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