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[P]
"Politically Incorrect" dropped by DC-area station

By pete in MLP
Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 01:57:14 AM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

The TV show Politically Incorrect was pulled "indefinitely" by the Washington, D.C. ABC affiliate, after the host, Bill Maher, agreed with one of his guests on a comment calling the U.S. "cowardly" for its previous responses to terrorism. This was partially in response to White House spokesman Ari Fleischer's comment, upon hearing about the incident, that Americans "need to watch what they say."


This was the second incident since the September 11 attack. From the article:

During his return show, Maher agreed with one of his panelists that calling the terrorists "cowards" was inaccurate because they had been willing to die for a cause they believed in. He went on to say, "We have been the cowards, lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away; that's cowardly."

A search through the Post also reveals these two editorials, one of which states that Fleischer's comment was left out of the official news conference transcript.

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"Politically Incorrect" dropped by DC-area station | 96 comments (93 topical, 3 editorial, 0 hidden)
Chilling reminder to stay quiet (4.45 / 20) (#3)
by truth versus death on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 10:55:45 AM EST

Ari Fleischer's comment, expanded, is especially ominous:

"There are reminders to all Americans that they need to watch what they say, watch what they do, and this is not a time for remarks like that; there never is."

This is from a Salon article called White House whitewashers. Mr. Fleischer has been an interesting White House press secretary to say the least.

"any erection implies consent"-fae
[ Trim your Bush ]
what is wrong with this? (3.40 / 5) (#45)
by anagram on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 01:45:27 PM EST

In a time when people are saying "bomb afghanistan back to the stone age" and "america deserved what they got" and where Mexican people are being beaten because they look 'iranian', what exactly is wrong with someone in authority telling people to calm down and shut the hell up?

Just because he's a press secretary doesn't mean his opinions are state policy.

[ Parent ]

What is wrong with this. (5.00 / 1) (#68)
by Ludwig on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 02:29:22 AM EST

Just because he's a press secretary doesn't mean his opinions are state policy.

When he's voicing his own personal opinion, that's true. Which is why press secretaries never do that. Ari Fleischer is the official mouthpiece of the Bush Administration, and anything he says can indeed be taken as a statement of policy. He doesn't give personal opinions.

How you interpret a call to silence dissent as advice to not go around beating up anyone with a beard is beyond me.

[ Parent ]

Can't we officially be DONE... (3.60 / 15) (#4)
by Anatta on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 11:23:31 AM EST

... with Hollywood stars telling us how to run the US? Does anyone take Kid Rock's economic policy seriously? Anyone really care about what Marilyn Manson has to say about tax cuts? The whole concept of the show is to bring out left wing actors/comedians/singers, and freaky right wing nutjobs like Ann Coulter, and the left wing (rightly) mocks the right wing. It doesn't exactly foster any real political discussion.

Policitally Incorrect is the last remaining bastion of the Hollywood-meets-politics mess that created Barbara Streisand's thoughtful letters on public policy, and Warren Beatty's candidacy. Let's end it before we start to pity it. This has nothing to do with the First Amendment (which solely focuses on Congress), it has more to do with the American public suddenly realizing that politics can be deadly serious.

In many ways, Mahr was correct in his statement, though it was clearly... not the right time... to say it. Here is an excellent commentary as to why Politically Incorrect needs to go the way of Hair Metal.
My Music

I'll just note... (3.00 / 3) (#5)
by pete on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 12:28:32 PM EST

...that I never once used the words "censorship", "First Amendment", or "Constitution" in the article. There is obviously more to this than just censorship, which is part of why I think it is frightening. Although I often think Chomsky is kind of wacky, I can't help but think of some of the examples given in Manufacturing Consent.

BTW: did you realize that your first paragraph is a paraphrase of the article you linked? Had you come to the same conclusion before you read it? Just curious; I don't even watch the show.

--pete


[ Parent ]
No Chomskyisms yet... (3.71 / 7) (#6)
by Anatta on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 01:18:47 PM EST

...that I never once used the words "censorship", "First Amendment", or "Constitution" in the article. There is obviously more to this than just censorship, which is part of why I think it is frightening.

I recognize that you didn't necessarily refer to that, however I have seen a bunch of articles claiming the First Amendment and censorship... to some degree, those on PI even spoke of it. I wasn't really speaking directly to you, but rather to all those who felt that it was somehow an attack on the First Amendment.

Although I often think Chomsky is kind of wacky, I can't help but think of some of the examples given in Manufacturing Consent.

Keep in mind that Mahr's ideas were aired. They were shown on the TV for the whole world to see, the sponsors became uncomfortable and ceased sponsorship, and ABC chose to continue running the show with no sponsors. It seems to me that this is the complete opposite of manufacturing consent (at least what I understand it to be). I have also seen a great deal of support among the mainstream press for PI. I see no signs of Chomskyisms at the moment.

BTW: did you realize that your first paragraph is a paraphrase of the article you linked? Had you come to the same conclusion before you read it? Just curious; I don't even watch the show.

I used to watch the show quite a bit... it frequently frustrated me; I consider myself a libertarian, and while I can agree with Mahr on issues like drugs and religion, I strongly disagree with him in other issues. I also wonder where on earth they get their right wingers... they seem to bring in the head of "Focus on the Family" or Jerry Falwell or Ann Coulter or some other fool that should know that no one there (including me, usually) agrees with them. You never see (for example) an editor at Reason Magazine -- a quite sensible right winger. I like economics, but listening to people who have no idea what supply and demand are discussing the finer points of tax cuts can be humorous, but they certainly add little to the debate.

For the most part, I came to the same conclusion as Jonah Goldberg before I had read his essay... though I think he phrased things much more effectively than I could have.
My Music
[ Parent ]

Re: (2.66 / 3) (#15)
by pete on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 08:00:58 PM EST

Keep in mind that Mahr's ideas were aired.

Sure, but what effect will this incident have on others in the future?

I consider myself a libertarian, and while I can agree with Mahr on issues like drugs and religion...

As do I...what I've seen of Maher reminds me of Dennis Miller. Accepts that government screws up everything it touches, but hasn't made the next leap to realizing that means we can't use it as an instrument to fix all of the things he thinks are wrong with society (education, health care, etc.).

--pete


[ Parent ]
Agreed! (3.75 / 4) (#19)
by Raunchola on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 12:23:48 AM EST

Shortly after the WTC / Pentagon attacks, I happened to come across MTV's TRL, where they had such luminaries as Jay-Z and NSYNC's Justin Timberlake offering their thoughts on the bombing, and how it concerned them. Of course, they could've had some of the rescue personnel down the street come in and offer their experiences, but none of them are banging Britney Spears, so that automatically disqualifies them. But let's keep in mind that the average MTV viewer can't tell you who Colin Powell is, but can tell you who Carson Daly's dated in the past four years.

Anyway, I agree with the question at hand. Who really gives a fuck what a movie / music / TV star has to say about public policy? Half of them don't really know jack about their chosen cause celebre, but opt to follow it because it makes them look good (look at Ed Asner's support of cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal). The other half just want to look smart.

If anyone really wants some real political insight, I suggest you get up on Sunday morning and watch Meet the Press. Sure, none of the panelists starred in a movie or have a CD in the Billboard 100, but I'll bet they have some first-hand experience in the topics they speak of.

As for Bill Maher, his left-wing whining got stale two years ago. Maybe he should just join up with all the other liberal whiners on Salon.com?

-
I am an American, not a "USian." Get it right.
[ Parent ]
shows how much you pay attention (2.00 / 3) (#31)
by tralfamadore on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 08:33:38 AM EST

if you actually watched the show you would realize that maher is and has stated he is a libertarian many times over. oh, but anyone from hollywood is liberal right? good job on the research, chumpy.

[ Parent ]
Liberal == left of center (2.00 / 2) (#55)
by n3bulous on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 04:35:17 PM EST

You can use whatever modifier you want, but generally liberal is anyone left of center. Libertarians are classified as in the left of center zone. There was a website out there that would survey your views and tell you where you stood in a graph. The graph, as I remember it, looked like an x-y chart with liberal on the -x axis, conservative on the +x axis, centrist at 0 and libertarian at (-1/2x, y).

Whether this is correct or not, I don't know. But libertarians are pretty liberal in their views.

Regardless, there is no "liberal" party just as there isn't a "conservative" party. The term is a general classification.



A fanatic is a person who can't change his mind and won't change the subject. - Winston Churchill
[ Parent ]
Libertarian != liberal (3.00 / 4) (#57)
by kelkemesh on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 05:29:24 PM EST

Sounds like you're thinking of the Nolan chart, where liberals have high x, low y and conservatives have high y, low x. Libertarians are high x, high y - no closer to liberals than to conservatives.

[L]ibertarians are pretty liberal in their views.

The usual formulation is 'liberal on social issues, conservative on economic issues'.

[ Parent ]

Nice, but not what I remembered... (none / 0) (#74)
by n3bulous on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 12:29:03 PM EST

I'm positive that it was an x-y axis with libertarians off to the upper left.

Anyway, the results are consistent: I'm a centrist :)

A fanatic is a person who can't change his mind and won't change the subject. - Winston Churchill
[ Parent ]
Politcal Compass (none / 0) (#80)
by n3bulous on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 02:26:51 PM EST

http://www.politicalcompass.org/

This is what I remember, except that I had the Y axis flipped.


A fanatic is a person who can't change his mind and won't change the subject. - Winston Churchill
[ Parent ]
Libertarians (none / 0) (#92)
by jdludlow on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 03:28:06 PM EST

The usual formulation is 'liberal on social issues, conservative on economic issues'.

Libertarians basiaclly believe in individual rights and a small constitutional government. You don't bother me, and I don't bother you. Things like charity are great, but not when you're using someone else's money under the threat of violence (i.e. welfare and taxes).

This is nothing like the current state of the Democratic / Liberal party. Please don't confuse Liberal and Libertarian, because they are not even remotely similar.

Probably the biggest reason that the Libertarian party can't get anywhere in mainstream politics is their stance on drugs. They believe that it's a person's own business to decide if they want to do drugs, and that just doesn't fly with the average voter. Of course, they also believe that those same people should be responsible for their own actions. (No government health plans and welfare for people who throw their lives away to drugs.)

Harry Browne was the last Libertarian presidential candidate. He writes some pretty readable essays and puts them up on his website.

-- Jim

[ Parent ]

Liberal & Conservative Parties (none / 0) (#69)
by Ludwig on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 02:43:07 AM EST

There's a Liberal Party on ballots in New York State, and they're supposedly in the process of forming a national party. New York also has a Conservative Party.

[ Parent ]
He might think so, but... (4.00 / 4) (#63)
by pete on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 08:53:46 PM EST

...his positions indicate otherwise.

--pete


[ Parent ]
Showbiz people are no worse than anyone else... (3.75 / 4) (#21)
by Obvious Pseudonym on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 03:24:45 AM EST

Policitally Incorrect is the last remaining bastion of the Hollywood-meets-politics mess that created Barbara Streisand's thoughtful letters on public policy, and Warren Beatty's candidacy. Let's end it before we start to pity it.

But what about Ronald Reagan's successful run for presidency or Clint Eastwood's successful run for mayor (both US) or Glenda Jackson's successful run for parliament or Giles Brandreth's successful run for parliament (both Britain)?

Do you think they are a mess too? What is to say that someone whose day-job is acting/showbiz has any less valid political opinion as a member of the public than someone whose day-job is, say, programming (which I guess counts for a lot of the people who post political opinion on this site)?

Obvious Pseudonym

I am obviously right, and as you disagree with me, then logically you must be wrong.
[ Parent ]

Darn straight! (3.00 / 3) (#26)
by brion on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 06:47:42 AM EST

Ahh, Ronald Reagan. Remember the Reagan/Bush years? When the US supported the Contras, Saddam Hussein, and Osama bin Laden with money, weapons, and training?

Yeah, I'd love to have prevented that, actually.



Chu vi parolas Vikipedion?
[ Parent ]
Inappropriate exposure (3.50 / 2) (#53)
by Licquia on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 03:51:12 PM EST

I think the problem with celebrity actor politics is the level of exposure it gets compared with, say, computer programmer politics, or hairdresser politics, or whatever.

None of these people are any more or less qualified to make political statements than celebrities. The difference is that Bill Maher isn't inviting computer programmers or hairdressers on to a nationally syndicated TV show to muse about their ideas. Celebrities already have way more access to media outlets than they "deserve" (according to some ratio of exposure to credibility); they don't need a show.

Some actors and celebrities have good ideas, and they deserve to be elected or listened to as much as computer programmers or hairdressers with good ideas. But celebrity is not an automatic sign that the person has a clue, no matter what shows like Politically Incorrect tell us.

[ Parent ]

It's the entertainment "business" (none / 0) (#72)
by Wah on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 10:37:09 AM EST

But celebrity is not an automatic sign that the person has a clue, no matter what shows like Politically Incorrect tell us.

But it is an automatic sign that people will watch them spout whatever opinions come to mind. Really, P.I. can't be taken too seriously. You can't have a coherent debate with 5 people and breaks every 10 minutes. But you can get lots of people to watch it...unless of course the host is, gasp, Un-American.

Anyway, I originally heard about this from a retired colonel, so you can guess what his opinion was.
--
Information wants to be free, wouldn't you? | Parent ]

Sort of agree (none / 0) (#93)
by blang on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 03:56:51 PM EST

I have no problems with the Hollywood bunch getting airtime. I've seen PI a few times, and evry time was a disappointment. They ussully dig up a comedian, a politician or author, and a couple more showbiz people, and have an informal discussion around 2-3 topics that Bill has chosen from recent paper clippings.

The goal of the show is to get a couple of laughs, and give people a sense of being on the cutting edge of public opinion. It's aimed at a part of the population that wants to say "we're more sophisticated than the rest, we're the free thinkers". For the most part, the program fails on both parts.

I never heard a really politically incorrect statement from Maher or his guests. The best they could come up with was flat jokes, that were mostly based on lack of knowledge on the subject at hand. The program has been criticized in media some times, but only after Maher had managed to open mouth and insert foot, and saying something he didn't really mean.

I personally call the program "Trying to be Politically Incorrect". I've seen Maher do stand-up work, and he did much better political commentary in that format.

The whole case says more about the TV stations and their target audience. When PI, which is as harmless as Mr Rogers, is too hot for the public, I kind of doubt that public has the stomach to take on a full war. It looks like even war serves the purpose of instant gratification and feelgood-ism for these people.

This last controversy is only based on the fact that Maher & CO couldn't come up with the right words for someone willing to do a suicide killing. About every week you read a story of someone going postal and killing random people, collegues, family of friends, and finish by killing themselves. It's not called courage, it's called madness. The postal guys do it in the spur of the moment, or plan it over time. Some got some fix idea or other. Some are just fanatics. These people can be driven by all sorts of forces, and religion is one of them. When they're in a group, they may even act out of what they believe is their duty.

Someone firing a missile do it because it is their duty. If you are up close the two things seem very different, but if you step back and watch it from 40000 feet, the results are the same.
-- What would Brian Boitano do?
[ Parent ]

Free Speech Works Both Ways (4.26 / 26) (#7)
by WombatControl on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 01:30:31 PM EST

While Bill Maher whines about "censorship" from these stations who have dropped his show, he misses the whole point. These is no right to have your views heard. You have a right to speak them, but no one is required to listen. There certainly is no right for television stations to give you their valuable time to state your views.

The fact is, PI has been sinking in the ratings for years now. Bill Maher is, to be blunt, not at all funny. Ever since the impeachment he's been bitter and petulant, and it shows in the program's ratings. I agree with the previous poster who says that whole premise of the show reminds me of why anyone who is in Hollywood should simply shut up about politics. When Sara Jessica Parker, who has more money in the bank than I have bits on my hard drive, whines about how the government won't pay for her mom's health care, I honestly wonder if one's SAG card requires one to turn in one's brain. It's not discourse on public events, it's a sideshow of ignorance and vanity. If it goes off the air, then good riddance to bad rubbish.

As for Ari Fleischer's comment, it was inappropriate, but was said in an off-the-cuff way and does not represent any real policy. To infer that it does is simply giving it more credence than it deserves.



Amen (2.00 / 2) (#66)
by lordsutch on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 11:21:28 PM EST

The fact is, PI has been sinking in the ratings for years now. Bill Maher is, to be blunt, not at all funny. Ever since the impeachment he's been bitter and petulant, and it shows in the program's ratings.

Amen to that; the nice thing about his show earlier on (when it was on Comedy Central) was that for the most part he kept his politics out of it. Once the host on such a show moves from moderator to advocate it's very hard for it to remain watchable. To some extent, Jon Stewart had been falling into the same trap (yes, we get it, GWB is a boob... enough already).

As for Maher's politics themselves, they are so muddle-headed that they make no sense. He calls himself a "libertarian" yet most of what he says is the same old big-government anti-market claptrap with a few pro-civil liberties sentiments thrown in.

Linux CDs. Schuyler Fisk can sell me long distance anytime.
[ Parent ]

oh bullshit (none / 0) (#73)
by crayz on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 11:54:11 AM EST

Maher is a civil-libertarian and a liberal. Yes he calls himself a libertarian, yes he's wrong, so what? It's a semantic error, there's nothing muddle-headed about his politics except for the fact that you personally disagree with them. Well who gives a fuck? I disagree with much of what he says too.

The fact is, for the most part he is good at getting intelligent people on discussing inteligent topics, and providing a good laugh now and then. He is running a talk-show that has more insightful things to say about this whole mess than CNN or anyone else on TV most of the time. Letterman, while I love him dearly, had Dan Rather on saying they hate us because we're free and because they're nutcases. PI is far better at reaching for the true causes.

And yes the show was better on Comedy Central, I think mainly because there were less commercials, it was an hour long, and they ran it live(no bleeping). Also Indecision '96, especially with Chris Rock's reporting, was pretty close to the funniest thing I've ever seen on television. But the show is still one of the best on television, whether you like Maher's politics or not.

[ Parent ]
Publicity is publicity (4.00 / 10) (#8)
by Scandal on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 03:15:16 PM EST

The fact that he got pulled will probably do more good for his show (assuming you like his show) than a million silly ads.

Amusingly, he's also right. It takes zero courage to push a button and fire a missile at an unseen target; it's quite a bit more a test of mettle to carry out a year-long plan with the goal being one's death.

NOT THAT I'M JUSTIFYING THEIR ACTIONS!

But think about it... let's pretend for a second that these guys weren't merely "religious nutballs". What would it take for *you* (assuming you're also not a religious nutball) to be willing to kill thousands of people and yourself?

I don't think "courage" is the right word for their actions, but I don't have a better one. An angry man might look courageous, but he's probably just too furious to consider the danger he's in.

*Scandal*


An ambitious proposal? (3.33 / 3) (#27)
by jcolter on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 06:55:42 AM EST

I am not knocking your comment in any way I think it is right on. However, you do not have to say that you aren't justifying their actions. No one is accusing you of that (at least I'm not).

We need to stop playing defense on issues like these. "While I abhor child pornography", "while I hate to see encryption used for terrorist actions", and "while I'm not in any way anti-Semitic".

I didn't blow anything up, neither did you. Your comments made no mention of supporting them. There is no need to defend yourself!



[ Parent ]
But there is... (3.50 / 2) (#29)
by codemonkey_uk on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 07:50:44 AM EST

In the current atmosphere you do absolutly have to explicitly state these things proactivly, or defend youself for days afterwards.
---
Thad
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]
yeah, you sure got yelled at (3.33 / 3) (#32)
by jcolter on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 09:37:48 AM EST

I am of course not trying to play down the fact that if you state something like in the manner that I suggested, you will often times be yelled at. (And boy did they yell at you) What I was trying to do was make a more general statement about the way we often handicap ourselves by admitting that it's legitimate to think of us as sympathizers of murders, when we are in fact arguing policy/politics etc...

[ Parent ]
Courage (3.80 / 5) (#34)
by BigRedZX on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 10:16:45 AM EST

"It takes zero courage to push a button and fire a missile at an unseen target"

Zero?

Only to a complete idiot. No matter how much you say it or see it in insipid Hollywood movies, killing people can never be easy for anyone who isn't completely stupid or utterly evil.

It may seem like nit-picking, but do you think you could sleep knowing that you killed someone? For the right reasons I could do it, but I'm pretty sure that while my hands would be clean my concience would be filthy.



[ Parent ]
I disagree (3.00 / 1) (#36)
by Desterado on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 10:24:03 AM EST

Courage and how easy something are is completely different. It's extremely easy for me to poison one's food, but I dont have the actual couragesness to do something of the sort. While I do see your reasoning, I have to dissent. I could EASILY turn my back and tell someone to bomb a country. It's not that hard..firing the missile is.

You've got the flag, I've got your back.
[ Parent ]
Firing the missle (3.00 / 3) (#40)
by bored on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 12:52:51 PM EST

Even so, the people put in charge of the 'button' have been tested to be the sort who will act without to much thought. They simply respond to the command, they are capable of moving a lot of the 'guilt' onto the people who gave the command. Even then, its unlikely that they directly see the results. The pain and suffering from the missile strike is abstract and sanitary, its not like shooting someone accross the field and watching them moan and scream as they die. The people in command, their thoughts are even more abstract, they simply see the goal and the costs associated with it.

[ Parent ]
Hmm.. (3.00 / 4) (#60)
by Desterado on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 07:12:23 PM EST

I'll definitely concur to that. The American public doesnt want a thinker, they want someone who acts quickly. Whether or not the decision is rational makes no difference.

You've got the flag, I've got your back.
[ Parent ]
bah (2.50 / 6) (#9)
by regeya on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 03:32:30 PM EST

I heard a Taliban member make the same statement before Maher did (um...actually, I didn't see the show) and I, to my surprise, wholeheartedly agreed. Not that I agree that suicide runs are a sign of great intelligence, but I happen to agree.

When I saw the title, I wondered if it had something to do with the fact that one of their guests was on the flight that slammed into the Pentagon (okay, help me out...just who was she the wife of? I can't remember.) I don't ordinarily watch the show (uh, past my bedtime or something) but I thought it was rather touching that they left a chair open for a week out of respect for her.

[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]

Barbara Olson (4.25 / 4) (#24)
by David Hume on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 06:15:03 AM EST


okay, help me out...just who was she the wife of? I can't remember.
Barbara Olson (see also New York Times obituary) was the wife of Theodore B. Olson, the 42nd Solicitor General of the United States.


The is-ought problem.
[ Parent ]
Bill Maher vs. Ellen DeGeneres (3.66 / 6) (#10)
by dr k on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 03:38:13 PM EST

A more interesting discussion would be to contrast the more socially oriented issues surrounding Ellen's on-air lesbianism from a few years ago. While the topics are different, the situations are similiar: topics uncomfortable to many Americans, being addressed by "entertainers" (a fairly low form of rhetoric), on shows that are already suffering from low ratings.

When and if Bill's show gets cancelled, the pundits will say it was because the ratings were bad, not because of one particular issue - "it deserved to be cancelled long ago." But, oddly enough, this is usually only ever said about shows which confront some controversy of the day.

In the wake of Ellen's sexuality, has the sexual atmosphere of primetime sitcoms been altered? Will television politics be affected by Maher's blunder? By making an issue of it, we've already opened the door to real political discussion about war and America's questionable practicies in recent years.
Destroy all trusted users!

Personal Opinion (4.00 / 3) (#13)
by John Milton on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 07:16:33 PM EST

I didn't watch Ellen before she admitted she was gay. I didn't watch ellen after she admitted she was gay. It didn't matter. The show just was not funny.


"When we consider that woman are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should Treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." -Elizabeth Cady Stanton


[ Parent ]
moot (3.66 / 3) (#16)
by dr k on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 08:06:40 PM EST

Well, there's a strange opinion: You didn't watch the show before or after said event, yet you know the show "just was not funny." Okay, I may be taking your claim a little too literally, you may have watched it once - that does not change the fact that you at some point formed an opinion about the show (most likely derived from a third party), and you are aware of the "issue" raised by the show.

So let me say this: it is the blanket ambivalence of the American people that makes the thought of democratic censorship a real and credible threat. "It doesn't matter to me, I am not interested in that, whatever it is." You should not be surprised when someone calls you on that statement, because if you really didn't have an opinion, why the fuck did you present one?
Destroy all trusted users!
[ Parent ]

I watched Ellen a little, and it just wasn't funny (3.60 / 5) (#18)
by thenick on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 11:06:41 PM EST

If we learned anything from Ellen, it's that homosexuals can be just as unfunny as heterosexuals. That series was a stinker, and the reason that Ellen wasn't cancelled earlier was the incident. The writers milked the topic to death.

I hate to tell you, but democratic censorship on TV is here. It's called the Nielsen box. If people find things boring or uninteresting, they choose not to watch it and lower the Q rating. I don't have a problem with this. At least this way we can stop the Networks from coming up with more piles of shit like Ellen.

As for Politically Incorrect, this show used to be a balanced social forum when it was on Comedy Central, but became a "beat up on the conservative wacko" show after a while on ABC. Maher made a visible switch from being a centrist Libertarian to a left wing nut. The shows guests went from 2 conservatives and 2 liberals to 3 liberals and one nutty conservative who was there to piss off the other guests. I still watch it, mainly to see how much it can piss me off. I won't miss it much when it is gone, though.


"Doing stuff is overrated. Like Hitler, he did a lot, but don't we all wish he would have stayed home and gotten stoned?" -Dex
[ Parent ]
Bill, art, politics (3.50 / 2) (#64)
by dr k on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 09:39:03 PM EST

My original point was that "the issue" is the most memorable aspect of the show - it is unfortunate for "the issue" that the show was also not very good. But the planet of sitcoms is a vast wasteland. Name 3 other short-lived sitcoms from the mid 90's. They, too, were probably not funny.

I think the Comedy Central shows were somewhat more interesting because Bill hadn't made up his mind about all the issues yet. He wasn't concerned about maintaining a specific position, and spent more time encouraging the guests to speak. But what he never realizies is that entertainers (or artists, you might say) usually have really stupid political views. They don't think deeply about politics because it isn't their job.
Destroy all trusted users!
[ Parent ]

I don't feel that the show was censored (3.00 / 2) (#62)
by John Milton on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 08:40:46 PM EST

Of course I watched the show a few times, but it was boring every time. Of everyone I talked to, they all thought that it was boring too. No one that I knew of had a problem with the homosexuality aspect. The show was just boring. The problem with Ellen was that it was supposed to be a comedy, and it wasn't. I'm sure there were some people that didn't watch it on principle, but the vast majority of Americans will fudge on their principles for a good laugh.


"When we consider that woman are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should Treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." -Elizabeth Cady Stanton


[ Parent ]
How much time should be wasted (2.66 / 3) (#11)
by spacejack on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 07:13:29 PM EST

on deciding whether or not you can call someone "cowardly"? How much offense should be taken from such a statement? How malliable is the word? Why isn't this in the rulebook?!

Some links 4 u (4.62 / 8) (#12)
by ardeel on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 07:15:12 PM EST

Stuff about self-censorship in media, self-censorship by the public (encouraged, just a little, by propaganda). People didn't need much encouragement, did they? Here's a theory (purely scientific) as to why...

Not many people watched it anyway (3.20 / 5) (#17)
by wiredog on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 08:06:58 PM EST

It came on at around 11:30 at night on ch 7 here in the DC area. IIRC the ratings were lower than for Nightline. I think thet ch 7 was just looking for an excuse to drop it.

If there's a choice between performance and ease of use, Linux will go for performance every time. -- Jerry Pournelle
ok, now I'm officially shocked (3.90 / 11) (#20)
by locke baron on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 02:10:12 AM EST

What really does a spool-job on my grey matter is not that the show got pulled. I could give a futz less that Bill Maher (who's a schmegegge, IMHO) farted away airtime debating the cowardice issue (which is irrelevant anyway).
What bakes me it the reason for its pulling. 'Americans need to watch what they say'? Hello! WTF? This is ridiculous. What about 'free speech'? This is not a case of clear and present danger. What shocks me even more, is that nobody here is ranting about that particular element...

Is K5 collectively stoned?

Micro$oft uses Quake clannies to wage war on Iraq! - explodingheadboy
Loose lips sink ships (2.50 / 2) (#43)
by darthaggie on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 01:25:59 PM EST

What bakes me it the reason for its pulling.

You do understand that if it gets pulled, it'll be due to the fact that no advertiser is going to touch the show? that people who might otherwise watch the show are pissed and watching something else?

'Americans need to watch what they say'? Hello! WTF? This is ridiculous.

Loose lips sink ships, bub. Apparently, it also torpedoes careers. Too bad for Maher, but it was his words that are doing him in.

If anything, the comment from Ari may cause ABC to keep the show going longer than it would.

I am BOFH. Resistance is futile. Your network will be assimilated.
[ Parent ]

Only if you've got secrets. (3.66 / 3) (#56)
by Happy Monkey on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 04:44:04 PM EST

Loose lips sink ships, bub.

That really only applies to people who know classified information. Maher wasn't saying anything that would put anyone in jeopardy. The people who should really watch what they say are those in power, whose offhand remarks have much more power than the most emphatic statements of a late night debate show host.

In my opinion, what we have here is a case of "fighting the last war." I think that many officials are playacting at World War II, where the government cracked down on the media, and pushed out propaganda. It would almost have been tantamount to treason to state the simple fact that Hitler was a remarkable public speaker. We don't live in that world anymore, and we should be wary of any official who seems to be moving in that direction.
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
It's not about free speech. It's about tact. (3.33 / 3) (#44)
by anagram on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 01:26:15 PM EST

Did the government prohibit rebroadcasting of Maher's remarks? Did they arrest him? Did they announce that no American can call the armed services cowards?

No, all Ari did was to urge caution in what we say and do. There is a great deal of emotion and anger, which makes people say and do unrational things that they normally wouldn't do. Maher called the US cowards, which was basically a kick in the nuts to the American people when they are already down. People got angry, crappy TV shows lose sponsors, careers get ruined, etc.

Why is it wrong for someone in authority to remind people to use some tact in times of crisis?

[ Parent ]
Exactly... tact. (4.00 / 4) (#47)
by Rand Race on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 02:00:44 PM EST

Why is it wrong for someone in authority to remind people to use some tact in times of crisis?

Because he himself did so with a monumental lack of tact. His statement comes off as a threat when spoken by the White House's mouthpiece so he should have been more judicious in his choice of words especially given his position of authority.


"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

Good point. (none / 0) (#48)
by anagram on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 02:36:23 PM EST

But I heard that those particular comments don't appear on the transcripts of the press conference, so I would view them as statements of opinion and not forebodings of any restrictions on future rights.

[ Parent ]
some elaboration (2.00 / 3) (#22)
by luethke on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 03:58:16 AM EST

To quote from the white house transcript
There are reminders to all Americans that they need to watch what they do, and this is not a time for remarks like that; there never is.
the white house says transcription errors and that would be consistent. Adding the line watch what they say is no worse thatn watch what they do (saying something is doing something). The transript is here

Also that statement, while inappropriate, does not neccassarily mean censorship. For the most part he is right - not the best thing to stand up and say. From a political standpoint it was bad for maher and other public figure who critisize things in that way. It could be taken anywhere from "friendly" advice to watch out, big brother is coming.

The Mouth of Bush (4.00 / 5) (#23)
by PresJPolk on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 06:14:19 AM EST

I have not discussed it with the President, one.

I'm aware of the press reports about what he said. I have not seen the actual transcript of the show itself. But assuming the press reports are right, it's a terrible thing to say, and it unfortunate. And that's why there was an earlier question about has the President said anything to the people in his own party. There are reminders to all Americans that they need to watch what they do, and this is not a time for remarks like that; there never is.

This is Ari Fleischer's statement on the matter (with emphasis added by me). Now, Fleischer is the White House Press Secretary, not some random staffer. When Fleischer is acting as the Mouth of Bush, he's not in a position to speak his mind, or give friendly advice. Notice how he starts off by pointing out he hasn't spoken with Bush on the precise matter.

However, he draws on other things he has spoken with Bush about, and other statements Bush has made, in making the comments. He states that "there never is" a time for remarks like Maher's. Not just now, but never. This shows a fundamental mindset in conflict with the First Amendment.

Of course, this is why we have a Supreme Court, and it's nice that it's a fairly respected one. If Bush were to try to do something to enforce this view that "there never is" a time for expression of views such as Maher's, Rehnquist and company would smash it back in his face, and that'd be that.



[ Parent ]
Audio recording still has the remark (4.80 / 5) (#25)
by Potsy on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 06:17:56 AM EST

It's worth noting that the audio stream of the press briefing still contains the "watch what they say" remark, even though the official transcript does not. Oddly enough, that uncensored audio stream comes directly from the official White House web page.

[ Parent ]
sorry, a real reason is still necessary (3.00 / 3) (#39)
by ethereal on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 11:35:16 AM EST

Why is he right? Why is it not the best thing to stand up and say? It's a personal opinion in response to a widely-made assumption that even a few moments' thought will show to be untrue. IMHO, Bill's right on this one - the administration has just been throwing around "cowardly" because of course the enemies of Oceania are cowardly, base, and vile, right? It's knee-jerk yellow politicking all the way from the top, in order to get the nation's hearts and minds in war mode, and Bill Maher called the Prez. on it.

And even if Bill's wrong about this in your opinion, why is it not the best thing to stand up and speak your mind? If it pisses off Ari Fleischer, so much the better :)

--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

The real reason is obvious (3.00 / 2) (#51)
by Licquia on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 03:12:28 PM EST

Remember, first of all, that Fleischer was responding to a hearsay version of Bill Maher's comments, namely:

...members of our Armed Forces who deal with missiles are cowards, while the armed terrorists who killed 6,000 unarmed are not cowards...

That is a terrible thing to say, especially just a few days after the attacks. As it turns out, it doesn't appear to be what Maher was saying. And Fleischer did qualify his comment by saying he hadn't seen the transcript of the show itself.

So, while the White House may have it in for Maher, one can't base such an accusation on this incident.

[ Parent ]

fair enough (none / 0) (#77)
by ethereal on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 01:44:51 PM EST

Given that interpretation, I can agree with his response.

--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

The Small minded and free speech (3.50 / 6) (#28)
by darkseer on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 07:37:37 AM EST

Just one more example of how much freedom scares some people. This is the perfect time for a comment like that. It inspires debate and represents the view of some portion of the public. Last I checked one of the things that made us strong is that we consider the opinions of many groups, from lobbiest to Mr. and Mrs. averagejoe in our governmental decisions. If his comment is that unpopular the general public will tell him to shut up and not watch. God forbid, what if a majority of the people agree, may this force the government in to action that is not in the "planned" war on terrorism. Maybe the ppl in power will be forced to listen to the voice of the majority correcting their actions. We have a voice, use it, at the very least our displeasure or affirmation to governmental actions is heard. Thisnk about it, if we weren't interested in controversy then why is Howard Stern so popular.

Fear makes one stupid (2.71 / 7) (#30)
by unsphered on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 08:25:54 AM EST

Fleischer was demonstrating how green the White House personnel still are - they are unused to crises of any sort, and they all operate at the whim of a little president whose entire bag of intellectual tricks seems to amount to the angry swagger of a simpleton. Given such leaderly parameters, a lot of abuse of what used to be our rights is going to be tried.

Meanwhile, broadcast media in this country has a habit of identifying with the leader and his values, and exercising them in the spin it puts on news. All of this is fear-based - they keep trying to find the center in order to sell more ads. This is the price of putting corporate hucksters in charge of the public's rights to say and to know.


One capitalist always kills many. ~ Marx.

watching what you say (2.50 / 6) (#33)
by superflex on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 09:58:35 AM EST

although Fleischer's comments are disturbing, they aren't untrue. considering the bullshit going on with people of middle eastern descent being harrassed, mosques being attacked, and the "bomb the arabs" sentiment that seems to be quite popular with certain ignorant people, do you really think it's wise to be voicing such an unpopular opinion on national television?

maher has the right to speak his mind, but he doesn't have the right to do it on tv.

True, but sad. (1.50 / 2) (#35)
by Desterado on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 10:16:55 AM EST

Unfortunately this country, so bent on protecting our freedom, the freedoms of religion, press, etc. Just happens to be a country which is so ignorant its not funny. I can say this here, because I know everyone here isnt an idiot. Maher is correct in what he says, Bush isnt the brave and courageous president, he picks up a phone, and says "Attack them". He doesnt actually run the investigations on the attacks. In this "great" country, voicing your opinion, no matter how correct it may seem, can come with deadly(literally) consequences. I will ALWAYS support Bill Maher, he is a smart guy, and he actually thinks invidually, unlike the other 99% of the world.

You've got the flag, I've got your back.
[ Parent ]
Well (1.00 / 1) (#38)
by Desterado on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 10:29:59 AM EST

Thats all.

You've got the flag, I've got your back.
[ Parent ]
I disagree (3.33 / 3) (#42)
by teeheehee on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 01:25:43 PM EST

First of all, your last comment:

maher has the right to speak his mind, but he doesn't have the right to do it on tv.

I disagree, wholeheartedly. Would he have the right to say it in a newspaper article, or on a website? I would hope so.... TV is just a medium, the same law, freedom of speech, still applies. If he makes a statement that is unpopular or scary, fine. We know something more about him. Just like it's legal to have KKK marches, despite what they actually stand for. At least we know who they are, and once they make themselves be known we can decide if we want to associate ourselves with them or not.

Now, it was his decision to make the unfortunate comment, which I missed, but I saw him explain it from his point of view on Leno after it happened. He made a judgement call, based on the hotbed-background of the show, which has always been known for voicing unpopular things. He was taking the advice of getting back to life as it was known before the events on the 11th, and he went as far as he normally would have. Problem is, everyone else isn't ready for that yet. Bad judgement call.

His comment was relating to previous actions of the U.S. Army in carpet bombing as a normal technique in these kinds of situations. Anyone who watches the show knows how much respect he actually holds for the military. He was comparing how the terrorists put themselves out there rather than throttle the joystick and push a few buttons, up until the time of ground invasion - which happens seldomly. That was HIS point...

I just like to see that there is some clarity in what happened before too many heated arguments ensue without full knowlege of his position.

Maher has a right to speak his mind, as does everyone else. And we all have the right to do it on TV as well.

Everyone also has the right to turn the TV off and read a book.

(Discordia) :: Hail Eris!
Everything you've just read was poetry and art - no infringement!

[ Parent ]
I disagree with your disagreement (2.50 / 2) (#65)
by dpease on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 10:34:29 PM EST

I'm not sure where you get the idea that Bill Maher--or any of us--is constitutionally guaranteed a television spot to say what he wants to say. Anyone crying censorship in this discussion is so far out of bounds they cheapen the term.

AFAIK, the Washington television station--like Sears and FedEx--made the decision to drop PI because they didn't want to offend people. You can have a problem with them for that (I think they're out of their respective gourds, but I'm one of the few people I know who doesn't have a huge problem with what Maher said in the first place) but they certainly aren't censoring Maher by dropping the show. On the contrary, they are by no means obligated to carry it.

Maher, like many others before him (Body Count comes to mind), has the right to say whatever he wants. If he wants TV time or column inches to do it, he'll be subject to the opinions of the people in charge of those outlets, and I fail to see how that's a bad thing at all.

[ Parent ]

I've said it before... (none / 0) (#70)
by Ludwig on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 03:17:20 AM EST

...but it looks like I'm going to have to keep on saying it:

"Censorship" is not solely the province of the government. The word is not that limited in scope, and can actually overlap a bit with "editorial discretion." The local station is suppressing Maher for content it considered objectionable, thus it is engaging in censorship. Nobody's cheapening the term, they're using it correctly. Just because censorship by a TV station or newspaper isn't as onerous as government censorship doesn't make it not-censorship.

[ Parent ]

Well, yes and no. (none / 0) (#81)
by dpease on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 02:48:56 PM EST

It's true that censorship can in theory be practiced by non-governmental organizations. But I don't think that's what is happening in this case.

Consider the definition: to examine in order to suppress or delete anything considered objectionable. The question is, objectionable to who, and in what scope? If the government tells you not to say something, there's no other reason for them to do so than censorship. There's nothing for them to gain but your silence.

The same is certainly not true for a business. When a TV station drops PI because Bill Maher said something dumb, and they're doing it as a business decision, in order to avoid offending their audience, I don't think the term applies. I can't guarantee that's what the station did, but it certainly seems that way.

What we are talking about, as others have said, is not censorship, but discretion. Again, lumping a private enterprise making what very well could be a business decision in with governmental decrees to not say this or that is a mistake.

[ Parent ]

Maybe it's just irrelevant? (4.33 / 6) (#37)
by wiredog on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 10:25:17 AM EST

Thw Weekly Standard has a piece on this.

If there's a choice between performance and ease of use, Linux will go for performance every time. -- Jerry Pournelle
This article is so wrong on so many counts... (5.00 / 1) (#89)
by mbmccabe on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 03:04:21 PM EST

Start with the author's criticizing one of Maher's guests use of the word didactic.

See the use and look the word up on dictinary.com. It's correct to the hilt.

The rest of the article is spent telling the reader how to think, or some oher tripe.

He's completely mischaracterized the situation and Bill's show.

The show is not about glitz and glam. It's not about trying to sell anything in particular. On TV - that's GOOD.

The suspension of the show from a station or some stations is patently due to sponsors leaving it. That's happend to a great many shows in the past. It's rarely to do with audience reaction.

In this case it'd have to be especially true: Politically Incorrect's fans watch the show FOR EXACTLY WHAT BILL'S BEEN GIVING THEM. The REAL side of issues and the REAL side of PEOPLE. Warts and all. It's been this way since I can remember. If one or all of the guests are idiots, that's okay. If bill says something you don't like, that's okay too. It is *honest*.

Lame article.

[ Parent ]
So what's the problem?? (3.28 / 7) (#41)
by JazzManJim on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 01:24:27 PM EST

Where is this censorship problem some of you are worrying about? It's not hard to understand what the President's spokesman was saying: We here can say whatever we wish, but we shouldn't always say what we wish. That's responsibility and intelligence at work. That's the companion idea to free speech: that, though we may say what we wish, much of what we wish to say shouldn't be said, because it's dangerous, inappropriate, or just stupid.

I'm not finding it difficult to understand the problem here, though I think others are taking it as yet another excuse to bash the Bush administration. That's a shame.


-Jimmie
"Hostility toward America is a religious duty, and we hope to be rewarded for it by God...I am confident that Muslims will be able to end the legend of the so-called superpower that is America."
(Osama bin Laden - 10 Jan 1999)
DC-area station shot itself in the foot big-time. (2.20 / 5) (#46)
by OldGuard on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 01:50:15 PM EST

A week or two from now, when everyone is calm, I hope that the half-wit who dropped the show gets canned for his/her kneejerk reactionist BS. That's the last thing the U.S. needs right now. It's truly disgusting. Perhaps the true cowards are the Censors.

As others have said (2.00 / 1) (#50)
by finkployd on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 03:04:27 PM EST

This is not by any means censorship. Bill Mahar can continue to say whatever he wants, nowhere does it state he has the right to be broadcast by every station though. His show sucks, his ratings show this, and he is being moved to worse and worse time slots. Perhaps this is just an oppertunity to cancel what was already going to be canceled.

Finkployd
Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
[ Parent ]
That's not the problem (none / 0) (#91)
by PhillipW on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 03:11:16 PM EST

The problem is that the White House released edited versions of the transcript of the show. THAT is frightening.

-Phil
[ Parent ]
I know it's a great excuse to bash Bush but . . . (3.83 / 12) (#49)
by billman on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 02:48:46 PM EST

As others have pointed out, this is not censorship. Much like driving, having a television show is not a Constitutional right, it is a privledge that can be taken away. I have heard many of Bill Maher's friends stand up to defend him calling FedEx and Sears who pulled their ads, censors. If FedEx or Sears pulled their ads from Pat Robertson's show after saying that gays, abortionists, etc. caused the WTC attacks, Bill Maher and his friends would be applauding them for standing up for what they believe in. Funny how the definition of censorship changes depending on what view you happen to take.

The real issue here (none / 0) (#90)
by PhillipW on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 03:08:02 PM EST

Is that the White House released edited transcripts of the television show. Looks like Bush has created Minitru.

-Phil
[ Parent ]
Spooky (3.66 / 6) (#52)
by gbd on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 03:17:33 PM EST

First and foremost, I would agree that we live in a free country; the freedoms that we are afforded include the right of television stations to decide what they will and will not broadcast. We also have the freedom to publically debate whether or not the station's decision was a good one. Ultimately, it will be the response from the station's viewership that decides if the decision was wise or not. If they get enough complaints, they may reverse it. It they get enough thank-you notes, they may never run the show again; things are as they may be.

The really sad thing is that Maher is (mostly) correct; he just went too far in his characterization. While I would not call anybody who joined the armed forces to defend their country a "coward", it is virtually impossible to argue that shooting missiles at targets from thousands of miles away is courageous. We engaged in similar behavior in the Kosovo conflict, flying our bombers at extreme heights in order to keep them out of the range of anti-aircraft guns and make them difficult to shoot down with surface-to-air missiles .. resulting in vastly less-accurate air strikes and several disastrous incidents of "collateral damage" (including one well-publicized mistake involving a busload of non-combatants.)

Now, don't get me wrong; I have no desire to see American pilots shot down, and I'm glad that not a single American life was lost during the entire Kosovo campaign. But what was the cost to innocent Serbian/Kosovar bystanders? It seems to me that if you're willing to commit your armed forces to a large-scale military offensive, you should be willing to accept the possibility of losses on your side. Perhaps we've been permanently spoiled by Operation Desert Storm, one of the most lopsided campaigns in the history of warfare. Perhaps we were scarred by the Vietnam War, and are no longer collectively willing to accept casualties in war .. now that wars are being fought on television in America's living rooms.

At any rate, if you wage a "safe" war by placing your combatants out of harm's way at the expense of civilian casualties, you are essentially decreeing that "our life is more valuable than your life." From a strictly military standpoint, this may be a credible conclusion. But by doing this, you open yourself up to perfectly valid criticism, and I for one find it decidedly sinister that agents of the government are actually suggesting that such criticism should suppressed. After all, this is America; it is not the Taliban. These things most certainly are open to debate. We can be single-minded in our unity and in our shared goal to defeat terrorism. We can all support our nation's leaders and our armed forces in this current campaign. We can do all of these things while engaging in the healthy debates that have kept America vital in its 225 years of existence. The founding fathers would have it no other way.

--
Gunter glieben glauchen globen.

Empire vs. Republic (3.40 / 5) (#54)
by orichter on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 04:16:46 PM EST

There are three possibilities:

1. The leftist press did not want the previous administration blemished, and/or (more likely),

2. The US has gone to war. We have always had policies of what is appropriate to talk about during wartime (look at WWI and WWII). This was not the case from the 1950's onwards but has been in the past. Or, another slightly less probable possibility,

2. The US is becoming Empire, no longer a true Republic. Your responsibilities under Empire are vastly different then under a Republic. You are a subject, er citizen, er, something different than what you are under a Republic. Your responsibility is to act as the Empire sees fit, since the Empire knows best, the Empire makes the rules. The Empire knows best what it is you should do, and what is best for you. You will be told what to do and how to act, and what to say, or not say. Pax Romanum, er, Pax Americanum.

Empire is not necessarily bad, just different. Your security will be primary, as the empire's security is primary. Your rights are obviously curtailed to protect the Empire, er, the people in the Empire.

If we are to become Empire we should now decide what it is to be like, and make our thoughts known.

We should decide what the Empire is to be like towards the rest of the world, towards our friends, and towards our enemies. We should require other countries to take a vow of allegiance and friendship to the Empire. The enemies of Empire should fear us.

Had this happened to the palace of the head of state in any Arab country the consequences for the people causing this within the country would have been terrible. They would have known that they would be wiped out. The people would have probably beaten any idea of such a thing out of anyone talking about terrorist acts because the people would have known that their entire city or region would be laid waste by the local imperial government.

But it has happened. Look at Egypt in the 1980's and look at Syria in 1983. Radical threats to governments there were ERADICATED. Let's not rehash the previous 1,400 years worth of Islamic-Arabic empires in the Middle East and what they did with terrorists and terrorism and the regions they happened in, or came from. The whole of the Balkan situation today can be attributed to the Turkish occupation and imperialist rule. I could go on, but you must read your history books to understand. (Don't just read one source, read many.)

They will consider us weak if we do not do the same. They should fear us. They say we (the US) are already an imperialist empire. No, we are not. No we have not been one, but we can become one, they will not like it if we do. They should fear us even more if we do become one.

Egypt has plenty of terrorists still! (none / 0) (#75)
by M0dUluS on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 12:53:24 PM EST

leftist press


Great! I didn't know there was one. Where can I get their national newspapers, TV shows etc? I look forward to seeing talking heads debate "Anarchy or Third Way Social Democracy: Which way forward?" and "America: Ending the Terror - How we should Overthrow the Capitalist Blair Government".

But it has happened. Look at Egypt in the 1980's and look at Syria in 1983. Radical threats to governments there were ERADICATED.

This is so untrue! Egypt has a HUGE anti-government, Islamic fundamentalist movement. It has derived much of its support precisley because the government has behaved in such an awful way. This is the history of terrorism - it is begotten by violence on the part of governments. Egypt is a complete powder-keg! It is one of the main bases for Hamas which was founded in Egypt in 1987! Numerous "Western" tourists have been murdered in Egypt as have government functionaries, soldiers and civilians - many but not all of these deaths are the work of the IG Gama'at al Islamayyia Brief description.
This is a pattern repeated all over the world. Client states supported/installed by the West use terror to suppress democratic movements which are "anti-Western" so those movements move further and further into terrorism.

"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]

Your are right... (none / 0) (#76)
by orichter on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 01:24:53 PM EST

You are right about Egypt they do still have many terrorists, though they tried to reduce them some during the 1980's.

As for the leftist press. Maybe and maybe not. But they (the press) did suppress the facts about our attack on Afghanistan by the last administration. They may be at work again in this case as well. We know that Clinton manipulated the media better and more completely than the current administration.

And, unfortunately, leftists are still around with the same misguided views that brought down the Soviet Union, and its communist allies, and produced all the 70 years of suffering that they perpetrated on their populace, and neighbors. They just prefer not to learn from mistakes, and ignore reality... oh, that's right, communist regimes cannot make mistakes, especially when they are dictatorships building the new utopia, just need that little bit more of reeducation and purging to get there. (Did that not fail during the French Revolution as well? The communists of the 1900's were forewarned by that.)

Why is it that leftists still insist that the West not be aggressive and protect their interests or even do something noble such as rid the world of terrorism, and promote freedom and democracy and prosperity, while the communists, human rights defilers, and terrorists should be left alone to do whatever they want to others?

Oh well... can't teach old dogs (leftists, communists) new tricks.

I prefer to believe that it was due to our thinking more carefully about what is said for security reasons. That also brings to mind the nation-state in control of the media however...

[ Parent ]
Leftist press (none / 0) (#78)
by M0dUluS on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 02:03:14 PM EST

But they (the press) did suppress the facts about our attack on Afghanistan by the last administration.


Agreed. And the last administration was a right-wing, capitalist, neo-liberal administration. Hence, a press that suppress information to the advantage of that administration is a right-wing press!

leftists are still around with the same misguided views that brought down the Soviet Union, and its communist allies


Oh. I thought that the fall of the Evil Empire was due to our support of torturers and murderers of various religious and nationalistic persuasions that wanted power in their own countries. What were those guys in Afghanistan called....freedom fighters?...no that can't be right..oh, yes! I have it now! The Taliban!. Evil murderers. Ours.

and produced all the 70 years of suffering that they perpetrated on their populace, and neighbors. They just prefer not to learn from mistakes, and ignore reality... oh, that's right, communist regimes cannot make mistakes, especially when they are dictatorships building the new utopia, just need that little bit more of reeducation and purging to get there. (Did that not fail during the French Revolution as well? The communists of the 1900's were forewarned by that.)

Agreed that State Socialists of any variety: Bolshevik, Trotskyist, Maoist, Castroist have abused human rights, been responsible for genocide, interfered in democracy in other countries. You're agreeing with me and wondering what the catch is right?........well here it is: leftist is a near meaningless term. It can be held to apply to Social Democrats, Marxist-Leninists, Trotskyists, Anarchists, Gramsciists. But the views of these groups are very different. In fact the earliest opposition to the Marxists was from Anarchists - especially Communist Anarchists who argued specifically against the Bolsheviks' move toward central state-control, "markets" and authoritarianism. They learnt and after being militarily thrashed by the Bolsheviks regrouped around the issue of Spain where the Bolsheviks in collusion with the Fascists and the "democracies" of Europe conspired to suppress them. Anarchists have learnt and won't make those mistakes again.

Why is it that leftists still insist that the West not be aggressive and protect their interests or even do something noble such as rid the world of terrorism, and promote freedom and democracy and prosperity, while the communists, human rights defilers, and terrorists should be left alone to do whatever they want to others?

Do leftists argue against democracy, freedom and prosperity? Do they argue against ridding the world of terrorism? I would like to see you cite some proof of this. I thought that "leftists" were objecting to the terrorism and absence of Democracy and Freedom and prosperity that is foisted upon most of the people of the world by the fascism that is supported morally and financially by the West?
Do you actually believe the rhetoric? This is fascinating.

Just out of interest, do you condemn the funding of the Contras by the US government? Do you condemn the support of the genocidal anti-democratic Turkish regime by the US government? Do you condemn the support of the Islamic extremist Saudi Arabian regime? Do you condemn the murders of union leaders in Latin America by Fort Benning trained terrorists?

Oh well... can't teach old dogs (leftists, communists) new tricks.

Oh well, some people find it easier to turn tricks than others. ;-)



"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]
On the fundamentalist radicals (5.00 / 1) (#79)
by orichter on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 02:26:25 PM EST

They do not promote democracy. The terrorists do not promote democracy. They would be eliminated by any true democracy. Yes force must be used to get rid of radicals. Then can democracy be built.

We have experienced this often enough in the West, but we have succeeded in many cases - look at Europe today. Though at a terrible loss from WWI and WWII. Most leftists, terrorists do not know what the US fought for. Don't want to know because it would upset their specialised illusory view of the world.

Look at the Balkans to see where it has not yet succeeded. Look at Islamic countries where it has not succeeded.

Until the tribalism is overcome and the national and international thinking is brought about by education, prosperity, ideals which pay heed to rights, this will not happen and may need to be brought about by foreign intervention. (Yes, that is what the West thinks will work.)

Look at the Marshall plan to see how it is done.

The Marshall plan is/was not imperialism by any means. It was a rebuilding and reform plan that worked. This thinking worked in Japan, Germany, Italy, France, etc. They are independent countries not always agreeing with the US. If anything that is not imperialism! The post communist eastern european countries (not the Balkans sadly) have also overcome the communist way of doing things and are now, guess what? Democracies by their own choice, capitalist by their own choice, prosperous, with human rights guarantees, by their own choice! Need I say more?

Something works here.

The communist/terrorist plans did not work, almost every one of the communist countries has become capitalistic. They have done much better on all fronts and most often without a dictatorship or foreign intervention. Communists tried to use foreign intervention themselves to extend their imperialist aims, and to keep their empire when they saw it failing. It ultimately failed because it was an imperialistic dictatorship, based on lack of human rights, based on invalid and outdated economic ideas, based on aggression, repression, and confrontation. All things that the leftists called the West, when in reality this is not the West, was not the West (in fact, they were talking about the communist regimes of the day without realising it, how duped they were, and still are).

As for the West causing terrorism, no I think not. People who were aided by the West in Afghanistan then chose to become terrorists and become what they are today. (They do it for money and power, because they want to rule someone, somewhere.) They have any number of false rationales. Some rationales are bold fictions, that the West caused them to suffer, no it was the Russians in Afghanistan, or later the many internal Afghan warring factions. They were ignored by the West which did not want to get involved in governing Afghanistan. (Yes, that may have been a mistake, maybe the West should have taken over, stamped out the rivalries, and installed a true democracy, and capitalist government of and by the Afghan people (notice I do not use tribal names?)

That the West wants to take over Islam and Arabs, no this is another fiction, the US and Europe do not care to govern the Islamic states or Arab states, instead the West is assuming that they can govern themselves.

That the West is running the governments that are "bad" (whether Islamic or not), no, this is incorrect since the West or the US does not run Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, etc.

Some rationales are religious, but they turn out not to be religious since modern day religions do not crusade (Jihad) against others. At least no Western religion has that power or motivation, the West believes in the separation of state and religion. Communism and Islamic radicals believe that they are and should be the nation-religion combined.

That because the governments in some Islamic countries are not democracies is because of the West is a fiction as well. The governments have been left most often to themselves, notice that when the Shah of Iran was overthrown, the US did not do what an imperialist would have done (massive intervention and suppression of the revolt from overseas, did not the Russians do this when the regime in Afghanistan started to topple?). The West may have allowed someone favorable to the West to take over but with the understanding that they would become more modern, more democratic over time. Did these rulers do this? Some tried, but many remained despotic or did not democratize.

Many did however, modernise. This modernization has caused problems since as the religious fanatics have seen their power over life and country wane they have become more forceful about going back to the old ways, no matter what hardships and chaos this brings back to their countries and people. They pine for the olden days. But those times are best left behind. The people want education, medicine, technology, prosperity, internationalism. What they don't want is religious repression, religous bigotry, religious suppression of human rights, religious propaganda, etc.

Radicals always have to repress and oppress their people because thay are always worse to the people than any democracy. They will always have a rationale for doing this. It is always a false rationale.

[ Parent ]
Freedom of Speech on Broadcast Medium (3.40 / 5) (#58)
by Yoshi Mon on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 05:30:22 PM EST

Since the inception of the Broadcast Medium, there have been government censors.

As George Carlin correctly stated, there are 7 words you can't say on TV/Radio. These words are deemed "offensive" to the general public and it is ILLEGAL to say them on the air. If you do, your license for broadcasting will be pulled.

I understand that this is a little bit different, and that there is no direct "censorship" of Bill Mahers ideas, however when you stop to think how easy it could be to pass a law in these emotinal times that would outlaw any ill spoken words on an already censored medium, it gets just a little scary.

The price of freedom is eternal valiance.



Really, I know what I'm doing...Ohhhh, look at the shiny buttons!
bad words (none / 0) (#67)
by ahabel on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 02:22:41 AM EST

As George Carlin correctly stated, there are 7 words you can't say on TV/Radio. These words are deemed "offensive" to the general public and it is ILLEGAL to say them on the air. If you do, your license for broadcasting will be pulled.

I heard the list was recently down to 3 dirty words. Which would be motherfucker, shit and cunt If I remember correctly.

[ Parent ]

I've heard at least two of the three on TV (none / 0) (#84)
by thenick on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 12:14:53 AM EST

Listen to the coin toss of a NFL game. Sometimes the microphones get a little too close to the players. I wonder if the Networks could get their license pulled for this.

"Doing stuff is overrated. Like Hitler, he did a lot, but don't we all wish he would have stayed home and gotten stoned?" -Dex
[ Parent ]
And not just by accident. (2.50 / 2) (#85)
by kelkemesh on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 12:22:02 AM EST

A&E's 100 Centre Street averages one 'shit' per episode, and their documentaries, especially on prison life, have the occasional 'fuck'.

Then, premium cable channels do seem to get away with more than the broadcast networks.

[ Parent ]

In other circumstances I'd sit back and laugh... (3.25 / 4) (#59)
by Lelon on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 06:37:43 PM EST

I haven't heard ANYONE who really understands Maher said (or more importantly, what he didn't say). And Ari "The Hammer" Fleischer has to EDIT THE TRANSCRIPTS OF HIS OWN PRESS CONFERENCES TO CONCEAL THE TRUTH. This is what happens when you get a government appointed to you. (btw, for those of you who are upset about the lack of links in this post, which really should have prevented it from being voted up, check out c-span.org ASAP to actually SEE what Fliescher said, as opposed to the transcripts, that are (were?) available at whitehouse.gov)


----
This sig is a work in progress.
I've talked about this enough (4.50 / 2) (#61)
by crayz on Mon Oct 01, 2001 at 08:23:06 PM EST

I'm pretty sick of talking about this right now(have been discussing it a lot on other stes). Suffice to say I watched the show, agreed with Maher when he said it, and think the response by the media and White House has been sickening. Anyway, I just thought some of you might be interested in a transcript of the show in question:

Politically Incorrect 9/17 transcript

o/t (none / 0) (#71)
by derek3000 on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 08:43:03 AM EST

This kind of stuff scares me a little. It's kind of off topic, but then again, Fleischer is basically telling us how we should react to our government's actions.

This is probably naive, but it's kind of sick the way the idea of a completely democratic nation got so twisted. We're really not even a democracy, just a republic.

It's f*#$@d up that anyone who doesn't want to see 1 million soldiers travel halfway across the world to track down 1,000 terrorists is looked at as 'one of them'. There's really nothing we can do about this if we don't like what's going on.

Even more messed up is the fact that the average American has to suffer for the actions of career politicians who brought this on us. I'm not saying that whoever did this was right, but they certainly weren't unprovoked.

It's paranoia, but I'd much rather be living in Canada or Iceland or Switzerland or wherever.

-----------
Not too political, nothing too clever!--Liars

Ann Coulter Fired By National Review For Views (4.50 / 2) (#82)
by David Hume on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 08:08:47 PM EST


As reported by Howard Kurtz at the Washington Post and Anthony York at Salon Premium, Ann Coulter was fired by National Review.

Coulter was fired for for the following reasons. In a column titled "This Is War" (which is also published on Townhall.com at this page), Coulter stated:
We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.
Those words created an uproar on the National Review web site, which refused to run a follow-up piece in which Coulter singled out what she called "swarthy males." Coulter began bad-mouthing National Review, which responded by firing her as a contributing editor.

Coulter remains unrepentent, telling Howard Kurtz at the Washington Post:
"If National Review has no spine, they are not my allies," Coulter said yesterday. "I really don't need friends like that. Every once in awhile they'll throw one of their people to the wolves to get good press in left-wing publications."
Coulter also said:
National Review Editor Rich Lowry and his deputies "are just girly-boys."
Further, on Maher's ABC show Politically Incorrect, Coulter accused National Review of having "censored" her by refusing to run the follow-up column.

In response, National Review Online Editor Jonah Goldberg said:
We didn't feel we wanted to be associated with the comments expressed in those two columns. We got a lot of complaints from sponsors and a lot of complaints from readers left, right and center. We've decided for editorial reasons we think are sound that we're no longer going to run Ann Coulter's syndicated column.
Goldberg also responded:
For Ann to go around screaming censorship is absurd. It's called editorial judgment, and there's a world of difference. . . . She's a lawyer. She should know better.
I'm very curious regarding how people on Kuro5hin respond to this.

Is the situation regarding Coulter the same as the situation regarding Maher? Do you react the same way? If so, why? If not, why not?

Does the substance, or content, of the statement make a difference to you in evaluating either situation?

In Coulter's case, did National Review improperly censor her, or did they properly exercise editorial judgment?

In Maher's case, has the Washington, D.C. ABC affiliate improperly attempted to censor him, or did it properly exercise its editorial judgment?

Are your answers regarding Coulter the same as your answers regarding Maher? If so, why? If not, then why not?


The is-ought problem.
One thing to bear in mind... (2.50 / 2) (#83)
by kelkemesh on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 12:10:00 AM EST

is that Maher just expressed an opinion about the definitions of courage and cowardice. Coulter advocated forcing a religion on people, presumably at gunpoint.

I may see Maher when he performs here next month. I wouldn't piss on Coulter if she were on fire.

[ Parent ]

Well... (none / 0) (#88)
by PhillipW on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 02:51:59 PM EST

Despite that I think what Ann Coulter said was a giant mass of stupidity, I don't know that they should have fired her for expressing her views. I am for allowing people to express their views, as moronic as they may be.

-Phil
[ Parent ]
Is this even news? (none / 0) (#86)
by Nelson on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 01:22:34 AM EST

I'm not sure what to make of this. The President's spokes person said that Americans need to watch what they say. This, is and has always been true. I don't see any censorship sabor-rattling in that. It's true too, true enough that Maher's statements were brought up in a presidential press conference; they were powerful enough statements that they pissed off enough people and raised enough eye brows to have Ari comment on them. That's saying something. So when asked, the President's office gave their opinion and they didn't it.

It's also worth noting again, the President nor his spokesman actully *did* anything about this. They simply said that the statements shouldn't have been made. Any action taken against Maher is independant of that. That's part of the deal with free speech in the US. You're pretty much allowed to say what ever you want and the public at large is allowed to judge you and think what they will of you because of it. You're not protected in that way. If you go out and say you think having sex with little girls is the right thing to do you're probably not going to make a lot of friends and they might end your TV show. You say the wrong things on your CD and Walmart won't sell them, try to buy a Public Enemy CD at Walmart. You say the wrong things on TV and stations won't broadcast you, it's pretty simple and it's not censorship in the conventional sense. The government didn't act here. It's manufactured consent as Chomsky would say. It has to do with those who have money being more equal than others and that's a fact of life that has nothing to do with censorship, it's more of a flaw in the media as it shapes and works within our system. Maher knew that when he got in to the TV business and he has had a nice big podium to say his thoughts for a long time, as long as his show is popular it will be on TV and he'll get paid, when he says unpopular things that all ends, if he can't deal with that then he is in the wrong business. Like he was told, he should watch what he says.

news/censorship/et al. (4.00 / 1) (#87)
by mbmccabe on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 01:35:06 PM EST

The fact here isn't government censorship.

The fact is that nobody that needed to stood up for our Constitution and Bill of Rights.

For whatever reason, the ABC affiliate in D.C. and our appointed White House didn't think it worthy.

WE ARE NOT AT WAR. Invoking WWI or WWII type policies is without merit.

Look at both World War periods. Look at today. There are virtually no similarities in what has been perpetrated and what action will be taken.

Does elimination of free speech aid our country's cause in any way?

Is there a reasonable argument that says there's only one legitimate or legal way to think and talk about what's going on in the world?

If there is, then the terrorists already have won another battle witout even showing up.

[ Parent ]
What's the constitutional issue? (none / 0) (#94)
by Nelson on Thu Oct 04, 2001 at 08:47:35 AM EST

I just don't see where the constitutional issue is.

Something was said, the people who fund and enable that speech didn't like it so they withheld their funding and enabling capabilities. Maher is off the air at least 2 cities now.

What does that have to do with the constitiution or a world war or anything. That is the nature of business in the US.

[ Parent ]

Constitutional... (none / 0) (#96)
by mbmccabe on Fri Dec 20, 2002 at 12:59:06 PM EST

As you may know, the Constitution is the location of our Bill of Rights.

The rights described there, including that of free speech, are only ours if we assert [google.com cache] them.

[ Parent ]

"censorship" free stations? (none / 0) (#95)
by alkaline on Fri Oct 05, 2001 at 07:54:09 PM EST

You say the wrong things on TV and stations won't broadcast you, it's pretty simple and it's not censorship in the conventional sense. The government didn't act here. It's manufactured consent as Chomsky would say.

I agree with you on this, but it makes me wonder, why aren't there more stations that support freedom of speech in the same way the government purports to? Its unfortunate that at this time, people are more interested in making a buck (especially off all this excessive patriotism) than in spreading new or different ideas. Isn't the purpose of the media to inform people of things? We've all heard W's opinion of this whole mess, why aren't we allowed to hear others' opinions?

[ Parent ]

"Politically Incorrect" dropped by DC-area station | 96 comments (93 topical, 3 editorial, 0 hidden)
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