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Unbelievable: Democrats Threaten ABC's Broadcast License

Dastardly.

That's the only way to describe the Democrats' recent thuggery. Senators Reid, Durbin, Stabenow (Paying attention, Michiganders? Vote Bouchard in November!), Schumer, and Dorgan have written a letter to ABC threatening the network's broadcast license in order to keep it from running "The Path to 9/11." Here's the letter as posted at MediaBlog:

We write with serious concerns about the planned upcoming broadcast of The Path to 9/11 mini-series on September 10 and 11. Countless reports from experts on 9/11 who have viewed the program indicate numerous and serious inaccuracies that will undoubtedly serve to misinform the American people about the tragic events surrounding the terrible attacks of that day. Furthermore, the manner in which this program has been developed, funded, and advertised suggests a partisan bent unbecoming of a major company like Disney and a major and well respected news organization like ABC. We therefore urge you to cancel this broadcast to cease Disney's plans to use it as a teaching tool in schools across America through Scholastic. Presenting such deeply flawed and factually inaccurate misinformation to the American public and to children would be a gross miscarriage of your corporate and civic responsibility to the law, to your shareholders, and to the nation.


The Communications Act of 1934 provides your network with a free broadcast license predicated on the fundamental understanding of your principle obligation to act as a trustee of the public airwaves in serving the public interest. Nowhere is this public interest obligation more apparent than in the duty of broadcasters to serve the civic needs of a democracy by promoting an open and accurate discussion of political ideas and events. [...]

Should Disney allow this programming to proceed as planned, the factual record, millions of viewers, countless schoolchildren, and the reputation of Disney as a corporation worthy of the trust of the American people and the United States Congress will be deeply damaged. We urge you, after full consideration of the facts, to uphold your responsibilities as a respected member of American society and as a beneficiary of the free use of the public airwaves to cancel this factually inaccurate and deeply misguided program. We look forward to hearing back from you soon.

What's next? Tearing out people's satellite dishes and cable boxes?

Captain Ed reminds us of how the Democrats responded when Conservatives were upset about the fictional Ronald Reagan movie:

Many people have pointed out that conservatives protested the factual deficiencies in "The Reagans" three years ago and wonder why they suddenly consider criticism invalid. The Democrats also appear to have completely changed their position as well. This is what they said about conservative criticism of CBS three years ago, and without a Republican threat against their broadcast license:
"No, there are no First Amendment violations here. The RNC protested the content of a program, which is its right, and CBS voluntarily pulled that program off the air, which is its right.


"But the decision makes it very easy to imagine a future where representatives for the Bush administration have the power to disapprove of any content that touches politics, policy, or history -- including news programs."

The Democrats' decision to threaten ABC's broadcast license makes it obvious what a future with them in control of Congress will be like.

Allah at Hot Air notes that Reid probably felt comfortable threatening Disney because its chairman of the board is former Democratic senator George Mitchell.

Greg Tinti to the GOP:

And let me just say this to all the good folks at the GOP: you've just been handed a huge gift by the Democrats. Turn this into a campaign ad now and let the American people know how Democrats would use their power if they were given back control of Congress

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Comments (24)

The Democrat Party is the s... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

The Democrat Party is the single biggest threat to liberty this country has ever faced.

Nobody in the press will condemn this --- just as nobody dared to show the Mohammad cartoons --- but they'll continue to caterwaul Bush's "stifling of dissent".
-=Mike

Pardon my French, but you'v... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Pardon my French, but you've got to be f***ing kidding me...

Un-real.

I've posted for months that... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

I've posted for months that a vote for a democrat is a vote to put the country under communism. Does anyone believe anything different after the action of the democrats today? They have let BDS drive them completely insane, but for most of them it was a short drive.

I'm sorry, but 9/11 was an ... (Below threshold)
September Eleven:

I'm sorry, but 9/11 was an inside job, plain & simple! Watch Loose Change free on Google video & start to wake up!

SE:Seen it.<... (Below threshold)
cirby:

SE:

Seen it.

Also seen all of the debunkings of it.

If you believe in "Loose Change," you're a moron.

I guess SE slept the day aw... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

I guess SE slept the day away and missed the news. Old Osama ain't gonna let anyone take credit for his destruction of the WTC.

Cirby has alread said the rest in his last sentence, except that all dimorats are morons.

This should hurt the Dems i... (Below threshold)

This should hurt the Dems in November but it won't. When confronted about the truth of how the Dems operate those who vote Dem just won't care, that's how they want them to handle things. Not sending a letter threatening ABC like the one Harry Reid sent would have lost them votes. Every time Howard Dean or Reid or Pelosi says or does something that reasonable people think should hurt them it doesn't, believing that this case will somehow be different this time is ludicrous. Name a scandal that conservatives thought would harm the Democrats that did.

What we think should hurt them doesn't because we're giving Dem voters credit for things they don't have, things like the ability to reason, any sense of decency at all, and caring about the actions of their politicians.

Don't you remember thinking that if Bill Clinton was a Republican that Zippergate would you calling for his resignation? The Left didn't call for his resignation because ideology trumps all.

First of all , only the gov... (Below threshold)
Hugh:

First of all , only the government can take away a person's right to free speech so get over that silly argument. Second, here 's a little piece from a right wing site about the Regan piece....debunking the same arguments you wingnuts are now making....a little inconsistent are you? Just a touch of spittle spewn hypocrisy?

Censorship and Slander: CBS's "The Reagans" Gets Moved from TV to Cable
by Alexander Marriott (November 10, 2003)
Now that the made for TV miniseries about Ronald Reagan's presidency called The Reagans has been moved from CBS to Showtime the rewriting of history about the controversy has already begun. According to the left, the fact that CBS moved the miniseries to Showtime is the result of a right wing censoring effort to stifle free expression and artistic effort. What?

Apparently it's lost upon certain leftist pundits that only the government can censor people. But beyond that, the objections raised by many people, not just right wingers, but historians and others who have studied the Reagan presidency, is that the people who produced the movie made up things about Ronald Reagan to portray him as negatively as possible. The objection was that a man's character was being defamed; it was not simply that people who didn't like Reagan were making a movie about him.

Certainly very few, if any, of the people who make movies about Adolf Hitler like the man. But what purpose is served by making things up about him and in his case why would you have to? If you disapprove of the subject of your historical film it is because you've made value judgments about that character's actions and beliefs. The truth is what you based your judgments on so why alter reality when presenting the truth to everyone else? Perhaps the producers of this film aren't confident that simply dramatizing the truth will create the anti-Reagan feelings they are seemingly desirous of.

One need not be a fan of Ronald Reagan to see the problem in what CBS was doing. Just because you are guaranteed a fundamental right to free speech doesn't mean you have the right to libel and slander people or make up new historical information. None of the people who worked in the White House with Reagan seems to have been contacted for research purposes or for getting some idea of what the dialogue of the President was like. Instead we hear that in the miniseries the former President curses quite a bit, refers to himself as the Anti-Christ, and is highly indifferent in the Old Testament sense to the people suffering from AIDS in Africa.

Wait! The arguments from the left continue. Former President Kennedy is unfairly "demonized" all the time in movies, why do these movies get to air and the Reagan picture does not? Perhaps, before they get on TV and jabber, these pundits should research a little on Kennedy. In his excellent biography of the former President, A Question of Character, historian Thomas Reeves documents all sorts of indecent and impeachable offenses committed by President Kennedy that range from drug use to sleeping with dozens of different women including a Soviet spy. These actions made him susceptible not only to being an unwitting ally of the Soviet Union, but making him beholden to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, who knew of all these events and used that knowledge to make himself untouchable.

These are documented facts of history; the dialogue of The Reagans is just made up. But wait, yet another argument. Dialogue in any historical drama has to be made up because there is no stenographer present to transcribe the exact words of the many conversations the President has. This is certainly true, but does this give the writers of movies license to just make up anything they want? If this is true then they could just write in dialogue for Ronald Reagan to the effect of, "I hate black people and I wish we could just have them all killed." Even if you think Reagan was a racist you can't just attribute statements and ideas to him that aren't backed up by some sort of evidence. Either go by the historical record, which is very rich considering most of the people who served in the two Reagan administrations are still alive, or keep your opinions to yourself.

The way this story has played out is really telling of the left and how they view the world. Because CBS realized they weren't going to get away with making things up and moved the movie from TV to Cable (apparently it's ok to lie about people if you have to pay to watch it) it is called "censorship." They utter absurdities like, "If the speech in the movie is false then the way to combat it is more speech." This effectively gives license to everyone to say or print whatever they want about anyone with nothing to worry about. It's one thing to call someone an idiot because as an unsupported statement it is just a hollow ad hominem attack that anybody would recognize as such. But when people fabricate "facts" to support their assertions and there is no consequence, then the onus is effectively put on the victim of the lie to defend himself from any made up absurdity.

The fact that CBS was caught in the act is promising, but the fact that the miniseries is still being aired is troubling. It's indicative of not only how liberal CBS is, but how little they care for reality. Hopefully, since President Reagan is still alive, someone will file a lawsuit on his behalf against Showtime when the movie airs (assuming there is no disclaimer stating that the movie is a fictitious account of Reagan's Presidency) to show these people that smearing someone's character and lying about them is unacceptable and will be punished. However, given what happened during Bill Clinton's presidency, lying doesn't seem to be a big deal anymore.


Personally, I don't care what they put on about Clinton or Bush or Regan. The right believes what it wants as does the left. But your outrage is just laughable as is your ignorance about free speech vis a vis censorship.

I keep hearing - "But pe... (Below threshold)

I keep hearing - "But people might believe it's true!" Oh, you mean like Farenheit 911, or 60 Minutes, or Reuters, or Joe Wilson?

The difference here is that (correct me if I'm wrong) I don't remember members of Congress sending what could be construed as a veiled threat to Dan Rather or the creators of The Reagans repeatedly bringing up "licensing" and "laws". Or castigating Moore for touting his crap as a "documentary".

"[S]uggests a partisan bent" ? And what would one call Reid, Durbin, Stabenow, Schumer, and Dorgan? Bastions of bipartisanship? Their virtual silence over Moore's Farenheit 911 and Rather's 60 Minutes should answer that question.

It's just funny to see the left get all twisted up in the same contortions as the right has in the past over ONE show - when they've been pumping out hogwash like an assembly line for years now.

BTW Hugh, I'm confused. Who are you chastising?

Hugh :"First of all , only ... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

Hugh :"First of all , only the government can take away a person's right to free speech so get over that silly argument."


No shit, moron. Those Democratic senators ARE part of the government.

First of all , only the ... (Below threshold)
cirby:

First of all , only the government can take away a person's right to free speech so get over that silly argument.

Says who? I can think of several ways for non-government entities to prevent free speech. It can range from the extreme (murdering the speaker to prevent their message from being heard) to the mundane (stealing all of the copies of a student newspaper from a campus so one article can't be read).

There's no requirement that "the government" be the only entity that can censor.


And if you hadn't gotten up... (Below threshold)
hugh:

And if you hadn't gotten up this morning you wouldn't have written that silly response.

Hey, we libs are just using... (Below threshold)
Ed:

Hey, we libs are just using the same 'bash the media in order to influence the coverage' tactics that you rightwingers are so good at.

Got a problem with that?

Hey, we libs are just us... (Below threshold)
cirby:

Hey, we libs are just using the same 'bash the media in order to influence the coverage' tactics that you rightwingers are so good at.

No, you're not.

There's a big difference between "we'll protest to your sponsors and let the network know they could lose ad revenue because of showing this inaccurate show" and "we'll get your FCC license pulled if you run this show that we don't like." Not to mention, of course, the other Dem-inspired attacks like the Google-bomb to hinder internet searches on the show.

First of all , only the ... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

First of all , only the government can take away a person's right to free speech so get over that silly argument.

The Dems have threatened to do just that.

Second, here 's a little piece from a right wing site about the Regan piece....debunking the same arguments you wingnuts are now making....a little inconsistent are you? Just a touch of spittle spewn hypocrisy?

Except:
1) "The Reagans" wasn't cut
2) It was aired on Showtime in its entirety
3) There was no threat made to CBS broadcasting license

So, no, it's not even remotely comparable.

Hey, we libs are just using the same 'bash the media in order to influence the coverage' tactics that you rightwingers are so good at.

Got a problem with that?

Apparently, the difference between "You shouldn't say that. It is wrong" and "If you say that, you won't be allowed to say anything ever again" is too subtle a difference for you to notice.

You are defending the indefensible.
-=Mike

Hugh :"First of all , on... (Below threshold)

Hugh :"First of all , only the government can take away a person's right to free speech so get over that silly argument."

No shit, moron. Those Democratic senators ARE part of the government.

LN, this is the funniest #@&*+! thing I've read all morning.

-GFO


Apparently, the differen... (Below threshold)

Apparently, the difference between "You shouldn't say that. It is wrong" and "If you say that, you won't be allowed to say anything ever again" is too subtle a difference for you to notice.

Perhaps, but that's not what has happened, or is happening.

We urge you, after full consideration of the facts, to uphold your responsibilities as a respected member of American society and as a beneficiary of the free use of the public airwaves to cancel this factually inaccurate and deeply misguided program. We look forward to hearing back from you soon.

Context is everything.

ABC's ad blitz touted this as "based on the 9/11 Commission Report." Fair enough. But then it became a 'docudrama' when it was pointed out that events portrayed in the presentation never happened, or happened differently. So, ABC, which is it? Fact or drama? Can't be both.

The reference to the Communications Act of 1934 certainly is a reminder that the airwaves belong to the public, not the Mouse that Roared.

Nowhere does it say the things you quoted. If you want to interpret it that way, by all means. If you think the Big Bad Scary Dems are "fascists!" and that accountability and accuracy are equated with censorship, that is your choice. But spare the "you won't be allowed to say anything ever again" because that is simply false.

-GFO

But then it became a 'do... (Below threshold)
cirby:

But then it became a 'docudrama' when it was pointed out that events portrayed in the presentation never happened, or happened differently. So, ABC, which is it? Fact or drama? Can't be both.

Actually, it can. That's why they call it a "docudrama." The form has been used many times over the last couple of decades under that term, and before that without admitting it. There are literally hundreds of listings in the Internet Movie Database that reference "docudrama."

That said, most of the complaints about "it didn't happen" or "it's incorrect" have been coming from the people who were caught doing stupid things (or not doing much of anything at all). The bin Laden strike opportunity is well-documented in the 9/11 report (and has corroborating accounts from outside of the report). If anything, the ABC version is a bit too kind to the Clinton administration (showing one missed chance at him when they had five or six that we know of).

Most of the other complaints are pretty thin, too. One of the subjects was bitching because he was shown as slamming down a phone, when he says he just hung it up... yeah, that's a heckuva reason to pull the show.

Oh, yeah, forgot to mention... (Below threshold)
cirby:

Oh, yeah, forgot to mention:

The reference to the Communications Act of 1934 certainly is a reminder that the airwaves belong to the public, not the Mouse that Roared.

...and by reminding Disney that "the public" (the government, in case you missed it) owns the airwaves, the government can take Disney off the air for airing something that someone in the government doesn't like.

Thanks for admitting that it was a threat, and not something else.

most of the complaints a... (Below threshold)
Brian:

most of the complaints about "it didn't happen" or "it's incorrect" have been coming from the people who were caught doing stupid things

So what? Is the truth less desirable when applied to someone who did stupid things? If anything, we should be demanding more truth that highlights stupid actions from government, not less truth.

So what? Is the truth le... (Below threshold)
cirby:

So what? Is the truth less desirable when applied to someone who did stupid things? If anything, we should be demanding more truth that highlights stupid actions from government, not less truth.

So these people aren't trustworthy, because their current claims clash with the actual 9/11 report and the eyewitness testimony of many other people. The evidence is generally on the side of ABC, as opposed to the former Clinton camp followers who are screaming about the "falsehoods" that show them in less-than-great lights. The mistakes and misrepresentations in the miniseries pale in comparison to the message that the Democrats put out.

...and, once again, you can't threaten to knock a TV network off the air because they air something that you claim has false or mistaken elements.

Unfortunately, Republican h... (Below threshold)

Unfortunately, Republican hands are not entirely clean with respect to this behavior. My congressman, Tom Davis, threatened to have Major League Baseball's antitrust exemption looked at if George Soros' consortium won ownership of the Washignton Nationals. Here's the DCCC quoting Roll Call: http://www.dccc.org/stakeholder/archives/003059.html

I suppose the Dems may be worse in terms of the number and prominent position of those making the current round of threats, but on the other hand it's something that's received more press. It's a shame; I was planning on voting for Davis' Democratic opponent Andrew Hurst, but I may end up pulling the lever for the Libertarian.

i am outraged by this threa... (Below threshold)
fred dj:

i am outraged by this threat by powerful wealthymen and group of dictators who think i am uncapable of searching out truth, and trying to cut away at our constitution. i believe that they have something to hide and this pathway to 9/11 will open up the eyes of americans and bring us back as a country of ONE to the republic we stand.

a nation divided will fall. we are at war and i know this should have been dealt with since the 1900s

Hmmm...you all do realize t... (Below threshold)
m:

Hmmm...you all do realize there is no such thing as a license for a network to broadcast?

The government can not pull ABC from the airwaves per se. They COULD pull licenses from individual stations (and yes, ABC does own some of those..but the license is for the station, not the network).

Additionally - the FCC is Republican controlled at the moment. There is NO chance of ANY license being pulled over this.




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