OK, help me understand this. While soldiers and Iraqis are getting shot and killed in Fallujah, and folks have been getting beheaded over the last several months, the nannies at some ABC affiliates are squeamish about showing ‘Saving Private Ryan’ on Veterans Day. They are worrying about profanity and Michael Powell’s FCC’s tight rein since the Janet Super Bowl Booby. Never mind the movie has aired on regular TV before.
The decisions mark a twist in the conflict over the aggressive stand the FCC has taken against obscenity and profanity since Janet Jackson flashed the world during the last Super Bowl halftime show.
Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning movie aired on ABC with relatively little controversy in 2001 and 2002, but station owners — including several in large markets — are unnerved that airing it Thursday could bring federal punishment. The film includes a violent depiction of the D-Day invasion and profanity.
“It would clearly have been our preference to run the movie. We think it’s a patriotic, artistic tribute to our fighting forces,” Ray Cole, president of Citadel Communications, told AP Radio. The company owns WOI-TV in Des Moines, KCAU-TV in Sioux City and KLKN-TV in Lincoln, Neb.
Other stations choosing to replace the movie with other programming include Atlanta’s WSB-TV, WFAA-TV of Dallas, WGNO-TV of New Orleans, WCPO-TV of Cincinnati, WSYX-TV of Columbus, WISN-TV of Milwaukee, WSOC-TV of Charlotte, N.C., WVEC-TV of WMUR-TV of Manchester, N.H., WHAS-TV of Louisville, Ky. and KVUE-TV of Austin, Texas. They are owned by a variety of companies, including Cox Television, Tribune Broadcasting Corp., Hearst-Argyle Television Inc., Belo Corp. and Sinclair Broadcast Group.