What, Me Censor?


As Nick notes below, some 20 ABC affiliates have been spooked by the FCC into nixing a Veterans Day airing of Saving Private Ryan. I spotted a particularly choice quotation from one FCC spokesperson in the AP report on that decision:

Janice Wise, spokeswoman for the FCC's enforcement bureau, told The Hollywood Reporter the agency had received calls from broadcasters asking if the film would run afoul of the rules. Wise said the commission was barred from making a prebroadcast decision "because that would be censorship."

"If we get a complaint, we'll act on it," she said.

See, they don't want to censor anybody, heavens no. So, in effect, they say: "Take your chances; we'll only tell you after the fact whether something you've aired will garner you a hefty fine." If, in light of that uncertainty, stations opt not to take any chances, well, the FCC can always say that was the stations' choice: They weren't "censoring" anybody.