October 17, 2004

Scorching Sinclair Censors

Any writer who trusts in the literacy of his readers sufficiently to cite Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange is likely to get a mention here. And in this case it is clear that such a citation is exactly why Thomas Mitchell of the Las Vegas Review-Journal excoriates those on the Left who want to censor Sinclair Broadcasting's upcoming news special on John Kerry.
Even though the Sinclair officials have invited Kerry to appear and discuss the film, Sen. Reid and his fellow government censors dismissed that out of hand as a ruse and mewled: "Equal time rules exist for a purpose -- to prevent the airing of one-sided political content without equal response time given to the opposing view or candidate. In this case, it is impossible to imagine how the equal time rules would be satisfied if this plan is allowed to go forward."

That is called prior restraint, senator, and has generally been much frowned upon by the courts. How does anyone know whether the broadcast will be unfair or one-sided until after it has taken place? Never mind that many of the 24 percent of the nation's households that can even access one of Sinclair's stations probably receive it via cable or satellite and not over the people's public airwaves.

That does raise an interesting question -- for those ho receive the signal via cable rather than the airwaves, how does this differ from the Sundance Channel's stream of anti-Bush propaganda. I don't hear any of the would-be censors of Sinclair calling for a stop to the broadcast of Uncovered: The Whole Truth About The Iraq War that is set for tonight, nor of any of the other items in their October anti-Bush film festival. Why does the Sinclair broadcast rankle so, but not the ongoing partisan pap from the left?

Mitchell goes on, making it clear how little faith these political commisars have in the American people.

[T]o listen to the apoplectic Democrats, you'd think every voter in America, like Burgess' Alex, was going to be doped up, strapped down, with eyelids clipped open and forced to watch "Stolen Honor" until they are so brainwashed that the very sight of John Kerry would induce physical revulsion. This does considerable damage to the First Amendment guarantees of free speech and press, while ignoring the concomitant concept that the informed voter is perfectly capable of sifting through the chaff of lies and distortions to find a grain of truth.

As I've pointed out elsewhere, no one will be forced to watch this broadcast. Granted there will be preemption of some regularly scheduled features, but that is a matter between Sinclair and the viewers of its various stations , and the networks with which they are affiliated. Unless, of course, these worth office holders think that Americans are too lazy to change the channel, too ignorant to know the difference between truth and falsehood, and too stupid to be allowed to govern themselves without guidance from their ideological "betters".

Check out his conclusion as well. If you stop and think about it, that might stop the censors in their tracks.

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