Friday, September 15, 2006
Hypocratic hypocrisy + a question of how far the first amendment should go
I refrained from discussing the Path to 9/11 bruhaha, because, simply put, I was disgusted by the sheer hypocrisy found on both sides of the debate. Let's sum up the situation: a docudrama aired on ABC on 9/10 and 9/11 about how 9/11 happened, and this docudrama featured allegations that Clinton could have done more to have stopped 9/11 from occurring. The docudrama supposedly let the audience infer that, given the USS Cole and other attacks, Clinton ignored the threat of Bin laden. There was one disputed scene wherein Defense Secretary Sandy Berger supposedly turned down getting Bin Laden. The Democrats went crazy from this. In fact, the Dems not only sent angry petitions flying about, there was a threat to pull ABC's broadcasting license for airing this. In response, ABC edited the film with regards to that particular scene in question. I want to add that Sandy Berger claims the scene never happened, but given this is clearly an issue of public concern and also dealls with a public official, it would be up to Berger, should he sue for libel, to prove not only that the event never happened, but also that ABC either knew it was false, or was negligent to include the scene. This is a VERY high bar to bass. Normally, I would be up in arms over this censorship - and I am always against censorship, but I cannot be particularly upset about this one, because, frankly, I am sick of the total hypocrisy surrounding docudramas. Three years ago, CBS filmed a docudrama called The Reagans. There was a similar bruhaha over that one, except this time, it was the Republicans who cried foul. Eventually, Viacom, parent company of CBS, aired the show on Showtime. In both instances, the networks gave into public pressure. In both instances, a form of censorship prevailed. In both instances, one political party was decrying the attempts to censor the public debate by the other political party. In other words, this is a case of completely hypocritical hypocrisy. Yes, the Republicans did not threaten to pull CBS's broadcasting license, but let's be real - there was little to no chance that the Dems would have succeeded in their threat, and furthermore, there is the special circumstance of this airing right on 9/11, and interrupted by Bush's speech. Still. The situations are rather similar, and to both the Dems and Repubs, I say what goes around, comes around! The situation is rather different, however, with regards to the TV docudrama that recently aired at the Toronto Film Festival - a docudrama involving assassination of Bush. James Brady, who suffers as a permanent cripple from the attempted assassination on Reagan's life, blasted the film. He said that it might inspire a real life copycat - and you know what, he's right. This is a question for all of us to ponder. How far should the first amendment go? Should it be accepted as part of our national dialogue that it's okay to assassinate the president? At what point does speech actually equal an open threat? Is this film something that should be allowed in America? I leave it to you, dear Culture for All readers, to ponder that one.