November 11, 2004


Some stations shelved 'Private Ryan' amid FCC fears (Ann Oldenburg, 11/11/04, USA TODAY)

At least 20 of 225 ABC stations said they wouldn't mark Veterans Day by airing Saving Private Ryan, the Oscar-winning Steven Spielberg World War II film. The pre-emptive move reflects TV's increasing concerns about indecency questions. [...]

Randy Sharp of the American Family Association, said in a posting at that Ryan's language — the f-word is used at least 20 times — is not suitable for children watching at 8 p.m. "It may be OK on the battlefield, but it's not OK on the public airwaves during prime-time broadcast hours."

The film, which won Spielberg the 1998 Oscar for best director, includes a bloody depiction of the D-Day invasion. ABC's contract with Spielberg stipulates that the film cannot be edited.

What are they doing putting an "R" rated movie on network tv during family viewing hours?

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 11, 2004 10:37 PM

Sgt. York! All I've got to say is "gobble, gobble , gobble!"

Posted by: H.D. Miller at November 11, 2004 11:18 PM

Can't have a movie that shows Americans fighting your Nazi friends now, can we, OJ?

Posted by: Bart at November 12, 2004 6:14 AM

Kids hear the "f" word everywhere. The problem is this film shows America and Americans being heroic. Might interfere with the brainwashing they get at school.

Posted by: erp at November 12, 2004 7:01 AM


I would prefer Stalingrad.

Posted by: oj at November 12, 2004 7:06 AM

Six years ago, NBC ran the uncut Schindler's List during prime time and that's got actual naked boobies in it.

Posted by: Governor Breck at November 12, 2004 7:31 AM

erp -

And the movie appears to show more American soldiers dying in less than three hours than have in three years since 9/11. Not helpful when you are trying to sell "quagmire" and "wrong everything" war theories...

Posted by: Moe from NC at November 12, 2004 8:54 AM

The stations should show Stolen Honor in its place. That would teach ABC executives.

No "f" word in there. But, it does use the word traitor, and out of the mouth of a real, live, amazing veteran of three wars.

Posted by: Randall Voth at November 12, 2004 9:15 AM

A Rockford IL affiliate showed "Born on the 4th of July" instead. Some viewers were not pleased.

Posted by: Rick T. at November 12, 2004 9:44 AM

There is no better film I know of than Private Ryan for conveying the sacrifices we honor on Veteran's Day.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at November 12, 2004 9:45 AM

Rent it. It doesn't belong on broadcast tv.

Posted by: oj at November 12, 2004 9:49 AM

I agree with OJ. We're swamping young children with too much reality for their own good.

I would have the same problem with parents who take their young children to see "Passion of the Christ". You don't need that level of graphic realism to make children understand the suffering that Jesus endured.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at November 13, 2004 4:41 AM

Learn about the "Off" switch--a valuable addition to any families viewing habits.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at November 13, 2004 8:42 AM

The airwaves belong to all of us.

Posted by: oj at November 13, 2004 8:50 AM

My TV belongs to me and yours belongs to you. You watch what you want and I'll watch what I want, but neither of us has the right to dictate to the other what he may watch in a country that purports to be free.

Posted by: Bart at November 13, 2004 5:45 PM


Not tv, the broadcast airwaves.

Posted by: oj at November 13, 2004 6:07 PM

"The airwaves belong to all of us."

Yes, and?

There are lots of airwaves out there--even those without cable/satellite typically get at least a half dozen channels.

In other words, there is choice to be had.

You can choose which channel to view, or none at all.

Never mind the bizarre distinction between cable and air. Who cares how it gets to the screen, the off switch still works.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at November 13, 2004 7:35 PM


Bizarre? You know nothing of broadcast, eh? The point is that they require us to license them else they'd all try broadcasting on Channel 1--their necessity means we control them. Been that way for a century now.

Posted by: oj at November 13, 2004 8:22 PM

I know plenty about broadcast.

And I also know that with the huge majority of American households getting their programming via either satellite or cable, the notion of broadcast TV being some sort of special domain is the classic example of distinction without difference.

It won't be too much longer until the additional viewers available only to broadcast outlets aren't worth hundreds of thousands of watts expended to get them.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at November 14, 2004 1:52 PM

Exactly. And then they can show stuff on those priivate outlets that they can't show in public.

Posted by: oj at November 14, 2004 1:58 PM


They are already being shown in public.

The picture on the screen can't tell the difference between ABC broadcast, by cable, or via satellite.

The end is the same, the means irrelevant.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at November 14, 2004 9:13 PM


The public can tell, thus the censorship.

Posted by: oj at November 15, 2004 12:50 AM

... thus the censorship.

Given the prevalance of cable/satellite, the perfect example of a fool's errand.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at November 15, 2004 8:56 PM


Yes, no one censors you in your home but we do in public. Broadcast tv is public. Cable private. You're getting there.

Posted by: oj at November 15, 2004 10:47 PM