CBS is whining about censorship, throwing in the 9/11 trump card to back up their point:
Broadcasters say the hesitancy of some CBS affiliates to air a powerful Sept. 11 documentary next week proves there's been a chilling effect on the First Amendment since federal regulators boosted penalties for television obscenities after Janet Jackson's breast was exposed at a Super Bowl halftime show.This is completely ridiculous. The insinuation that a documentary must utilize foul language to be "powerful" is completely idiotic. There's no "proof" of any effect on the First Amendment whatsoever -- what there is proof of is that CBS wants a license to run whatever they want, whenever they want. People simply don't want to see Janet's boob, or hear f-bombs on TV.
"We don't think it's appropriate to sanitize the reality of the hell of Sept. 11th," Franks said. "It shows the incredible stress that these heroes were under. To sanitize it in some way robs it of the horror they faced."
I don't think anyone is expecting them to change the words. But simply because the firefighters uttered foul language in shock and horror at what was happening doesn't mean CBS gets a free pass to repeat it. You don't even have to add bleeps -- just cut the audio to eliminate language that voilates the FCC policies. The rules exist. Don't break them and there won't be a problem.
Franks said it was an easy decision not to edit the language in the documentary, especially since it has won a George Foster Peabody Award, among others.Ah yes, once something wins an award it is immune to editing. I see.
The fact remains, if something is against the FCC's regulations, stations are still free to run it. They just have to face the consequences in the form of fines.
If the people of the United States were concerned over this egregious "chilling" of the First Amendment, they'd let us know. As it is, the people are the ones complaining about inappropriate language on TV, from the mouths of heroes or not.