Political Speech Double Standard of the Day


You won't see me

Care of the Miami Herald's great Glenn Garvin (Reason archive here):

[A] big television network schedules a dramatic miniseries that takes a critical look at a popular presidency. Rapacious corporate interests intervene, pressuring the network to cancel it. What happens next?

Well, if the popular president is named Reagan, then America's political progressives revolt against censorship, insisting that the marketplace of ideas can't be ravaged by megacorporate leviathans. Another network steps up—the series airs! The First Amendment triumphs.

But if the popular president is named Kennedy, the story ends differently. Very differently.

Read the whole tawdry thing here. Follow Garvin on the Twitters here.

NEXT: ObamaCare and the Deficit

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  1. On the one hand, I’m sad this was shot down because I like Greg Kinnear. On the other hand, I giggle in glee because I can’t stand that vapid Katie Cruise.

    1. Who is vapid again?

  2. What could they possibly disclose that we don’t already know? Bobby’s bisexuality?

    1. Curtis LeMay and JFK were sharing a bed with a nubile Cuban dissident while Bobby filmed from the closet and Jackie was polishing Kruschev’s shoes in a Soviet gray jumpsuit.

        1. “LadyBird” Johnson was behind the JFK assassination as she secretly desired Jackie for herself.

          Teddy suffered from a long gestation version of mad-cow disease which he acquired in the Swiss Alps while avoiding service in Korea.

          JFK Jr. was a functional moron who used his good looks to obtain a pilot’s license.

          1. JFK Jr. was a functional moron who used his good looks to obtain a pilot’s license.

            “C’mon, I’ll fly you around tonight over the ocean in this plane I don’t really know how to fly. You know what sucks about being a Kennedy? Nothing! “

          2. What nonsense. Joe DiMaggio fired the actual shots in the assassination, and the Mr. Coffee franchise was the payoff.

            1. Re: Pro Libertate,

              “I did it for Marilyn, not for Mr. Coffee!”

              1. Possibly, but unproven.

    2. That JFK was killed by a Communist for his anti-Communist activities (including some American assassination attempts on Communist leaders, to be perfectly fair).

      Well, a lot of the establishment left would like to remain willfully unaware of that fact.

      1. Everyone knows he was killed by right wing hate!

        1. The Palin “crosshairs” map went back in time and killed him.

  3. Rapacious corporate interests intervene, pressuring the network to cancel it.

    What the fucking fuck?

  4. They can’t sell it to Fox?

    1. Re: Alan Vanneman,

      Who knows?

      [From the link above]

      Other networks sniff that the show just isn’t right for them. And progressives triumphantly take to the Internet to brag about their role in ideological repression: “We Won! Thanks to you The History Channel has canceled The Kennedys miniseries!”


  5. From the link above:

    If an interlocking set of personal and corporate interests were working in this way to kill a TV series critical of a conservative political figure, the chattering classes would fry their laptops denouncing it as censorship. That’s exactly what they did in 2003 when CBS, facing protests from supporters of Ronald Reagan, killed a miniseries that portrayed the former president as a bumbling, homophobic boob. In the outcry that followed, CBS’ corporate cousin Showtime aired the show and was roundly huzzahed for its heroic independence.

    Not this time. Barely a peep has been heard on behalf of The Kennedys getting a forum where it can be judged by an audience of people who don’t share its name. Other networks have quailed before the family’s economic and public-relations clout. Just as The History Channel did, they steer clear of actually criticizing the show on any grounds that could be debated, simply resorting to the vague defense that it doesn’t match their “brand.”

    The latest copout came from Showtime, so bold when it came to airing criticism of a conservative, so lickspittle when a liberal is involved. David Nevins, the network’s programming boss, said he had seen The Kennedys and wasn’t interested, even though it was “well acted . . . well-made and very watchable.” The only problem was that “it didn’t really feel Showtime.” [OM: Huh?]

    This is a network whose lineup includes a show about a heroic serial killer (Dexter), a heroic drug-dealing soccer mom (Weeds) and, soon, a heroic Hitler and Stalin. Showtime later this year is airing a 10-part “documentary” by leftist nutbag Oliver Stone titled Secret History of America. In multiple interviews last year, Stone promised his show would finally do right by Hitler and Stalin, who he complained “have been vilified pretty thoroughly by history” because of “the Jewish domination of the media.” If that’s what feels Showtime, maybe the producers of The Kennedys should count themselves lucky.

    Well, there you have it – “It’s not censorship when we do it.”

    As for Oliver Stone and his foray into revisionist history, I would probably feel the same way if I was tormented by the same demons that inform me about the “Jewish controlled media.”

    1. Sorry, “inform HIM.”

    2. I’m waiting for Oliver to interview Jared Lee Loughner.

    3. Well, Oliver, I think the Jews do have a bone to pick with both Hitler and Stalin. But maybe you’ll be abel to convince us that Hitler only killed “at most 600,000 Jews”, as a French Canadian client of mine once told me. A mere piker.

      1. Hitler only killed “at most 600,000 Jews”

        Oh, well, that’s alright then. Never mind.

      2. Yes, whether it was 600,000 or 2 million or 6 million, it’s a shitload of people that were rounded up and exterminated. The crazy thing is that in some countries you can’t even debate the 6 million number without going to jail. If you say you have evidence that it was “only” 3 million, your ass will get a visit. Totally crazy.

      3. Speaking of French Canadians and the Nazis, you might enjoy getting a copy of 49th Parallel: Laurence Olivier plays a Qu?becois trapper who stands up to the Nazis and pays for it in a scene that’s hilarious just because Olivier is all wrong for the casting, complete with ludicrous accent.

        The rest of the movie is quite good, too, and young Glynis Johns is hot hot hot.

        1. Indeed she is. My introduction to Glynis John’s was the Danny Kaye comedy ‘The Court Jester’. She most definitely got my attention.

    4. It isn’t exactly a “foray” if he is already firmly encamped in revisionistville. Remember “JFK”?

      1. Re: omg,

        “JFK” was revisionist history? I thought it was alternative history fiction. At least it played like it…

  6. The “progressives” view the Kennedys as royalty–“Camelot” and all that–ironic for a party that prides itself on being the champion of the “little guy”.

  7. Who gives a shit about the Kennedys any more? Seriously, who does? Massholes?

    1. Kennedy:liberals::Reagan:conservatives.

      Both were raging disappointments to ideologues of their day (Kennedy cut taxes and escalated Viet Nam), but the mists of time have made them gawds among men.

      The same will happen after Obama has been out of office a few years. Hopefully Nixon will also get his due once people forget about that little incident he was involved with.

      1. stupit colons

      2. Hopefully Nixon will also get his due once people forget about that little incident he was involved with.

        You mean the wage and price fixing?

    2. Was the Massholes comment really needed? There are quite a few of us from MA that are as tired of the Kennedy mystique as you. Do you really need to slam all of us?? Just asking.

      1. I’m from Connecticut, so…yes. Masshole is required.

      2. up yours MASSHOLE. but don’t listen to Epi, he’s just a scaggy Connecticunt.

        1. Do not fuck with Connecticut. We will screw you on your insurance premiums!

          1. Isn’t that Minnesota now?

            1. What’s going on in Minnesota?

      3. Tell me about it, Masshole.

      4. “Was the Massholes comment really needed?”

        Yes it was, and I know because I am in Boston.

  8. To threadjack a little, this idea of certain sacred cows of the left being radioactive was quite evident in the Ricky Gervais controversy from the Golden Globes. His send-up of the Hollywood elites was a beauty to behold.

    1. Yes! He definitely didn’t seem to care if his first hosting gig would be his last.

    2. Best. Comedic. Performance. Ever.

  9. I would hate to see the Kennedy name tarnished in some way.

    1. Water causes oxidation.

  10. Aren’t we blessedly free of any Kennedys in public office for the first time in over 50 years?

  11. Oh no, ideological hypocrisy? Can we just take judicial notice and not clutter our minds with further such events?

    Judicial Notice under the Federal Rules of Evidence: A judicially noticed fact must be one not subject to reasonable dispute in that it is either (1) generally known within the territorial jurisdiction of the trial court or (2) capable of accurate and ready determination by resort to sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned.

  12. What brand? The channel seems to consist of bad reality TV and UFO shows. They should probably just give up and change their name.

    On second thought maybe it doesn’t fit their brand because it’s just too historical.

    1. Pawn Stars is pretty solid.

      1. I sort of hate myself for liking that show. It’s Antique Roadshow if the appraisers had tattoo sleeves.

      2. What, it’s about Chess???

  13. Doesn’t match the History Channel “brand”? Excuse me, but I just spit out my lunch. You mean the brand that includes, “Mayan Doomsday Prophecy”, “Seven Signs of the Apocalypse”, “Gates of Hell”, “Stan Lee’s Superhumans”, “Holy Grail in America”, “Pawn Stars”, “Swamp People”, “Nostradamus Effect: Hitler’s Blood Oath”, etc., etc. Yeah, I can see where it wouldn’t be a match. Oh, and Disney, How’s that “Path to 9/11” DVD coming? Just checking.

    1. “How’s that “Path to 9/11″ DVD coming? ”

      Still looking for a way to link Sarah Palin.

    2. Hey! I L-O-V-E Pawn Stars! That show rocks!

      (The other shows stink to high heaven or are boring like watching paint dry.)

      1. Hey, Swamp People is fun.

      2. Modern Marvels vindicated itself by doing a show on whiskey.

  14. Sounds like maybe the Kennedys are pressuring people not to air, but I don’t see how that translates to all liberals. Like we’d really give a shit if JFK was shown being the womanizer everyone on earth knows him to have been, or whatever the problem is.

    1. Re: Tony,

      Sounds like maybe the Kennedys are pressuring people not to air, but I don’t see how that translates to all liberals.

      What? Are you spotting a blood libel there?

      1. I’m saying Garvin is seeing liberal conspiracies under his bed. I would never be so stupid or crass as to use that term, though if you like I can hold a candlelight vigil later on for all the horrendous tragedies that have befallen Sarah Palin, such as people criticizing her.

        1. Re: Tony,

          I’m saying Garvin is seeing liberal conspiracies under his bed.

          It’s not a conspiracy when it is right there in your face.

          I would never be so stupid or crass as to use that term[…]

          You would be crass or stupid if you tried to order the Grand Slam at Denny’s by saying “I want the Blood Libel, please!” Instead, you would be spot on if people accused a whole segment of the population of encouraging mass killings just because they espouse ideas that you don’t like.

        2. Yes, Tony, it appears to have been Kennedy family members that actually pressured the History Channel to drop the series but where is the outrage from liberals about this suppression?

          The way I read Garvin is that it’s their silence he’s criticising.

          1. I think the relevant constituency is not liberals, but people who want to see Katie Holmes continue to do nothing to advance her career.

            1. Re: Tony,

              No need for her to advance her career any further, as I already saw her tits in The Gift. What’s left after that?

              1. Lawsy, I done saw that the other night and it was turrable! A cacophony of bad southern accents mixed with tedious cliches such as pedophilia leading to insanity and patricide. I had hoped for better from Sam Raimi.

                Coincidentally, it featured Holmes and Kinnear.

        3. Nobody said liberal conspiracy. Garvin was pointing out liberal hypocrisy. Different thing.

          1. Hey! Liberals don’t do hypocrisy. Much.

  15. Let me try…

    All you ever hear are the bad things about Hitler and Stalin. Everybody knows they were bad anyway so what harm could it do to? Besides, maybe it is in the interest of fairness to explore all perspectives. They did, after all, have huge followings. Who is Showtime to say that the viewpoint of all those people were just flat wrong just because they are now a minority? It is good to give the minority a voice.

    Kennedy, on the other hand, fully deserves his air of noble perfection. To suggest he was perhaps flawed is just tawdry because of the identity of those who want it to be true. This is just the super rich Republicans trying to destroy the unions. There is no virtue in exploring a possible truth if its implications might further enfanchise the white majority. The majority needs no voice. And, after all, he was shot, which may never have happened without the vitriolic rhetoric of the the corporate right.

  16. Yeah, but Reagan was so fucking stupid. And his idiot wife consulted astrologers, for Christ’s sake. What ever their sins, the Kennedys were intelligent and cool. But that’s the right/left divide, isn’t it? Vapid morons on the right vs intelligent rascals on the left. And leftists are generally better looking. How may of you think that right-wing inferiority is genetic? That’s the most plausible explanation to me.

    1. Re: Max,

      Max, H&R’s pet yorkie.

      Here, Max! Here, boy! Go fetch! That’s a good boy!

      No! No, no, no! Bad Max, bad! Don’t do your banalities on the carpet, I just had it steamed! Bad Max!

    2. Re: Max,

      What ever their sins, the Kennedys were intelligent and cool.

      The death of Mary Jo Kopechne and the links to organized crime notwithstanding…

      1. Nothing says cool like drunk driving. I mean really hard to be cool and not get busted for it.

      2. Nobody is perfect. Big people–big virtues and big faults. Fucking little right-wing twits have wangers as little as their brains, so they fuck as small as they think.

        1. Re: Max,

          Nobody is perfect.

          But as long as they are “intelligent and cool” in your estimation, no issue there, right?

          Big people–big virtues and big faults.

          That’s what they said about Mao – big man, big famines.

        2. Like it’s Teddy’s fault that MJK never took swimming lessons! Haters!

    3. Brilliant Max, you have the intelligence of an elementary school cheerleader running for student president.

    4. Wait. I know this. I’m supposed to pick the intelligent rascals, right? I mean, left. Aw, hell, I lost it now.

  17. The History Channel admitted in a statement on the cancellation that “the film is produced and acted with the highest quality.”

    Judging by 90% of what’s on THC now, this is the furthest thing from an endorsement. Maybe they killed it because it didn’t involve a Sasquatch (insert Steve Smith joke here), alien abductions or the Bible Code. I’m guessing if it was the story of the Kennedys running a pawn shop, it would have been green-lighted.

    1. The Kennedys running a pawn shop could be the great sitcom ever.

      1. A sitcom based on Grey Gardens could be a lot of fun.

  18. So what I have never understood is why people are so fond of JFK. I mean it seems to me (was not alive at the time) his presidency was a complete disaster. Bay of pigs, Cuban missile crisis, Vietnam escalation. Lots of big screw ups. Civil rights and the space program only worked out once LBJ took over. Seems like he may be one of the worst presidents in history to me.

    1. YOU LIE!

    2. “So what I have never understood is why people (the media) are so fond of JFK”

      He was a democrat and had charisma. He was the Obama of the 60’s. Did I mention he was a democrat cause thats really the key to understaning the media obsession.

    3. He got shot without finishing a single term. That’s why people like him. THey can imagine all the great stuff he would have done.

      1. It’s a long list!

    4. When I was young and JFK was assassinated my mother, told me you watch they will make this moron out to be the greatest president ever. I was shocked that my mom knew what she was talking about.

      1. There’s nothing quite like an assassination to make your career. ML King would not have his own federal holiday if he had lived to old age. He would be remembered as but one of many in the civil rights era.

  19. Yeah, but Reagan was so fucking stupid.

    Nobody who has read his correspondence and writing can believe this. Ergo, this opinion is a sign of either ignorance or malice.

    Its Max, so I think its probably both.

    Nobody is perfect.


    Big people–big virtues and big faults.

    Oh, fer gawd’s sake. The Kennedy clan is borderline superhuman now? What “big virtues” exactly?

    1. Oh, fer gawd’s sake. The Kennedy clan is borderline superhuman now?


    2. they were BIG people – striding the land like the giants of yore. If only he had lived to pursue that vision of human perfection! /gag

    3. “The Kennedy clan is borderline superhuman now? What “big virtues” exactly?”

      Well they were able to raise the dead in Chicago – and get them to vote for JFK.

  20. Wouldn’t the plural be Kennedies?

    1. The plural is Kennedi.

  21. Alternate Headline: a crap political drama get lots of free publicity on the internet.

  22. And a year wasted learning how to drop the Rs!

  23. … there’s this little thing called “the free market.” Showtime is a private corporation that can do what it wants, and doesn’t have to be forced into some bogus affirmative action to satisfy a group of wingnuts. Of course, if there were a libertarian anyone on this board, you would know that.

    1. 1. Depends on the role of the Kennedies in preventing its airing.

      2. Also, it speaks to how some people (here on the Team Blue side of the field) who regard themselves as defenders of open political discourse in reality just see it as a tool in their political toolshed, to be conveniently tossed aside whenever it doesn’t suit their purposes.

      3. And importantly, no one here thinks government should force THC to show the miniseries.

      4. Drink.

  24. the way patriarch Joe Kennedy used his bootlegging wealth

    Joe Kennedy was not a bootlegger.…..ging-myth/

  25. Good column, but …

    the way patriarch Joe Kennedy used his bootlegging wealth

    Joe Kennedy was not a bootlegger. Daniel Okrent thoroughly debunked this legend in his Prohibition book.

    This is a network whose lineup includes a show about a heroic serial killer (Dexter), a heroic drug-dealing soccer mom (Weeds)

    Garvin really expects his readers to be morally outraged by Weeds? Revoke his libertarian credentials please.

    1. Oh, OK, so Joe Kennedy wasn’t actually a bootlegger, he was just a corrupt political hack that was able to use his connections to get around prohibition in a way that no one else in America in those days could.

      Glad you cleared that up for us.

      1. Or alternately, a successful entrepreneur slandered by partisan hacks who didn’t like his children.

  26. If Showtime and HBO won’t show it, why not Starz (owned by Liberty Media which is controlled by John Malone who sits on the board at Cato, IIRC)?

  27. Sorry, but when I see reference to “the Kennedys”, my first thought is still the DKs.

  28. I am so frakkin sick of the Kennedies, I wish they would all just die!

    Woops…. was that in bad taste today?


    (Yeah, I live in the PRM – the People’s Republic of Massachusetts – and what Indiana Jones said of the Nazis, I say of the Kennedies: “I hate these guys”)

  29. What ever their sins, the Kennedys were intelligent and cool.

    Clearly Max has had the good fortune to never have met any of the Kennedys. Or perhaps he means “intelligent and cool like me.”
    Either way, intelligent, cool, and Kennedy aren’t words that any honest resident of Massachusetts under the age of 85 can see grouped together and keep a straight face.

  30. Wait, so it’s Reagan’s fault that Caroline Kennedy knows how to play hardball?

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