By Sarah Carlson, Copy Editor
I Am The Enemy
On Veterans Day, an average 7.7 million watched the uncut, unedited and R-rated Saving Private Ryan on ABC, even though 66 of ABC’s more than 220 affiliate stations, nearly one-third of the country, pulled the movie out of fear of indecency fines from the Federal Communication Commission.
The FCC slammed CBS affiliates with a record $550,000 fine after Janet Jackson exposed herself during the Super Bowl halftime show, a reprimand television stations are being all-to-careful to avoid. According to MSNBC news, the FCC could impose a fine of up to $32,500 on each station that aired Ryan. It ruled that U2’s Bono’s using an expletive at the 2003 Golden Globes was indecent and profane, a ruling in direct contrast with its previous stance that took the context of the profanity into account, as in whether it was deliberate or gratuitous.
That the FCC has this much control in scaring media with indecency fines shows that its regulations and censorship have gotten out of hand. That the media succumbed to that fear shows the state of our blindly politically correct society.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a former prisoner of war in Vietnam, introduced the film, and parental advisory warnings were aired periodically throughout the broadcast of Stephen Spielberg’s Oscar-winning film that opens with a violent depiction of D-Day and portrays the harsh realities of war.
ABC aired the film in its entirety in 2001 and 2002. It’s interesting they aired the film when America wasn’t at war, but now that we’re in Iraq, with Americans dying by the day, we can’t stop and recognize the brutalities they face. Profanity and violence in war are allowed on the battlefield, but how dare you make us watch it on TV.
To quote Frank Rich of The New York Times, “In our new politically correct American culture, war is always heck.”
The 2001 and 2002 airings garnered audiences of 17.9 million and 8.9 million, respectively. Obviously, the audience this year would have been larger had it not been pulled from so many stations. In all three airings, according to Nielsen Media Research, children between the ages of 2 and 11 made up 4 percent of the viewing audience.
Nearly the entire audience this year-7 million out of 7.7 million-was over the age of 18, with the largest segment over the age of 50.
By these statistics, it seems the commission needn’t worry about young children viewing indecent material during primetime television hours. If an 8-year-old is watching what they want to watch at 8 p.m. by themselves, then that is the issue at hand-not whether or not the program should be on television in the first place.
Adults should be allowed to decide what they themselves are old enough to watch. Parents should do the parenting-not the government.