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The Senate Dem Threat To ABC

Mary Katharine Ham has a great post (with lots of links) on the threat from Senate Democrats to ABC over the Path to 9/11 movie. It can be argued that it is not really a threat, but rather a reminder to ABC that the congress grants them the license for the privilege to broadcast on public airwaves. You know, like those friendly little reminders that mobsters in movies make when they remind someone that they have a nice little family that they wouldn't want to see hurt. Real smart move, Dems.

Another thought...How Karl Rove got them to do this, I will never know, but they couldn't really be this stupid on their own, could they?

Update: When I posted this, Kim's post below did not yet appear in the pubishing platform. My only guess is that maybe I didn't "refresh." Sorry for the duplicate post. [Update: I figured it out and explain in the comments.]

Musing Minds reminds Senate Dems of this little "freedom of the press" concept.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The Senate Dem Threat To ABC:

» Wizbang Bomb Squad linked with Letter to Senator Stabenow

» Musing Minds linked with Freedom of the Press

Comments (21)

Sadly, this is all too beli... (Below threshold)

Sadly, this is all too believable. It's just a preview of what we can expect if the Donks gain control of Congress in November.

Their main target will be conservative talk radio and then conservative blogs. They'll revive the "Fairness Doctrine" to club the opposition into line.

"The Road to 9/11" is the Democrat's Reichstag Fire.

Since several of the idiot ... (Below threshold)

Since several of the idiot democrats signed the letter actually making threats against a private business, I see no reason the Justice Department shouldn't issue warrents and send the FBI into the congressional buildings and frog march several democrats streight to federal prison.
Are we now operating the congress as part of the communist party? If not, legal action must be taken against the members of congress. If we are operating under the communist system then launch a B-52 and remove the building and contents from the earth.

I just thought to check the... (Below threshold)
Lorie Byrd:

I just thought to check the activity log to figure out why I didn't see the other post on this topic. Kim and I posted our pieces at virtually the same time. Mine actually posted a minute earlier, but hers appears first because the time on the post is the time we started typing it, not the time when we "saved" it to publish. I am going to leave it up since there are already comments, but did want to apologize for the duplicate posts.

Same people sat with Michea... (Below threshold)

Same people sat with Micheal Moore at the last Democrat convention and had a private showing of Fahrenheit 9/11. Free speech for me, but not for thee.

Democrats been doing this same act all the way back to the days of the KKK. Just ask Byrd. We lived in Mississippi as a kid I remember the Klan knocking on the door spelling out how we were to vote and what would happen if their Democratic candidate lost. Days of old, just being replayed.

The chutzpah of threatening to pull the license over a fiction movie needs further scrutiny. This is approaching abuse of power and a violation of the first amendment.

As always, anything goes when it comes to Democrats winning elections. Probably got their rigged voting machines ready to go.

I have already contacted Se... (Below threshold)

I have already contacted Sen's Frist and Allen and ask that they take the dimwitted democrats to task tomorrow for this show of communism in the name of the United States Senate. I will also request the Justice department to investigate the possibliliy of arresting each and every one who signed the letter threatening a private business. I am no fan of ABC but am a fan (and 22 Yr member of the military) of free speach and the freedom thousands have died to protect. Threats are a criminal offense and not protected by any congressional privilege.

Geez, Lorie, knock it off! ... (Below threshold)

Geez, Lorie, knock it off! You're KILLING the grand illusion we veterans here have crafted of this grand, all-knowing RepubliKKKan conspiracy that runs the site! Don't make me tell Karl Rove on you -- those weekly checks can dry up mighty fast!

Whoops... I forgot that KR is all-knowing and all-seeing. He already knows...


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

First of all , only the government can impinge on 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.

Hugh-Please explai... (Below threshold)
Brian the Adequate:


Please explain how current members of the US Senate threatening a private group (ABC/Disney) with government action is not a de facto government action?

Your buddies over at the DKos or DU threatening to boycott ABC and/or Disney is not and could never be censorship. Sen. Reid and friends sending ABC a letter (on Senate letterhead and clearly indicating they were doing so as US senators) demanding changes to the program with the threat to the broadcast license of the company is an attempt (apparently sucessful) to censor the program.

Brian:Please speci... (Below threshold)


Please specify the specifics of your statement: "......threatening a private group..."

What threats were made? What "government action" did they mention in the letter? Did they use the words "government action" or any other words that could be construed that way? Where in the letter do they make a "threat" to ABC's broadcast license?

I read the letter maybe you should.

Were the democrats actually "threatening" ABC with "government action" as you claim how could they? Who has the majority in the Senate? Who has the majority on the FCC? How specifically could the "democrats" carry out such a threat?

Stop being silly.

My God, the Dems want to 'c... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

My God, the Dems want to 'crush dissent'. Isn't getting the Gov't involved with Free Speech going to send a 'chilling effect' over freedom of expression?

The Dems favor Censorship. Who knew?

Does the ACLU support the Dems position on this?
Can we get a statement from them on this?

I dunno why I'm taking Hugh... (Below threshold)

I dunno why I'm taking Hugh seriously, but I did the one thing he couldn't seem to do on his own and went to the donkey's mouth and read the actual letter. Please note I am taking excerpts, but have included the link to the source so folks (including idiots like Hugh) can see for themselves if I am distorting them by taking them out of context.

"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."

Simple, clearly stated:
Demand: don't air the show.
Followed immediately by:
Reminder: their continued existence as a broadcast network is at the whim of the federal government.
Implied threat: accede to demand or we will exercise that power.

"Frankly, that ABC and Disney would consider airing a program that could be construed as right-wing political propaganda on such a grave and important event involving the security of our nation is a discredit both to the Disney brand and to the legacy of honesty built at ABC by honorable individuals from David Brinkley to Peter Jennings. Furthermore, that Disney would seek to use Scholastic to promote this misguided programming to American children as a substitute for factual information is a disgrace."


"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."

Reminder #2: Congress can take you off the air if you do what you intend to do and ignore our demands.

"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."

Reminder #3: "free use of public airwaves" as long as the government will tolerate it.

"We look forward to hearing back from you soon."

Don't even THINK of blowing this off.

That's the translation of the key elements, after they've been run through the "legalese extraction filter."


Dang, missed the last part:... (Below threshold)

Dang, missed the last part:

"Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid
Assistant Democratic Leader Dick Durbin
Senator Debbie Stabenow
Senator Charles Schumer
Senator Byron Dorgan"

Note that the first two names are the top two Democrats in the Senate -- and if the Democrats take that House back, they will be two of the most powerful men in Washington. These are NOT people to casually piss off.


Hugh,For example:<... (Below threshold)


For example:
Your IP address is logged here at the site with each post. That IP address indicates where you visit the site from. Futher, it's your responsibility to your employer to only use your computer for work related business. I can imagine that your employer would't approve of you spending time posting on political sites and would probably be shocked at the number of your post.

You'll note that the above is just a series of observations. There's no explicit threat. There is, however, an implicit threat just like the one in the letter the Democrats sent ABC. There's a big difference though. The Democrats who are making this threat are speaking as representatives of the government which makes this threat an attack on the 1st Amendment. Yes, censorship through coercion is still censorshop. And of course, the Democrats don't have the majority but as the liberal media and the Democrat commentors here enjoy pointing out, the mid-term elections are less than 2 months away.

Now, stop playing stupid.

It's disgraceful that Reid ... (Below threshold)

It's disgraceful that Reid and co. implies a threat to ABC. However, ABC should, out of principle, thumb their noses at Reid and band of Stalinist censors.

1. If they pulled their licence (therefore shutting them down) the public would be outraged.

2. Before that would happen, ABC would be in federal court faster than you could say "First Amendment"

ABC should know all that, already.

Personally, I probably won't watch it. I don't have time. Hollywood and the TV world always take a lot of license with stuff. Get over it.


Mike and Jay: ... (Below threshold)

Mike and Jay:

Oh please.....

With all due respect you see things through your own glasses. You see implicit or inferred threats, I see nothing of the sort.

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.

Les:Really? That's... (Below threshold)


Really? That's for the enlightenment.

Fascinating observations, M... (Below threshold)

Fascinating observations, Mike.

What say you, Hugh? Would you object if I did a little research into some of those records and logs?

Since I'm not the government, it can hardly be considered "censorship..."


I'm just a dumb demo Jay, d... (Below threshold)

I'm just a dumb demo Jay, don't know what you mean in that last post.

By the way, are you Bill Reilly in disguse? "What say you" sounds eerilt familiar.

Last time I looked, the fol... (Below threshold)

Last time I looked, the folks who are in charge of the airwaves was the REPUBLICAN Congress. So, what exactly, are you guys worried about?

Gee, Dems can't possibly ga... (Below threshold)

Gee, Dems can't possibly gain control. No chance of that, apparently.

And it's nice to see that, apparently, libs would have actually have believed mob bosses were worried about somebody busting up a guy's store. I mean, they didn't threaten. They just said it'd be a shame if it happened.






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