Friday, September 08, 2006

And What of WKRN?

You can’t sit there as ABC and say, 'Gee, we don’t have any responsibility.'... They should make a good faith effort to get this as close to the facts as possible…They can’t claim it’s just entertainment. This is going to have an impact on the national political scene.

- - Bob Kerrey, 9/11 Commission Member

Josh Marshall is reporting that several ABC affiliates around the country, upon receiving protests about ABC's fiction, "The Path to 9/11," are responding that they do not have a choice but to air the mini-series.

And what of Nashville affiliate, WKRN? It would be understandable that WKRN (Channel 2) might not be able to refuse if it were owned and operated by ABC, but it is merely an affiliate and it would seem to have the choice whether to air the program. I e-mailed WKRN's General Manager last night and requested that the local station not air "The Path to 9/11" so that Channel 2 might avoid the appearance of helping to politicize 9/11 during an election cycle.

He has already said that Channel 2 intends to air this potentially divisive program and he encourages us just to change the channel if we don't want to watch. He compares a politically biased portrayal of the greatest terrorist attack on American soil to Ellen DeGeneres' sympathetic portrayal of a personal decision to come out-of-the-closet. I think that such a comparison is false. The contrast between a deadly catastrophe politicized to score ratings points (and influence an election?) and a public expression of personal identity could not be more stark. And yet, GM Mike Sechrist refuses to distinguish between the outcry now and the outcry then.

I encourage readers of Enclave to contact WKRN at phone numbers: 615.369.7266 (programming) or 615.259.2200 (main) or 615.369.7222 (main). Ask politely, but firmly that it not air "The Path to 9/11" mini-series to be shown by ABC on September 10 & 11. WKRN recently disappointed me with their slant to the right in the hiring of Steve Gill as the exclusive source of political commentary on the station. Passing along right-wing propaganda in the form of a network "docudrama" would only further erode WKRN's credibility as an impartial media source for some of us in its viewing audience; for what it's worth.

09/10/2006, 12:10 a.m. "No Savvy There, Either" Update: No Silence Here's Michael Silence linked my post and charged that I favored censorship for encouraging people to call WKRN and ask them not to air the mini-series. It is ridiculous to conflate organizing citizens to call with government crackdowns on free speech. Calling public pressure on media "censorship" basically invalidates any power citizens might claim while trying to influence the media at all. He's trivializing the seriousness of true censorship by defining it so broadly. We'll just refer to it as "playing the censorship card" from here on out. And that goes for Glenn Reynolds' own rubber stamp, too; I prefer "non-idiot" rubber stamps.


  1. They do have the option to remove the show, but I would hope you wouldn't advocate that.

    Yeah, its inaccurate and may even be a flatout lie, but freedom of speech extends even into network television.

    I wrote today on a similar experience I had back in january when I worked for an NBC affiliate. 'The Book of Daniel' was loathed by conservatives but we decided not to pull it because everyone has the freedom to change the channel.

  2. I'm not advocating that the government curtail ABC's freedom of speech. I think that if ABC cannot be responsible in portraying such an emotional-laden event factually, then WKRN should not air it on public airwaves. It has nothing to do with their freedom of speech. It has to do with their public responsibility to be either impartial or balanced, and the right of television consumers to make clear to television corporations what kind of product they demand; in this case, the product is nonfiction.

    The Book of Daniel was imaginary; it was even set in a fictional town. PT9/11 is based on a factual commission report and factual reportage about a terrorist attack that happened 5 years ago. PT9/11 is less about social mores and more about national security. They could not be more different in scope, and in comparison, apples to oranges.

  3. By all means the Clinton administration is always getting blasted in the Bush appointed MSM. There is no one left on CBS, CNN, ABC, NBC, MSNBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post, USA Today, the LA Times who would ever dare say anything out of context about the current President.

    This is yet another example of how Shrub is putting the screws in on the Clintons. Just like the Nazis:

    When they came for the Jews I said nothing, when they came for ABC affiliate stations I said nothing, when they came for me there was no one left to say anything.

  4. I guess there's been a change of heart when opposition to F911 and the Reagans were decried as censorship.

    Seems like ideals are only good as long as they're politically useful.

  5. Somebody is not reading what I actually write.