September 9, 2006

"You can't fix it. You gotta yank it."

Says Sandy Berger, who should know about yanking. He's a yanker of historic proportions.

I wonder what brainstorming went into the choice of the word "yank," which seems to be roundly favored by those who want to pressure ABC to withdraw its docu-drama "Path to 9/11." You know how the Democrats are obsessed with framing.

Yank! It'll make censorship seem positively patriotic -- the Yanks are coming! -- and kinda sportsmanlike -- how about those Yanks?

250 comments:

1 – 200 of 250   Newer›   Newest»
The Drill SGT said...

Ann,

while your WaPo Berger Documents story was accurate at the time, this post plea article in the WaPo has more facts and shows that Berger and crowd were lying in the first article:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A16706-2005Mar31.html

Too Many Jims said...

We're going to mark the 9/11 anniversary in an especially shabby way this year.

The Drill SGT said...

In the previous post thread I said that there were 500 prescreening DVD's out there. I was wrong, Hugh Hewitt, says that he has 1 of 900 copies. How can the Clinton's expect to put the genie back into the bottle?

Alan said...

IMO, it's clever marketing to bring back the lost audience to the edited version. Burger probably got paid to say it.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dave said...

I'm glad to see you've dropped any pretensions to being anything but a right-wing shill.

We always knew it, but at least you've stopped pretending.

David said...

Depends on what the meaning of "yank" is!

Ann Althouse said...

Dave, and are you glad you let us all see that you think opposition to censorship is a right wing thing?

You know the docu-drama slams Bush and Condi too, don't you?

Freder Frederson said...

Ann,

For a law professor, you are sure sloppy with the definition of censorship and seem unconcerned about the issues of the slander that are raised by this docudrama especially considering the considerable space you have given to ridiculing those who believe conspiracy theories recently.

It seems to me, that when so many people (even the President and his closest advisors) are willing to believe so many unsupported and poorly sourced things about issues surrounding 9/11 and the war on terror, broadcasting a show that blends fact and fiction and presents outright falsehoods as supported by the 9/11 commission report, is the height of irresponsibility.

Freder Frederson said...

You know the docu-drama slams Bush and Condi too, don't you?

But does it slander them?

HaloJonesFan said...

Ann: You're off the script--those aren't slams, that's the bare simple truth! Obviously it can't be wrong to say it if it's the TRUTH, right? And of course sometimes it might not be the actual physical for-real truth, but it's true in more of a metaphysical sense, sort of a "reality-truth" if you will, in that it's a true description if not any actual truth that may have occurred in the base reality (which as we all know depends on the observer as much as on the observed!)

jeff_d said...

Drill Sgt:

I think the Clintons' goal at this point is not to put the genie back in the bottle but to delegitimize the series as a whole. Media savvy as they are, I think they know they don't have much chance of wiping the whole thing out so they are trying to influence the perception of the series so that it comes to be regarded as a partisan job.

It sounds to me like the problem they have with the series is not with a scene or two but with the larger picture that emerges of the Clinton White House as careless and indifferent when it came to the growing terror threat. Of course that dramatizes the Dems' biggest weakness--the perception that they aren't serious enough on national defense to be trusted in the post-9/11 era.

I think the current Clinton PR offensive is less about altering the content of the series or trying to get it taken off than it is about marginalizing it. If the public perceives the series as a piece of partisan propaganda, the Clinton-Berger crowd will have acheived what they set out to do.

HaloJonesFan said...

freder: "For a law professor, you are sure sloppy with the definition of censorship..."

The Dem/Left axis calls any criticism of their viewpoint "censorship". Why should it work differently when it's the other side?

"It seems to me, that when so many people...are willing to believe so many unsupported and poorly sourced things about issues surrounding 9/11 and the war on terror..."

Pot Kettle Black, motherfucker.

Ann Althouse said...

The hypocrisy being displayed today -- eg, Freder here -- is pretty funny. It's too easy to name other documentaries and docu-dramas that you didn't yell about. Please, stop embarrassing yourselves. Or, okay, embarrass the hell out of yourselves. Wander about all day screaming, stumbling about with your pants down around your ankles. But don't expect me not to point and laugh.

The Drill SGT said...

Zap that bug!

Palladian said...

I just love hearing Frederson and the left get all moralistic about slander. You've been slandering the President, the military and the country, to one degree or other, for the last 6 years. Talk about Fahrenheit 9/11! Call the firemen, Sandy and Bill have a pile of tapes and documents to burn.

Ann Althouse said...

Look, I've been critical in the past when people have complained about censorship when all that was happening was criticism, that is, more speech. But this is promoting censorship, trying to prevent the other speaker from speaking.

Aspasia M. said...

Dave, and are you glad you let us all see that you think opposition to censorship is a right wing thing?

Well, let's define terms here.

Censorship by the state is not defined as a bunch of citizens calling up Disney & ABC.

ABC can air whatever horseshit they want. In turn, citizens can complain, write letters, and boycott companies who run ads on ABC.

That's quite American.

So is the FEC threatening to block the showing of this mini-series?

Do we have a government agent threatening to use state power to stop ABC? Is the Republican run Congress threatening ABC? Is POTUS threatening ABC?

That's government censorship of the media.

But individuals getting together to write letters? Hello? People do that all the time about explicit video games or what not. I believe it is protected under the 1st Amendment.

The Drill SGT said...

back to Ann's 2 posting points:

1. Why use Berger as the point person? Albright would seem like a much better candidate. as SecState, she was supposed to be the talker, not the doer, so her role in everything is much more circumspect. Similarly, Berger's theft of very sensitive documents intended to coverup Clinton shortcomings on terrorism, makes him the worst person to front the Yank effort.

As for Yank, I have a show biz image of the bad performer who gets yanked off the stage. "Get the hook!" doesn't ring well here.
yank
pull
censor
withdraw
postpone
cancel

I bet they used a focus group :)

monkeyboy said...

Didn't Harry Reid make not so subtle threats about ABCs broadcast licence?

Aspasia M. said...

As for a slander suit.

Hey - hard to prove.

But bringing a complaint to court is a civil right.

The judge can always throw it out if it's determined to have no merit.

Aspasia M. said...

Didn't Harry Reid make not so subtle threats about ABCs broadcast licence?

So is that the actual main point? If so -- linkies would be helpful.

I would guess that thoughtful discussion would contemplate stuff like public airwaves & licenses, and the role of politicians and corporations, ect...

But I believe Berger doesn't have a government position right now - yes?

And so far I've seen a lot of comments on this subect - but much of it is about people going on and on about being upset that citizens are calling ABC and then arguing about FOX news and the NYTimes and who's liberal and who's conservative, blah, ect. blah. And the summary seems to be "You all should just shut up!"

Well, that's an different argument. And it certainly is not a complaint about state censorship.

Ann Althouse said...

Geoduck: So you're promoting a narrow definition of censorship, limited to when the government directly prevents the speech? Not when a powerful group pressures the speaker to shut up? Even when they allude to the Communications Act and try to imply that there will be consequences? Are you going to stick to that definition when the tables are turned? If not, you hypocrit! If so, you're turning your back on liberal values. Pathetic!

Ann Althouse said...

"a bunch of citizens calling up ABC"

What a ridiculously disingenuous characterization of what's going on!

Bill Clinton, just another citizen. The Democratic Party, a bunch of citizens.

Again, you're pants are down around your ankles. You might want to yank them up.

The Drill SGT said...

Geoducks2 and monkeyboy said...
Didn't Harry Reid make not so subtle threats about ABCs broadcast licence?


yes

http://democrats.senate.gov/newsroom/record.cfm?id=262624&

The Communications Act of 1934 provides your network with a free broadcast license predicated on the fundamental understanding of your principle obligation to act as a trustee of the public airwaves in serving the public interest. Nowhere is this public interest obligation more apparent than in the duty of broadcasters to serve the civic needs of a democracy by promoting an open and accurate discussion of political ideas and events.

The Senate Democratic Leadership

Ann Althouse said...

geoduck2 said..."As for a slander suit. Hey - hard to prove. But bringing a complaint to court is a civil right. The judge can always throw it out if it's determined to have no merit."

Read Rule 11 some time. I don't know if you're a lawyer, but we do have a little thing called professional ethics. Hard to believe, I know. But true.

SippicanCottage said...
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The Drill SGT said...

SippicanCottage said...
Sandy Berger- Fawn Hall with man-boobs.


That comparison is a bit unfair to Fawn.

Yes, she did shred documents, but she was a secretary and her boss asked/directed her to do it. Unless you think Bill told Sandy to sanitize the files.

Aspasia M. said...

Read Rule 11 some time. I don't know if you're a lawyer, but we do have a little thing called professional ethics. Hard to believe, I know. But true.

um. not a lawyer!

But what is your point about "professionalo ethics?" As a individual citizens brings a suit - it's not about the lawyer.

It's about an individual's complaint.

And after reading a lot of civil cases in 19th century case law - i can tell you that lots, and lots of Americans brought craaaazy cases about slander and other stuff. Our legal system seems to have survived just fine!

It's a civil right.

And I think it's sad that the law is so professionalized that we cannot even conceptualize a individual taking legal action without the, what??? the "consent" of a lawyer?

Bringing a slander suit is a civil right. Hard to prove but it's still any citizen's right to make their case.

The Drill SGT said...

well at least we're an American Blog audience rather than Brit or Aussie. Ann would have had to make Berger the Wanker reference instead of Yank.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

Look, I've been critical in the past when people have complained about censorship when all that was happening was criticism, that is, more speech. But this is promoting censorship, trying to prevent the other speaker from speaking.

Now, that's incisive. A juvenile perspective might also be considered. The problem with a 'focus group' is that sometimes, demurely, you don't include all the variables. What they didn't include was that the critics of the program have been yanking on it so hard they've worn the son-of-a-bitch out.

Aspasia M. said...

So you're promoting a narrow definition of censorship, limited to when the government directly prevents the speech? Not when a powerful group pressures the speaker to shut up? Even when they allude to the Communications Act and try to imply that there will be consequences? Are you going to stick to that definition when the tables are turned? If not, you hypocrit! If so, you're turning your back on liberal values. Pathetic!

I haven't even been following this recent to-do.

But it's a pet peeve of mine that government censorship easily becomes translated into "a private citizen is threatening me and that is censorship!"

Well, no, if state power is not brought into it, it's not censorship.

And as you can see - I asked for a link if it is about state power.

But Berger and Clinton - they can say whatever they want. Do they have any state power? Can they shut down ABC? If so -- out line that argument and discuss that!

I'm open to the link that Drill St. listed. And in the other thread - I didn't see people upset about state power. But I did see lots of arguing about Fox versus NYTimes.

And I do think it's perfectly legitimate for a political party to protest a movie.

Note please that a political party does not equal state power.

And I'm fine with people being upset about the power of say - powerful groups. Lots of people get upset at say, the Christian Coalition, or Family Values Groups -- but I'm quite aware that a private political coalition is not the same thing as state power. And I believe those groups have every right to protest whatever they want to protest, however much I disagree with them.

I could agree on "soft power" or such -- but to call it state censorship? That's a separate argument.

The Drill SGT said...

geoduck2,

before Ann performs a legal put-down, let me intercede in non-lawyer speak

1. Bringing a slander suit is a civil right. Hard to prove but it's still any citizen's right to make their case.

very hard for a "public person" like all these Clintonites are, to win slander when it must be proved that ABC knew the statement was false, that they went forward recklessly, with malice and that they weren't contributing to topics of public discourse.

2. But bringing a complaint to court is a civil right.

The judge can always throw it out if it's determined to have no merit.


Rule 11, subjects the lawyer to penalties for knowingly bringing a case without merit or presenting representations that the lawyer knew was false.

Freder Frederson said...

But this is promoting censorship, trying to prevent the other speaker from speaking.

I assume that you are being deliberately obtuse and understand that the freedom of speech carries with it some responsibilities. Especially when you have the right to carry speech, for free, over airwaves that are worth billions of dollars. (The whole shouting fire in a crowded theater thing). ABC no more has the right to present outright lies as "facts" than I have the right to shout fire in a crowded theater when there is none. And the management of the theater would be perfectly justified in exercising prior restraint on my little escapade before I had a chance to panic the entire theater.

Now, we did have OBL and let him go, but that was under the Bush, not the Clinton, administration.

paulfrommpls said...

Four Democratic Congressional leaders stated darkly that this show was possibly in violation of an FCC license.

I invite all lefties here to honestly consider the reaction had 4 Republican leaders done the same thing in a reverse situaion.

HaloJonesFan said...

freder:
"I assume that you are being deliberately obtuse and understand that the freedom of speech carries with it some responsibilities."

You really do not want to go there, because we have six years of people MAKING SHIT UP about George W. Bush to counter you with.

If I follow your philosophy correctly, Dan Rather ought to be in jail for the whole TANG-memo issue.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Drill SGT said...

what would our advertising expert hdhouse say?

SippicanCottage said...
I've decided I love this thing. it drives the right people right up the wall.


no press is bad press?

I expect if ABC guts this out, their ratings will be through the roof. I expect they realize it as well.

I wonder if the fact that they fear the threats from Dem's in Congress to hold aggressive oversight hearings on all sorts of topics, will chill them too much.

and Sandy is feckless. I hope he realizes that in the future he could have his old job back under a Dem POTUS, but he'll never be SecState or any other job requiring confirmation.

I can't see even all the Dem Senattor's confirming somebody that steals Top Secret Code word material to keep it from the 9/11 commission.

Ann Althouse said...

Geoduck: Something tells me these folks would have lawyers, but in any case, unrepresented folks are bound by the rule too. It's worth reading if you think you can just file claims in court any reason:

Rule 11. ...Every pleading, written motion, and other paper shall be signed by at least one attorney of record in the attorney's individual name, or, if the party is not represented by an attorney, shall be signed by the party. ....

By presenting to the court (whether by signing, filing, submitting, or later advocating) a pleading, written motion, or other paper, an attorney or unrepresented party is certifying that to the best of the person's knowledge, information, and belief, formed after an inquiry reasonable under the circumstances,--

(1) it is not being presented for any improper purpose, such as to harass or to cause unnecessary delay or needless increase in the cost of litigation;

(2) the claims, defenses, and other legal contentions therein are warranted by existing law or by a nonfrivolous argument for the extension, modification, or reversal of existing law or the establishment of new law;

(3) the allegations and other factual contentions have evidentiary support or, if specifically so identified, are likely to have evidentiary support after a reasonable opportunity for further investigation or discovery; and

(4) the denials of factual contentions are warranted on the evidence or, if specifically so identified, are reasonably based on a lack of information or belief.


There are sanctions for violating this rule.

So rethink what you have a right to do. And while your at it, pay some attention to those speech rights you Democrats sometimes act like you care about.

Aspasia M. said...

hmmm...This conversation is a little bit too hot, especially considering I'm not particularly invested in this docu-drama one way or another.

I will say - I'm interested in state censorship vs. soft power censorship vs. the censorship caused by corporations or the need for ratings on public airwave TV.

I'm also interested in slander suits - particularly those from the 19th century.

And I am interested in discussing the FCC and what it means to have public airwaves in the public interest. (Hey - if I was in charge I'd put educational TV on for most of the day. "Kids! It's time to learn your times tables!")

I'm especially interested in the mix of money, corporations, and how what is determined to be in the public interest is so piss poor. It's the public airwaves - let's get a lot of this crap off the tv.
----------------

But, people are really excited about this particular docudrama. Maybe there's a little bit of projection going on?

Actually, I think a cultural analysis of the social response to this docudrama would be fascinating.

ok- I'm gonna get some work done now.

Ann Althouse said...

So, Freder, dramatizing a historical event with imagined scenes that offend the powerful individuals portrayed is not protected by the First Amendment; it's on the level with using speech to create a clear and present danger (eg shouting fire in a crowded theater and causing a riot)? Wow, you Democrats really don't believe in rights very much. You like to preen about how much you do, but, man, you really don't.

Ann Althouse said...

Your pants are down around your ankles and now you're tripping face forward onto the pavement, Freder.

Ann Althouse said...

Hey, Michael Moore has a new film!

The Drill SGT said...

On a lighter note, one of my favorite movies is "Absence of Malice"

Paul Newman, Sally Fields and too little of Wilford Brimley

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0081974/

Libel,
mis-use of leaks
freedom of the press
Absence of Malice of course

James A. Wells, Assistant U.S. Attorney General: Tell you what we're gonna do. We're gonna sit right here and talk about it. Now if you get tired of talking here, Mr. Marshal Elving Patrick there will hand you one of them subpoenas he's got stuck down in his pocket and we'll go downstairs and talk in front of the grand jury... Elliot? Jim?... Fine. All right, Elving, hand whichever one of these fellas you like a subpoena and we'll go on downstairs and talk in front of the grand jury.
District Attorney James A. Quinn: Gallagher's a government witness.
James A. Wells, Assistant U.S. Attorney General: Wonderful thing, a subpoena.
-----------
James A. Wells, Assistant U.S. Attorney General: You had a leak? You call what's goin' on around here a leak? Boy, the last time there was a leak like this, Noah built hisself a boat.
----------
James A. Wells, Assistant U.S. Attorney General: Now we'll talk all day if you want to. But, come sundown, there's gonna be two things true that ain't true now. One is that the United States Department of Justice is goin' to know what in the good Christ - e'scuse me, Angie - is goin' on around here. And the other's I'm gonna have somebody's ass in muh briefcase.
-----------
James A. Wells, Assistant U.S. Attorney General: What'd you figure you'd do after government service, Elliott?
Elliott Rosen: I'm not quitting.
James A. Wells, Assistant U.S. Attorney General: You ain't no Presidential appointee, Elliott. One that hired you is me. You got thirty days.

-------
James A. Wells, Assistant U.S. Attorney General: We can't have people go around leaking stuff for their own reasons. It ain't legal. And worse than that, by God it ain't right.

Aspasia M. said...

There are sanctions for violating this rule.

So rethink what you have a right to do. And while your at it, pay some attention to those speech rights you Democrats sometimes act like you care about.


1) I thought you were a Democrat?

2) I used to call myself an Independent. Ah well.

3) I'm a 19th century person. I'm interested in stuff like the practice of private prosecution. (ie- people brought cases without lawyers.) For more on private prosecution in 19th century America, see Allen Steinberg, The Transformation of Criminal Justice (1989).

I know what rights Americans had in my time period. Perhaps we are no longer able to press slander suits? But we used to press slander suits quite a bit in America and we used to use the courts quite a bit without lawyers. (Cornelia Huges Dayton, Women Before the Bar.) You are the expert here on current law - not me. I certainly don't know anything about the 21st or even the 20th century legal practice of bringing slander cases.

But if the person bringing the claim of slander is factually correct - um - you gotta problem with that?

And in general - I'm for a capacious, not a narrow access to the court system. I love the fact that Americans, historically, have used the court system in a way that Europeans have not been able to do.

ok - now I'm really going to get work done.

Ann Althouse said...

I love the way Geoduck showed up, made a lot of sharp points, and then when I called her on it, just said she couldn't answer. Had work to do. Questions too hard. Well, but you showed up and presented your questions, which I took the trouble to write about. What bullshit!

And then she drops one last turd of a question: "Maybe there's a little bit of projection going on?" Ridiculous. That's not a legitimate way to participate in the comments. You come to my blog, and I specifically engage with you individually, and you run away? Leaving one completely unsupported, insulting question? Should we waste our time engaging with that one too. This is a textbook example of bad comment behavior!

How about Freder? Maybe he has no time left all of a sudden too.

Scott W. Somerville said...

"Clinton and Harry Reid have every right to protest this, since they are acting citizens, not government officials exercising their power."

That's the best argument I've heard yet for voting Republican this year.

Freder Frederson said...

So, Freder, dramatizing a historical event with imagined scenes that offend the powerful individuals portrayed is not protected by the First Amendment; it's on the level with using speech to create a clear and present danger (eg shouting fire in a crowded theater and causing a riot)? Wow, you Democrats really don't believe in rights very much. You like to preen about how much you do, but, man, you really don't.

Okay, let's stick to one very specific scene in the docudrama that has apparently caused great offense. The CIA has OBL surrounded and calls Sandy Berger on the satellite phone to get permission to "take the shot". Berger slams down the phone, refusing to give permission.

This scene, as reported from several sources, is not "dramatizing a historical event with imagined scenes", it is deliberately misrepresenting and distorting the historical record. It never happened and nothing remotely close to it ever happened and it is directly contradicted by the record.

How can you defend the airing of such a scene? What is the point of such an inflammitory and untrue assertion?

And as for this nonsense with you saying I have my pants around my ankles. I have no idea what is meant by that. I assume it is meant as an insult. I expect such childish behavior from others on this site, and will stoop to their level when baited, but really expect more maturity from you.

The Drill SGT said...

Ann,

Geoduck2 isn't the biggest problem around here. :)

I tried to save you the trouble of doing a Professor Kingsfield on her. LOL

Paper Chase: Another flick I like. Along with the Verdict.

I don't have much use for lawyers beyond my wife and Ann. Why is it I like lawyer flicks?

Aspasia M. said...

drill sgt.,

Rule 11, subjects the lawyer to penalties for knowingly bringing a case without merit or presenting representations that the lawyer knew was false.

Of course. I am assuming that a case can be made for slander, in the case. Why would you assume that I wouldn't think this?

And I agree that there are different legal standards for public figures.

But in general - I'm fine with Americans going to court over slander. Seems like a good way to resolve differences. And the loser should pay the court costs.

Anyways - civil slander cases are my pet interest. Sorry for the de-railment.

Too much fun! Ok - I'm really going to do my own work now.

Freder Frederson said...

Ann,

You also seem to think that because the show is "hard" on Condi and Bush the slander against the Clinton administration is justified. Yet when I specifically asked if any slander against Bush had been alleged is when you decided just to start talking about my pants being around my ankles.

I hope you don't treat your law students with similar disrespect.

Aspasia M. said...

I love the way Geoduck showed up, made a lot of sharp points, and then when I called her on it, just said she couldn't answer. Had work to do. Questions too hard. Well, but you showed up and presented your questions, which I took the trouble to write about. What bullshit!

And then she drops one last turd of a question: "Maybe there's a little bit of projection going on?" Ridiculous. That's not a legitimate way to participate in the comments. You come to my blog, and I specifically engage with you individually, and you run away? Leaving one completely unsupported, insulting question? Should we waste our time engaging with that one too. This is a textbook example of bad comment behavior!

How about Freder? Maybe he has no time left all of a sudden too.


oh please - I just read this.

1) why in the world do you sound angry?

2) Why in the world are you angry at me? I'm not leading a boycott. I'm concerned about the conflation of state censorship and all other forms of censorship. And my concern by far predates this little bloggy dust up about a docudrama.

3) I tried to explain my position and my concerns.

4) The projections -- well I find it interesting that people are calling each other names. That speaks to some sort of heat or energy that I am frankly surprised about. Mostly because i'm frankly not following this docudrama dust up.

5) ok- I'll stick around. If you have something you want me to answer or address - let me know.

SMGalbraith said...

One of the more interesting "sidebar" aspects of this story is the ringing defense of the Clinton Administration by the netroots and the more doctrinairre Left. For three years now (if not more) the lefties have been waging war on the DLC moderates (Lieberman, Frumm et al.) and have accused them of all types of crimes.

But in this case they are climbing over each other in their defense of Mr. DLC himself - Bill Clinton.

My guess is that they view this series as some sort of "right wing" conspiracy or machination. And if there's even a hint of conservatism in a project, they'll be against it.

SMG

Ann Althouse said...

Geoduck: "Of course. I am assuming that a case can be made for slander, in the case. Why would you assume that I wouldn't think this?"

Go back and read your own comments. You were saying people had a right to bring lawsuits without limitation.

Freder: Answer my question as I wrote it. If you can't see what a narrow view of free speech you are taking, how shockingly you would shackle filmmakers, you are a fool. You like to keep making personal comments about me -- as if saying I'm an idiot might make it so -- but you are blind to your own foolishness. That is the basis of the pants-down metaphor, which is very common and well understood. Would that you could understand how down yours are on this one. Absolutely, flat out pathetic.

XWL said...

Come on! What's wrong with you people! Why am I abusing the exclamation points?!

Oh, yeah.

55 comments in, and no one has made a comment along the lines (unless I skipped it)

. . . If President Clinton had yanked IT more, maybe he wouldn't have been so distracted by interns.

(and yes, this joke would depend on what your definition if IT is)

(and this joke is apropriate given that the biggest bone of contention (heh heh, he said, "bone") was whether or not the Lewinsky scandal was a distraction during Pres. Clinton's final term that kept him from pursuing terrorists with the same vigor he displayed in protecting his own hide)

Aspasia M. said...

On slander suits and civil rights:

So I'm not a lawyer - but here's a rule 11.

Is this correct: that rule 11 states that the suit cannot be without merit; that the lawyer must know that no lies are contained within the suit?

And it looks like a lawyer or a witness must testify to the facts of the case?

I have no problem with rule 11. In the 19th century if a lawyer was not involved, a complaintant (and usually witnessess) would come before a Justice of the Peace and lay out their case.

What's the wider point here? American citizens go to court and resolve their differences. Somebody might bring a slander case here. I assume they will meet the requirements of rule 11.

I don't understand how this contradicts my assertation that Americans have the civil right to go to court to resolve differences, and those can include slander?

Of course, public officials have a different standard then private individuals.

But what's the fuss here? Why is what I'm saying controversial in any way?

XWL said...

. . . on the other hand, may spelling of the word appropriate, isn't appropriate, and should be considered corrected with this post.

If anyone suggests that my spelling of the word in the previous post was characteristic of my abilities as a speller, I'll SUE them for SLANDER.

It's my right and responsibility as a citizen, afterall.

Aspasia M. said...

Go back and read your own comments. You were saying people had a right to bring lawsuits without limitation.

um - not my intention.

Said that Americans could bring a slander suit - and that it was hard to prove.

Obviously the court has historical pracatices that one follows - does this really need to be stated?

Has it been determined that it would be impossible for anyone in this docucrama not to press a civil suit? As I said - I'm not familiar with 20 or 21st century law.

But as a general right - Americans have the use of the courts for civil suits. (I was thinking of the differences between, say American and the German uses of the courts.)

noah said...

On the previous comment thread about this same topic, Freder asked for a specific example. From just yesterday there was an article about a pollster pleading guilty to fraud for faking her polling. The headline (roughly from memory): Bush and Lieberman pollster guilty of fraud!

If you don't read the story you might well think that either Bush or Lieberman or both did something wrong, when actually both Bush and Lieberman may have been defrauded!!! That kind of error cannot be innocent unless the editor is a complete moron.

Aspasia M. said...

Can I leave now?

noah said...

Example of media bias is what Freder wanted obviously. Mumble.

SippicanCottage said...
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Paul Zrimsek said...

Remember the apocryphal words of Thomas Jefferson: "Fair, non-dramatized dissent not involving corporations or using the public airwaves is the highest form of patriotism."

Ruth Anne Adams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephen said...

just a few random things -

- Rule 11 is post 19th century

- Censorship isn't automatically government censorship

- reading this thread was worth it just to see Ann post "pants down around your ankles"

- there was an instance during the Clinton administration where they had a chance to toss a missile at Bin Laden, but by the time they made a decision, he had already left the area. I have no idea if this involved Sandy Berger; but they took their time and they missed the guy. Berger has a right to complain here, but there was a backstory to this-it's not something they came up with out of nowhere.

The Drill SGT said...

I think that there is outrage from the left about the docudrama on 3 different levels.

1. personal. The mis-attribution of actions to key Dem Celebs and storyline compression that blends multiple incidents into a dramatic scene. ignore this part for a sec. there is some level of justifiable criticism here.

2. blame for 9/11. previous 8 years versus 8 months stuff. ignore that for a bit. I think this part is fair or at least open to interpretation

3. what I don't think gets enough visibility by the public is that the show directly attacks the entire democratic strategy for fighting terrorism in the future.
As Kerry put it:
When . . . Kerry [was asked] what it would take for Americans to feel safe again, he displayed a much less apocalyptic worldview. "We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance," Kerry said. "As a former law-enforcement person, I know we're never going to end prostitution. We're never going to end illegal gambling. But we're going to reduce it, organized crime, to a level where it isn't on the rise. It isn't threatening people's lives every day, and fundamentally, it's something that you continue to fight, but it's not threatening the fabric of your life."


fundamentally Dems think that OBL and terrorists are a criminal justice matter and the GOP thinks its a war.

or Howard Dean:

"There's no question that Rove was the one that leaked the information about the CIA agent's name," Dean told MSNBC's Nora O'Donnell on Friday.

But when it came to the Al Qaida terror chief, Dean insisted that bin Laden was innocent until proven guilty.


That is what the Dem's don't want on display in the show. their feckless approach to our safety, past, present and future.

dklittl said...

My guess is that they view this series as some sort of "right wing" conspiracy or machination. And if there's even a hint of conservatism in a project, they'll be against it.

I wouldn't call it a conspiracy but there is more than enough evidence that its a right wing machination. You have a film that was screened almost exclusively for right wing activists. And even when the request was put out, they refuse to screen it for the Democrats who are actually being potrayed in the film. You have a film that takes dramatic license with events that didn't happen but concern 9/11, but apparently no mention of the historical scene that will forever be linked with that day, ie "My Pet Goat."

It's apparent that they criticize at least Condi and some others from Bush's administration, but from the way it was marketed, to the people they used to help with the source material, I for one see a serious agenda. And if flaiming liberal Oliver Stone can find the decency to make a non-partisan film about such a terrible event in American history, I would think that ABC would have tried to do the same.

SMGalbraith said...

My guess is that ABC will wind up canceling the show.

And even more disturbing is that the Republican knuckleheads in Congress, seeing the success of the Democratic knuckleheads, will imitate them the next time Hollywood produces a program that the Right doesn't like.

Thus is the tribalism of politics. Only problem is that those of us not full members of the tribe will suffer.

SMG

Sloanasaurus said...

It's one thing if Horward Dean or the DNC were to come out and complain about ABC. However, having the Senate leaders issue a veiled threat to ABC on something involving political speech is very troubling. In my opinion a great percentage of the news broadcast by the networks is completely false and is political propaganda. I don't recall Bush or the Congress threatening Michael Moore or the networks for their constant slanders - I don't even recall such threats after memogate when it was clear CBS news was trying to present false facts as NEWS and not even as a docudrama.

IF ABC does well in the ratings, prepare for more "docudramas" criticisng liberals. Hollywood may have found a new market.

XWL said...

Maybe folks would be more comfortable if the phrase, "jerk it off the air" were used instead?

(sorry, male, one-track mind)

But please, go ahead Democrats, keep on attacking Disney and Wal Mart during election season.

As someone who I can't find the link for pointed out. . .

Who's next, kittens, moms and apple pie?

(If ABC cancels completely, expect a torrent of bittorrents to fill the internet, or if they're smart, they'll offer it up on their own website as a free download)

The Drill SGT said...

dklittl said...
My guess is that they view this series as some sort of "right wing" conspiracy or machination. And if there's even a hint of conservatism in a project, they'll be against it.

I wouldn't call it a conspiracy but there is more than enough evidence that its a right wing machination. You have a film that was screened almost exclusively for right wing activists. And even when the request was put out, they refuse to screen it for the Democrats who are actually being potrayed in the film.


It was screened at the National Press Club with 9/11 commission members from both parties in the audience. It was screened and reviewed by the NYT that thought it was pretty good.

Richard Clarke, that well known Bush fan was a technical advisor. More right wing bias?

Joseph Hovsep said...

Yuck! So nasty and defensive in this thread!

Freder Frederson said...

So, Freder, dramatizing a historical event with imagined scenes that offend the powerful individuals portrayed is not protected by the First Amendment; it's on the level with using speech to create a clear and present danger (eg shouting fire in a crowded theater and causing a riot)?

True, it is more akin to forcing a publisher to withdraw an unauthorized biography when it is shown that the author knowingly and maliciously includes slander in the biography. That happens often enough too.

Now answer my question. Does the ABC show actually slander Bush and Condi or just show them for the incompetent fools they actually are?

Brent said...

Wow! I am so honored!

I would just like to say how honored I am that Ann is using pants around your ankles, obviously in honor of me being first in using the phrase in my smackdown of Freder in yesterday's post:
"This is it: crunch time for getting the slanderous ABC television docudrama 'The Path to 9/11' yanked off the air."

Now, as an evil conservative, if only I can figure a way to control who gets to use the phrase . . .


*Note to Freder: sorry if I'm playing too rough with you man.

Aspasia M. said...

Yuck! So nasty and defensive in this thread!

Word.

I didn't mean to offend people.

palmtree said...

Since when is broadcast primetime TV not subject to censorship? The FCC has always told broadcasters what they can say and when they can say it. The PTC has mobilized its base to get the FCC to fine programs they find offensive. The Reagan miniseries was recently YANKED off the air because it didn't entirely flatter the Reagan presidency. Now the left is being accused of censorship? Again, since when has TV been about unadultered free speech and not ratings-driven, ad-driven, lowest common denominator programming?

The Drill SGT said...

relax Geo.

I still love you even if you are a Duck.

I am going to want some pointers to Willamette wineries however.

AJ Lynch said...

Geoduck said: "Can I leave now?"

Ann will respond "Don't you dare"

I love this blog but got to get ready for the ND-Penn State game and The Phillies after that. Life is good.

vnjagvet said...

Freder apparently is acting as if he were the guardian of "the Truth".

What his comments fail to appreciate is the incontrovertable fact that historical recreations are often inaccurate in detail. Their very creation relies on the all too fallible memories, perceptions, and interpretations of human beings.

Like an historian, a movie director must make selections from the varied versions of events caused by this fallibility.

Having done this he and several other commenters suggest that the attempts to get ABC to yank the show are purely private and therefore not censorship as it is commonly defined.

But that ignores implied threats to also "yank" the broadcast licenses of ABC affiliates if it does not yank the offending program. An example of this is the letter by Senator Reid and three Democrat senatorial colleagues to Disney's president.

The letter is at this link:
http://democrats.senate.gov/newsroom/record.cfm?id=262624&

If Michael Moore's rendering of the war on terror in Farenheit 9/11 is legitimate docudrama or documentary film making, why isn't this documentary?

The Drill SGT said...

SippicanCottage said...
Hi signore drill sargeant-
I can recite the Verdict from memory.


so do you identify with the:

- angry big collar husband, helpless at the courtroom rail, or

- angry old lawyer friend, when Frankie passes up the $210k settlement?

The Drill SGT said...

blue collar

djwreckless said...

Ann, I know you like identifying yourelf as a centrist, as you reek of narcisism in professing your moderation and all the attention the center supposedly brings (ala Glen Beck), but your constant tendency to prove how moderate you are and how liberals aren't so tolerant anymore, seems to suggest something else. The truth can be spoken softly and only has to be mentioned once, it doesn't have to be made into a political talking point and reiterated over and over again. Your behavior reminds me of conservative politicans who didn't serve during their time, but constantly have to stand with the military and dress themselves in fatigues to appear genuine/manly.

People engaging in the Democratic Process and threatening to boycott certain sponsors is not censorship. Christian Conservatives do it all the time to companies who have gay friendly policies, because they do not think homosexuality is compatible with morality. THey make themselves look stupid in the process, but no one accuses them of censorship.

I suppose conservatives would be angry and engage in the same process if Jay ROckefeller was the only member of the BiPartisan Commision to be consulted on docudrama that was to be aired on national television, and the piece spent more time on how Condoleeza Rice gave Bush a PDB on August 6, 2001 which was titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike US" (may hijack planes in the process) and how the Bush administration didn't hold a meeting on it until September 4, 2001. They also might be angry if the film focused on Dick Clarke telling the Bush administration to take terrorism more seriously, and your 2008 favorite, Condi, brushing him aside thinking he was some psycho who was obsessed with terrorism.

I would consider the GOP resolution condemning the New York Times, and Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky calling on the attorney general to investigate The New York Times for treason for announcing something Bush had already announced three years ago to come much closer to Censorship. There is a legislative force behind it, not a political force.

I am glad that as a nation, we are much more eager to get over 9/11 than relive it and have it politicized. Poll after poll establishes that most voters find Iraq to be the number one fact in influencing their vote, and a Majority of the Country now realizes that the Iraq conflict is separate from the War on Terror and had nothing to do with 9/11 (The Senate found that to be true yesterday as well). I am happy, that most americans, ealize that our taxpayer dollars are being wasted on a conflict that is further destabilizing the world and making terrorist attacks more likely in the future.

People dont buy into the brand name of conservative and liberal anymore; we long stopped drinking the Kool Aid to brand ourself as a conservative/liberal/ or moderate. People know when government is inefficent, and who has caused it to be inefficient.

That is why most of the country will probably be watching the Manning Bowl on NBC, or CSI.

AJ Lynch said...

Paul Zimrek said:

"Remember the apocryphal words of Thomas Jefferson: "Fair, non-dramatized dissent not involving corporations or using the public airwaves is the highest form of patriotism.""

I say it is very doubtful Thomas Jefferson ever used the word "airwaves".

Sloanasaurus said...

I will be watching on Sunday. In fact I am going to call all of my independent friends and tell them to watch. If a liberal network is slamming democrats, it must be true! What a nightmare for dems.

George said...

Imagine MGM making a documentary blaming American politicians for Pearl Harbor and putting it in theaters in the middle of WWII, while, at the same time, Gobbels was in D.C. giving a speech at the National Cathedral and the Nazis were arming, funding, and sending soldiers to fight us while we were merely talking about sanctions against them.

Something does not sense make here.

Let's all go shopping and ignore this unpleasantness.

Ann Althouse said...

Geoduck: You didn't just say a slander suit was hard to prove, you said "The judge can always throw it out if it's determined to have no merit."

That implies that it isn't the responsibility of the plaintiff to avoid filing a baseless suit. You could just file something frivolous and the judge "can always throw it out." But that isn't so. That was my point.

Hey, speaking of the 19th century, do you know why Oscar Wilde went to prison?

Paul Zrimsek: LOL.

XWL: Thanks. People are so worked up about this they can't even think of masturbation.

Brent: That's funny. I didn't remember reading that, but I must have seen it... that you wrote it. Or maybe that Freder's pants really are down around his ankles. Or maybe something about talking about Berger makes us think "pants."

Other questions I can answer?

Do I talk about my law students' pants? No, but Kingsfield in "Paper Chase" insults a student who gives a bad answer by asking him if he feels the wind blowing on his backside or something like that. So it would be traditional to say something like that. I don't do it myself. The students don't normally just call me an idiot to my face either, by the way, though I'd be surprised if they didn't sometimes when they're off on their own.

Am I a Democrat? I was registered as a Democrat when I voted in states where you have to register, but I've been reminded that we don't register for a party in Wisconsin, so I'm not, officially. I consider myself an independent these days. I don't like either party enough to call myself a member. And the reason I'm saying "Democrats" in this post is to avoid saying "liberals." I do consider myself a liberal.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
downtownlad said...

The right loves censorship too. Look at how they yanked a PBS show, because it happened to have lesbians in it. Or look at how they forced a CBS show about a minister off the air, because the minister had a gay son.

I'm tired of the right-wing hypocrites saying that they oppose censorship. What complete bullshit.

It's only in the middle that you'll find people who are consistently against censorship.

Old Dad said...

Clinton is campaigning. His response is classic Carville "War Room" stuff. Sure it's heavy handed, but that's the way he plays the game, as do most of the big time pols. Shame on ABC if they cave.

Lest we forget, on Sept. 11, 2001 there was a smoking crater in lower Manhattan, a huge black hole in the Pentagon, and another airlier augured in a field in western Pennsylvania--all testament to the damn fine job we did protecting ourselves.

Palladian said...

I love how djfeckless xeroxes off the Democratic party talking points then signs off with a weak-kneed celebration of nonpartisanship. Labels are so, like, plastic, man! The American people are so cool and moderate... that is until the poll numbers start to go the other way on our pet issues or they vote for (another) Republican for president. Then the deejay can go badmouth Americans as intolerant, stupid sheeple once again.

Anyway, you've played that DNC record one too many times- I smell a payola scandal!

Ann Althouse said...

One more answerable question, from Geoduck: "1) why in the world do you sound angry?"

Your use of the phrase "in the world" implies that it's really weird that I'm passionate on this topic. This is free speech, folks. This is where you are showing you don't care about it when it doesn't favor you. My question is why aren't YOU passionate? Here you are puzzled by why there is even a reason to care. You should be ashamed. I'm quite serious. So quit with the oh my, yucky, everyone's angry crap. Look at yourselves and wake up.

Stephen said...

"I suppose conservatives would be angry and engage in the same process if Jay ROckefeller was the only member of the BiPartisan Commision to be consulted on docudrama that was to be aired on national television"

No, because Rockefeller is merely a pushover for Senator Roberts and the bipartisan commission is merely a rubber stamp for the Republican Party.

I have been informed of this fact previously and now plan to spread the word like the Ancient Mariner. All misguided souls must see the light.

noah said...

The so-called liberals or progressives should be ashamed of themselves for the comments on this thread.

Ann, I heard you say on Bloggingheads.tv that you voted for Bush and Feingold in 2004 (to the almost hilarious conternation of Bob Wright!!!). Are you aware that due to the McCain-Feingold act as of this week you can no longer band together with your fellow citizens and purchase TV time or a newspaper ad to express your political views re candidates for election this November? How does that square with your principles?

Given the tenor and utter lack of reasonableness of the liberals/progressives on your blog and elsewhere aren't you having just a few second thoughts?

Sloanasaurus said...

Hugh Hewitt makes an interesting point about this whole debate. He thinks that the whole motivation of dems is not about the few scenes with Sandy Berger et al, but to get the whole thing cancelled. Hugh says most of the story is about Ramsey Youseff and Khlid Sheik Muhammad, two bad goes currently in custody. Hugh argues that Democrats want Americans to know as little as possible about these two guys.

palmtree said...

I'll restate the question I posed earlier:

Was it okay for the Reagan miniseries from 2003 to be yanked under political pressure? If so, how is that different from Democrats trying to protect the Clinton legacy?

Old Dad said...

Sloanasaurus, my guess is that the primary motivation is the potential impact on the midterm elections.

Palladian said...

"The right loves censorship too. Look at how they yanked a PBS show, because it happened to have lesbians in it. Or look at how they forced a CBS show about a minister off the air, because the minister had a gay son."

I knew there had to be a way work that pet issue into it!

I'm afraid the "oh yeah, well they do it too!" is NOT an adequate or admirable position on censorship.

PBS could show anything that they want, if they didn't rely on Mom and Dad taxpayer's credit cards to pay the bills. Set yourself up as an arm of the State, and you have to play by the State's rules. It's not an analogous situation.

SMGalbraith said...

If so, how is that different from Democrats trying to protect the Clinton legacy?

How many times does Prof. Althouse have to refer to the letter from the Senate Democrats threatening licenses of ABC if they don't pull the program?

This is not about private citizens expressing their displeasure with a TV show.

This is about elected government officials telling a network that they will suffer harm if they broadcast a show that they don't like because of the political message they see in it.

If one cannot see the difference between private actions against a corporation or network and state actions against that entity, then there's no sense for further debate.

palmtree said...

"I'm afraid the "oh yeah, well they do it too!" is NOT an adequate or admirable position on censorship."

We're talking about primetime broadcast TV over public airwaves with an FCC license. It is not a question of whether censorship should be allowed or not...it is a question of WHAT we should censor or not censor.

noah said...

palmtree, as far as I know, nobody threatened broadcast licenses. Nancy Reagan and others as PRIVATE citizens protested a fake quote that Pres. Reagan said AIDS patients deserved to die among other things. Whoever produced it, "yanked" it...and did not whine about censorship as far as I know.

If ABC yanks this docudrama, they will be craven assholes as far as I am concerned but it will not be an example of censorship as far as I am concerned...Sen. Reid's letter is an empty threat.

downtownlad said...

Palladian - You really can't follow a logical thought, can you?

I did NOT endorse censorship. I'm just calling the right-wingers hypocrites. The right-wingers, after all, were the same ones who demanded that the Reagan mini-series be pulled off the air.

Can't we just recognize this for what it is? Partisan shrills (on the right and left) are going to be partisan shrills.

Shocker.

SMGalbraith said...

It is not a question of whether censorship should be allowed or not...it is a question of WHAT we should censor or not censor.

Well the "what" is right now on the table.

Let's get down to the nitty gritty:

Do you think if ABC runs the series that affiliates of ABC showing the program should have their licenses revoked or not renewed?

SMG

Old Dad said...

Palmtree,

We allow lies and slander to be broadcast all the time. Hell, half of network news and almost all of the pundit shoutfests are pure BS.

In defense of free speech, my old man used say "never wonder if a man's an idiot. Make him talk and prove it one way or the other."

Palladian said...

"Was it okay for the Reagan miniseries from 2003 to be yanked under political pressure? If so, how is that different from Democrats trying to protect the Clinton legacy?"

It's different because, as linked in this thread, the Democrats have darkly hinted that there could be consequences regarding ABCs broadcast license.

The decision to pull the Reagan miniseries was entirely up to the network. They chose to bow to pressure from consumers and activists, but they didn't have to. The current situation is different- that the actual people portrayed in this show seem so upset about it gives the distinct impression that they're trying to hide something.

We'll see how the newly censorius Democrats react to the movie about President Bush being assasinated in 2007 when it comes out.

Aspasia M. said...

Your use of the phrase "in the world" implies that it's really weird that I'm passionate on this topic. This is free speech, folks. This is where you are showing you don't care about it when it doesn't favor you. My question is why aren't YOU passionate? Here you are puzzled by why there is even a reason to care. You should be ashamed. I'm quite serious. So quit with the oh my, yucky, everyone's angry crap. Look at yourselves and wake up.

I should be ashamed of saying that

1) slander suits are rather historic and often used in American history?

or that

2) I like the fact that Americans resolve their differences in court?

or that

3) I like there to be a specific differentiation between state power and soft power in discussions?

I said I was open to talking about the implications of state power and censorship of the TV airwaves. And I asked for links - provided by Dril Sgr., thank you.

Look - people are using the equivalent of the word "poppyhead" on this thread. I personally think that is very interesting. We are, after all, talking about a docudrama.

Usually the hot topics are stuff like abortion or gun control or the Iraq War. I am surprised that people are so angry on this thread.

And, no, I'm not passionate about the subject of this particular docudrama. I'm mildly interested.

But I fully support the rights (of everybody, no matter what view they have on this docudrama) to be passionate and complain and write letters or press lawsuits or whatever.

vnjagvet said...

DJWreckless:

What do you think of the use of the Clinton Foundation as the vehicle to protest this movie?

Here's the link to its letter:

http://electioncentral.tpmcafe.com/blog/electioncentral/2006/sep/09/in_new_letter_clintons_lawyer_demands_abc_yank_film

BTW, I agree with you that the bluenoses on the right who try to do this stuff with programs are equally mistaken.

I also agree with the commenters who suggest that many of us in the middle will have to watch to see what all of the heat was about.

Federer, the historian in you is perfectly happy with the unflattering rendition of Secretary Rice because it is, in your mind, "true".

I suspect there are those in the country, including Secretary Rice, who do not share your view. Are you again showing your butt (another expression for having your pants around your ankles) with that observation or was that your attempt at very subtle and gentle satire?

Ann Althouse said...

On voting for Feingold: I don't agree with a lot of his positions, but I think he's a good man, and I like having him in the Senate. He deserved reelection, and he was better than the other guy. Frankly, in Wisconsin, the Republicans don't seem to come up with good candidates. I've only voted for a Republican here once (for Tommy Thompson, once).

downtownlad said...

And all of those who are calling for 9/11 conspiracy professors to be fired from universities - isn't that "censorship" too? As much censorship as this is.

Seems more like people advocating their beliefs very strongly. ABC has the right to broadcast whatever they want. Broadcasters cave into political pressure all the time. ABC is a private corporation.

This is not censorship in the true sense of the word. The government is not forcing anything off the air.

The Drill SGT said...

Sip,
Never ask a question...

Concannon: How do you know that you wrote a 1?

Nurse: I kept a copy. I have it right here

Concannon: Objection....

What made you think to keep an insignificant record and hold it for 4 years?
----------
I liked the Cardinal and the in-house lawyer near the end:

Suit: Legally its over Cocannon was brilliant.
Cardinal: Do you believe her?
Suit: It doesm't matter, all her testimony was excluded.
Cardinal: yes, but Do you believe her?

Palladian said...

"Palladian - You really can't follow a logical thought, can you?"

Not being a clairvoyant, I do admit to having problems following other's thoughts. I can, however, follow logical writing as you will see if and when you ever present us with some.

noah said...

Hypocrisy contests are like the war in the Middle East...neverending.

Clinton officials have the right to protest, ABC has the right to cave or not cave. End of story...hypocrisy has nothing to do with it.

downtownlad said...

Oh I see Palladian - Republicans couldn't put pressure on CBS in 2003, despite the fact that they controlled all three branches of government.

But Democrats are just oh so powerful in 2006, even though they don't control any branches of government.

What planet are you living on exactly?

Fenrisulven said...

palmtree: Was it okay for the Reagan miniseries from 2003 to be yanked under political pressure?
Yes. That was not censorship - that was the public complaining loudly and vigorously, threatening to boycott etc. Thats acceptable and I have no problem with the Left doing it to ABC's film.

If so, how is that different from Democrats trying to protect the Clinton legacy?

Because Democrat members of Congress threatened to yank ABC's license if they did not comply. Thats no different than Bush telling the NYTs to pull a story or he'll confiscatre their printing press.

Incredible how so many on the Left try to ignore that point. Its also very pathetic. These are the same people who "claim" to be all upset over privacy rights in the war on terror. I'm beginning to see that they care less about the Bill of Rights and more about sticking it to Bush.

If they Left doesn't stand up against Democrats abusing their congressional powers in censoring ABC, what do they really stand for?

Brent said...

Sippican,

LOVE "the Verdict".
Classic redemption movie.

In fact, my top 10 are almost all second-, third-, or last-chance guys make good:

Ordinary People
The Verdict
Hoosiers
Class Action
Changing Lanes
Pollyanna
The Searchers
Breakin' All the Rules - the film that Jamie Foxx SHOULD have won the Oscar for, instead of that other flick.

Palladian said...

"What planet are you living on exactly?"

Thankfully not the same one as you seem to be living on: Uranus.

biwah said...

For all the talk about Rule 11 and meritless cases, it doesn't seem that any lawyers would be violating professional ethics in bringing a slander case over this movie. It portrays real people, doing and saying things they did not do, in their professional capacities, in many cases to the detriment of their professional reputations. Regardless of the outcome of the case, and assuming the complaint is well drafted, these facts would seem to get past Rule 11 without any problem, and past Rule 12 and summary judgment as well.

So, why the assumption that a civil action would be meritless? All the attacks on the would-be "censors" implicitly acknowledge that something is wrong factually here, by arguing that it just doesn't matter.

downtownlad said...

Let's see Palladian - I'll make it really simple for you.

Democrats will scream when democrats are portrayed in a bad light. And Republicans will scream censorship.

Republicans will scream when republicans are portrayed in a bad light. And Democrats will scream censorship.

You are arguing that one is justifable (when the Republicans try to get the Reagan miniseries pulled), but the other is not (the 9/11 documentary).

That makes you a hypocrite.

At least I'm being consistent in saying that they should both have aired.

Aspasia M. said...

RE: Democrats

Ann,

It seemed as if you were talking about Democrats as if you did not identify with that party.

RE: Slander Suits

That implies that it isn't the responsibility of the plaintiff to avoid filing a baseless suit. You could just file something frivolous and the judge "can always throw it out." But that isn't so. That was my point.

I was not writing in a specific or in a clear way as to the legal practices of slander suits.

I was writing about the legal practices of bringing a case in general, sloppy terms.

If we want to be specific about this docu-drama -- then of course the public standing of the players will be legally signficant. And that would need to be addressed.

(My statement came out of my personal interest in the historic ability of residents of the US to access the courts in resolving their conflicts.)

I would have no idea how far somebody could go in a slander suit in this docudrama, because I am not familiar with the legal practices governing pulic officials & slander.

But if, say, a minor character was misrepresented. And if that minor character was not a public figure? I would support that person brining a court case if it reached the level of slander.

downtownlad said...

And Palladian's infatuation with me continues.

Palladian said...

"And Palladian's infatuation with me continues."

You have really fetching thighs.

downtownlad said...

Who cares about this whole story anyway. Nobody actually watches ABC anyway.

Heck - you have to have a low IQ to even watch TV for more than 30 minutes a week. Just like you have to have a low IQ to take Hugh Hewitt seriously.

Fenrisulven said...

downtownlad:This is not censorship in the true sense of the word. The government is not forcing anything off the air.

Democrat members of Congress threatened to yank ABC's license if they did not comply.

But keep sticking your fingers in your ears. I need an amusing visual to counteract your pathetic lack of intellectual integrity.

biwah said...

To clarify my previous point, does anyone really think an attorney will be sanctioned, or indeed that a defamation case will be thrown out based on the pleadings, where the only uncertain point is the speaker's reckless disregard for the truth?

I guess this is directed at Ann.

There's plenty of basis for believing, even before discovery, that ABC knew better, but ignored the truth. They had first-hand witnesses to the events on the filmmaking team!

downtownlad said...

Wow - In Fenrisulvan's universe, the Democrats can unilaterally revoke a license despite being in the minority.

Like I said - Partisan shrills.

Aspasia M. said...

This is where you are showing you don't care about it when it doesn't favor you. My question is why aren't YOU passionate?

Ah - perhaps I should explain.

I didn't care when the Regan show was pulled. (well - like this - perhaps mildly interested. But I was far more interested in people's reactons to the upset then the actual substantive debate.)

Quite a lot of this has to do with my opinion of what shows on the public airwaves, the role of ratings, and the role of advertisers in determining content. I am also quite dissapointed that TV airwaves are not used in the public interest, but is filled with a bunch of rather crappy semi-entertaining shows. I think the FCC contracts have been misused for decades.

palmtree said...

"That was not censorship - that was the public complaining loudly and vigorously, threatening to boycott etc."

Please be informed. Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie wrote a letter to CBS President Leslie Moonves to take the Reagan miniseries off the air.

Also, does anyone really think Democratic politicians have the power to take away the licenses of hundreds of ABC affliates around the country?

downtownlad said...

Palmtree - Fenrisulven believes that. And then he claims that I lack intellectual integrity for just seeing this whole incident for what it is - partisan hacks acting like partisan hacks.

Brent said...

downtownlad

I am a conservative.

I personally know literally hundreds of conservatives that feel exactly as I do, and I know that millions of them believe the same.

I did not protest the Reagan Film. I did not concern myself with trying to stop others from seeing it. In addition, CBS did not heavily promote it as a neutral film, but rather as a "story." I am not afraid of anyone being brainwashed by it.

I did not protest "Nixon" by Oliver Stone. I don't believe that it is accurate by a long shot in its conversations, but I admire the filmaking craft that went into it. And, Anthony Hopkins is incredible in it. I am not afraid of anyone being brainwashed by it.

I am, however, realistically concerned about the "brainwashing of our young people in America on a daily basis when they are presented with a supposedly "neutral" news source that presumes that every good and thinking person in America:

-)is pro-choice throughout a woman's entire pregnancy,

-)believes that those that are unconfortable with gay marriage only do so because they are bigoted and small-minded,

-)believes that those who support the Bush administration currently in Iraq are "stupid people who believe that Iraq was connected to 9/11".

That is the daily template that is served up in the majority "neutral" media in the way their news articles are written (negative headlines and first and last paragraphs that cast Bush and the GOP in anegative light) and particularly the front page "News Analysis".

It is plain wrong and leads to the further dumbing down of our citizenry and factionalizes our nation unnecessarily.



Hypocrite is a VERY serious term to me. I am already trying to not be one in areas of my life.

But in this area - no, I find FAR MORE hypocrisy on the left.

And that's the way it is . . .

SMGalbraith said...

does anyone really think Democratic politicians have the power to take away the licenses of hundreds of ABC affliates around the country?

So, if they just took away 12 or 15, that would be okay?

What's your tipping point?

SMG

downtownlad said...

When you don't associate with either the Republicans or the Democrats, it's hard to get excited about this whole incident.

It's partisan bloggers trying to create their own news.

Fenrisulven said...

downtownlad: Wow - In Fenrisulvan's universe, the Democrats can unilaterally revoke a license despite being in the minority.

Minority status is irrelevant - its still censorship.

Besides, the letter implies the signing Democrats will be in key chairman positions post November, after they take control of the House.

Keep squirming.

Ann Althouse said...

The question whether the Dems have the power to revoke licenses is not the point. The point is that they have shown that they support this use of government power. And so do various commenters here. I had no interest in this movie before. I'm just dismayed at how little people care about freedom of speech. The standard being asserted for movies that take on political figures is ridiculous. It needs to be possible to set out a historical interpretation in dramatized form. It shouldn't be a risky enterprise in America.

The Drill SGT said...

biwah said...
For all the talk about Rule 11 and meritless cases, it doesn't seem that any lawyers would be violating professional ethics in bringing a slander case over this movie.


Ann and to some extent me talked about rule 11 in the context of this quote rather than the ABC case in specific:

But bringing a complaint to court is a civil right.

The judge can always throw it out if it's determined to have no merit.


As for the merits of this case, I think that Berger would be able to prove that what was presented was not accurate in a particular specific, but a disclaimer at the front of the show should protect them. They also have protection from the principle of Fair comment on a matter of public interest. Then there is the issue of discovery. Berger would not like civil discovery at all. Neither would Clinton. all and all, I think a slander case would be a net loss for Berger.

Joan said...

The chairman of the RNC is not an elected official. He's a party official, but he's not in the government. Can't you see the difference between sitting senators firing off thinly veiled threats about yanking licenses, and an unelected party official?

As for whether or not the Democratic senators could actually get those licenses yanked (heh), I don't know. I don't have a clue who's running the FCC, and it wouldn't surprise me in the least to find out that it's staffed by government lifers hostile to the current administration. I mean, the CIA and State Dept. have been that way throughout the Bush administration, why should the FCC be any different?

downtownlad said...

Brent - You say that there is hypocrisy on the left. I completely agree. And this is news? Both the right and left are hypocrites.

But people are allowed to have have different opinions and viewpoints. And the media is allowed to choose whatever side they want. That's free speech.

For example, I think you ARE a bigot if you oppose gay marriage. If that annoys you then don't be friends with me. I certainly wouldn't associate with you if you're against gay marriage.

We're both allowed to disagree with each other. And we're both allowed to think the other guy is a jerk.

Personally - that's what makes this country great.

Fenrisulven said...

Palmtree: Please be informed. Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie wrote a letter to CBS President Leslie Moonves to take the Reagan miniseries off the air

And which branch of government was Ed Gillespie a member of? Please, since you are so "informed".

SMGalbraith said...

, it's hard to get excited about this whole incident.

Look, you've invested your last series of posts trying to dismiss the concern about government officials threatening the licenses of a network if they broadcast a program they don't like.

You bring up these completely irrelevant examples of the Reagan film or some other event.

If you don't think goverment officials of any political party - and even if in the minority in Congress - telling a network not to broadcast a program or else their affiliates may lose their licenses is a big deal, then you've got a different concept of the First Amendment than I do.

SMG

downtownlad said...

But smgalbraith thinks it's just dandy when a government offical DEMANDS that PBS remove a show that portrayed lesbians in a postive light.

That bitch happens to be a cabinet member. And that bitch got her way. The show was banned.

But oh yes - that's somehow NOT censorship.

Hypocrites.

Fenrisulven said...

downtownlad: We're both allowed to disagree with each other.

Not anymore. Democrats in Congress may decide to yank Ann's server if they don't like the content.

Lets remember all this next time the Left starts complaing about percieved violations of civil rights. They don't really care about all that, as this demonstrates. They want one set of law for their people, another set for the rest.

SMGalbraith said...

But smgalbraith thinks it's just dandy when a government offical DEMANDS that PBS remove a show that portrayed lesbians in a postive light.

Okay, show me in any of my posts in this thread where I said that?

Put up or withdraw the charge, please.

SMG

downtownlad said...

Fenrisulven

This is politcal posturing by the Democrats. And if you really think that people are going to be talking about this whole thing a week from now - you have no idea how the real world works.

Brent said...

downtownlad,

Agreed. That is what makes this country great.

But, this country is made daily LESS great by the dishonest packaging of news.

So here is the deal:
Let every "news source" proclaim it's overall loyalty up front.

-AND-

let EVERYONE stop trying to persuade everyone else - particularly our young people - that the news that they see is fair and neutral.

There is an agenda behind every article. Be upfront about it.

Now - I believe so strongly in my political positions, that I am not afraid to have an "honest agenda" America like I just described. I actually believe that more of our citizenry's eyes will be opened , and that conservative positions would even more easily win the day.

Can you say the same about your side? Or do you need to keep as many in the dark about your true agendas as possible, to protect the public opinion that you believe already goes your way?


PS. I would not dissassociate myself from you just because I believe you to are bigoted and intolerant of those who feel differently than you.

Derve said...

"Hey, speaking of the 19th century, do you know why Oscar Wilde went to prison?"

Excellent literature reference!
His lover's pa accused him of homosexuality with his son, so Wilde sued for slander not thinking they'd enforce the homosexuality laws on the books. He guessed wrong. Two years in prison was rough on an aesthete like Wilde; he died a few years after release at 46. Do I win a mixtape?!??

I have an old paperback "The Ballad of Reading Gaol" with rounded cut corners I'd not seen before. Very pleasing to see and hold, so appropriate for Wilde's tastes.

downtownlad said...

Smgalbraith,

Well I look forward to you writing to Secretary Spellings, demanding that they air this episode from Postcards for Buster.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6869976/

downtownlad said...

Well Brent - life is short, so I don't waste my time with bigots.

Which is why I haven't called my mother in a while even though she has cancer.

SMGalbraith said...

Well I look forward to you writing to Secretary Spellings, demanding that they air this episode from Postcards for Buster.

Withdraw the charge, please.

You stated that I wrote something here I never did.

If you're an adult, you'd withdraw it and apologize.

If not, I'll move on.

SMG

downtownlad said...

Are you trying to censor my smgalbraith? We all know that the essence of what I said was correct.

Brent said...

downtownlad,

Life is short. That's WHY you should call your mother.

Freder Frederson said...

No, but Kingsfield in "Paper Chase" insults a student who gives a bad answer by asking him if he feels the wind blowing on his backside or something like that.

Ah, so you see yourself as a latter day Kingsfield. I always thought that the point of The Paper Chase was that Kingsfield was nothing but a bully and a sadist who took pleasure in tormenting and belittling his students. That in the end the hero of the movie realizes that Kingsfield is nothing but a big jerk (and probably mentally unbalanced) and a bad teacher to boot, certainly not someone to be admired, but rather pitied, nothing but a "warped, frustrated old man". That is why, at the end of the movie, he throws away his exam without even looking at the grade.

Of course, for the tv show, Kingsfield morphed into the gruff, but ultimately wise, and tough but fair, senior professor who everybody looks up to (kind of a legal Andy Roony). And that is the Kingsfield personality everybody remembers--and John Houseman parlayed into "we earn money the old-fashioned way".

Palladian said...

"For example, I think you ARE a bigot if you oppose gay marriage. If that annoys you then don't be friends with me. I certainly wouldn't associate with you if you're against gay marriage."

Really? The only time you seem to come leave comments here is when you want to bitch about someone, or fight with someone, or call people bigots and worse when they have the temerity to disagree with you. We'd like not to be friends with you (even those among us that do support gay marriage) but you keep showing up. You're like a dog that won't quit humping our leg, and you make everything that you advocate, even the good things you advocate, seem unappealing.

palmtree said...

"And which branch of government was Ed Gillespie a member of? Please, since you are so "informed"."

I never said Ed Gillespie was an elected politician. But he is not an average citizen either. Do you beg to differ?

"The standard being asserted for movies that take on political figures is ridiculous."

I agree. It was ridiculous when the Reagan show was pulled off the air. It is ridiculous now for this show. But I don't call political pressure to taking a program off the air unusual in any way. It's business as usual in TV land, which is completely different from print.

SMGalbraith said...

Are you trying to censor my smgalbraith? We all know that the essence of what I said was correct.

You have no idea as to my personal views on gay and lesbian people.

Now grow up and act like an adult, please.

Last offer: Withdraw the accusation that I wrote something I didn't.

When adults say something wrong - as we all do - they apologize and move on.

If you can't apologize, I'll understand.

Let's try and keep this reasonably civil.

SMG

Fenrisulven said...

downtownlad: And if you really think x [then]you have no idea how the real world works.

LOL. And I thought you had run out of rhetorical fallacies.

You've tried to ignore it, you've tried to draw false equivalence, you've played the "both sides are just as bad card", but the question still stands:

Democrats in Congress threatened to yank ABC's license unless they complied with recommended edits

Do you support this? Or are you a "buffet" liberal, refusing to defend the Bill of Rights when your leaders abuse it.

I think its an impeachable offense.

downtownlad said...

No Brent - she's a bigot who said she didn't want anything to do with my personal life. So I'm happy to ignore hers as well.

Of course that upsets her, but hey - there are consequences to people's choices. She has to live with them, even if her time left is short.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann Althouse said...

The Drill SGT "As for the merits of this case, I think that Berger would be able to prove that what was presented was not accurate in a particular specific, but a disclaimer at the front of the show should protect them. They also have protection from the principle of Fair comment on a matter of public interest. Then there is the issue of discovery. Berger would not like civil discovery at all. Neither would Clinton. all and all, I think a slander case would be a net loss for Berger."

And don't forget the documents Berger destroyed! That supports all kinds of inferences against him. I would love to be the lawyer thinking up the arguments there. That would be rich! If he goes on the attack, the other side will fight back. You've got to think about that before filing suit.

Remember what was in the document he admits destroying (according to the WaPo article linked in the post (and cited in the first comment): "The document, written by former National Security Council terrorism expert Richard A. Clarke, was an 'after-action review' prepared in early 2000 detailing the administration's actions to thwart terrorist attacks during the millennium celebration. It contained considerable discussion about the administration's awareness of the rising threat of attacks on U.S. soil."

He's got a lot of nerve complaining about how he's depicted!

And call him to the stand and grill him about why he did it and what was in it.

Come on. He can't sue.

downtownlad said...

Fenrisullivan - Yes I completely support the Democrats in having the FREE SPEECH right to argue for the yanking of ABC's license. I support 100% their right to say that.

I disagree with what they're saying. And I think they have 0% chance of actually revoking the ABC license. So I don't care. The Democrats are coming across like fools. They will cause the ratings to skyrocket, so they are shooting themselves in the foot.

But do I think the Democrats should be silenced? No - that's censorship.

Palladian said...

"Now grow up and act like an adult, please."

Obviously you're not familiar with downtownlad's contributions here. In a word, don't hold your breath.

Fenrisulven said...

palmtree: I never said Ed Gillespie was an elected politician.

Thats why your analogy is flawed - Ed Gillespie is not part of the government. And you figured it out all by yourself. How cute.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
downtownlad said...

And Palladian's infatuation with me STILL continues.

Astounding. If he disagrees with me so much, why can't he just ignore me.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann Althouse said...

Freder Frederson: "Ah, so you see yourself as a latter day Kingsfield."

Take my quote out of context and draw a conclusion that's completely not what I said? That's how you work? Well, I usually skip your comments and think I'll go back to that policy. Yank up your pants now. I'm telling you for the last time.

Brent said...

downtownlad,

This sounds cliche but trust me, as you get older you will actuall find regret in that position.

Your mother may be all you say she is, and that is regrettable. But writing her off completely, especially when you will soon have the upperhand mentally, will not be something that you will wish.

At the end of life - and I'm talking about your's now, not her's - family is all that really matters.

Fenrisulven said...

downtownlad: Yes I completely support the Democrats in having the FREE SPEECH right to argue for the yanking of ABC's license. I support 100% their right to say that.

Another evasion. You make no distinction between Democrats in Congress threatening to yank ABC's license and the Democrat citizens doing the same thing.

Here's a hint: one is an abuse of power and is censorship, the other is protected by the 1st ammendment.

You just can't do it, can you? You refuse to fault your fascist leaders. Its no different than if Bush threatened to close down the NYTs unless they pulled a story. Since its Congressional Democrats abusing the constitution, you're cool with that.

You've had two threads to come clean. Thanks for fessing up.

SMGalbraith said...

You're a pleasant fellow and I'm always interested in what you have to offer.

Thanks. Same to you and nearly everone else here regardless of their viewpoint.

For what it's worth, it was/is wrong for folks to pressure PBS to pull a show just because it portrays gays and lesbians as humans.

They have the right to do it; it's just not the right thing to do.

But as has been noted here ad nauseam, when public officials wielding the power of the state threaten others if they broadcast a program they don't like, that's not only not the right thing to do, they don't have the right to do it.

SMG

Brent said...

Sippicancottage,

Tender Mercies! I forgot how good that was!

I am soon turning the Big Five-O.

Still different ages?

Freder Frederson said...

It needs to be possible to set out a historical interpretation in dramatized form.

You keep saying this and then turning around and insulting me every time I bring up the inconvenient fact that there are scenes in this docudrama that go beyond "historical interpretation in dramatized form" and are verifiable falsehoods and absolutely contradict historical facts.

Does slapping the "docudrama" label on it absolve ABC of any need to adhere to reality. Could they have a scene where Clinton meets OBL at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, invites him over to the White House, where they watch Ferris Bueller together, after which Clinton calls OBL the most "rightous dude I ever met, even more so than Ferris Bueller". Would such a scene still qualify as an "historical interpretation in dramatized form."

You imply, without ever coming out and saying it directly, that the only recourse that a party that knows he or she is about to be slandered on nationwide television, should be allowed is shut up until after the fact and then sue the network.

Do I have your position right, or are you just going to tell me my power rangers underwear has skidmarks and I have a bloody nose?

Brent said...

Freder asks:

Does slapping the "docudrama" label on it absolve ABC of any need to adhere to reality. Could they have a scene where Clinton meets OBL at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, invites him over to the White House, where they watch Ferris Bueller together, after which Clinton calls OBL the most "rightous dude I ever met, even more so than Ferris Bueller". Would such a scene still qualify as an "historical interpretation in dramatized form.

The answer is: Yes.

SMGalbraith said...

Could they have a scene where Clinton meets OBL at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, invites him over to the White House, where they watch Ferris Bueller together, after which Clinton calls OBL the most "rightous dude I ever met, even more so than Ferris Bueller". Would such a scene still qualify as an "historical interpretation in dramatized form."

Oliver Stone and Michael Moore are on Line 1. They wish to talk with you immediately.

SMG

The Drill SGT said...

Ann,
Remember what was in the document he admits destroying (according to the WaPo article linked in the post (and cited in the first comment):


In case you didn't notice, my WaPo link was different than yours, and I think better. It discusses Berger's plea.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A16706-2005Mar31.html

FF, Ann didn't start the Kingsfield meme, I asked her not to grill Geoduck like kingfield.

The Drill SGT said...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A16706-2005Mar31.html

A few snips from the WaPo on the incident where where Berger stole 5 copies of the same Top Secret memo on terrorism in order to keep the 9/11 commission from learning what a great job the Clinton team had done.

The terms of Berger's agreement required him to acknowledge to the Justice Department the circumstances of the episode. Rather than misplacing or unintentionally throwing away three of the five copies he took from the archives, as the former national security adviser earlier maintained, he shredded them with a pair of scissors late one evening at the downtown offices of his international consulting business.

The document, written by former National Security Council terrorism expert Richard A. Clarke, was an "after-action review" prepared in early 2000 detailing the administration's actions to thwart terrorist attacks during the millennium celebration. It contained considerable discussion about the administration's awareness of the rising threat of attacks on U.S. soil.

Berger's archives visit occurred as he was reviewing materials as a designated representative of the Clinton administration to the national commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The question of what Clinton knew and did about the emerging al Qaeda threat before leaving office in January 2001 was acutely sensitive, as suggested by Berger's determination to spend hours poring over the Clarke report before his testimony.

to summarize: He stole 5 copies of the same memo that only varied in that they had margin notes by different WH staffers, or perhaps Clinton, as they were circulated. He destroyed 3 and thought that 2 versions had comments that looked good. I wonder who did the margin notes on the copies that were destroyed and what they said?

So this is the guy that thinks that he is being portrayed poorly in a fictional account of pre-9/11.

so sue!!

Freder Frederson said...

Fair comment on a matter of public interest.

Fair comment to say that the CIA had OBL surrounded and Sandy Berger refused to allow CIA operatives to assault his hiding place when it is a documented fact this never happened and that the White House had cleared killing OBL if the opportunity arose. That all proposed operations that even had a chance to come close to tracking down OBL were rejected by Tenet (not Berger) because they were single-sourced or unreliable. Furthermore, if such an incident had occurred it would have been Tenet, not Berger who would have given final approval.

Those are the facts. ABC's little scenario is counterfactual and ridiculous.

And you are the one who made reference to obscure seventies movies and television shows that mean something only to a few law students and professors. Law professors who refer to Kingsfield are likely to make people think they admire the character. Sorry if I jumped to conclusions. But you have spent all day insulting and belittling me, rather like Kingsfield took much pleasure doing to his students in The Paper Chase.

Brent said...

Freder,

Again, I apologize if I was rude to you.

Your reference to "obscure seventies movies" again piques my curiosity. As I asked on the previous thread:How old are you?

JSF said...

The Lefties commenting here are neglecting one fact, the Democrat Senators are using the power of the State to try to influence how something will be broadcast. It does not matter if they can or cannot follow through with the threat, the implication is: Do not harm the Clinton's or we will destroy you [Living in DC during the 90's, I heard that threat thrown to a lot of my GOP friends]. And as far as the Reagan biopic, not one Senator or House member threatened CBS -- it was local activists who got enraged. The people between the Blue States whose viewed are ignored by the networks. This is threatened censorship by the powrer of the State. INGSOC = Democrats. Big Brother = House of Clinton. Chew on that.

Freder Frederson said...

I'll be 45 next month.

Brent said...

Freder,

Thank you!

Welcome to another "boomer".

The Drill SGT said...


Freder Frederson said...
Fair comment on a matter of public interest....

And you are the one who made reference to obscure seventies movies and television shows that mean something only to a few law students and professors. Law professors who refer to Kingsfield are likely to make people think they admire the character. Sorry if I jumped to conclusions. But you have spent all day insulting and belittling me, rather like Kingsfield took much pleasure doing to his students in The Paper Chase.


I am not sure whether you are referring to me or Ann. I guess I should be flattered at your typical overstatement and error prone posting if it's focused at me. I've purposely ignored your rants all day, beyond the minor reference to Kingfield in the previous post. I'd just as soon not interact with you when your in full BDS mode.I don't think you are contributing much to the discussion, but WTH, we still have freedom of speech.

Fritz said...

Desperation in Clintonville. The President that has a lackacy in history. When TV movies might have such a great impact, perhaps there is little substance in history for his Presidency. Oh how Reagan was so belittled in real time, yet history has stripped that nonsense away. Politicians are not protected by slander or liable laws. Hell, if that were the case, President Bush could shut down MSM news.

Aspasia M. said...

FF, Ann didn't start the Kingsfield meme, I asked her not to grill Geoduck like kingfield.

It's ok - geoducks are tough.

And I do think it's ridiculous for a Senator to threaten FCC contracts. Senators (or other people who are speaking as government officials) should be rightly popped for that, particularly over a political objection.

But, make no mistake, this docudrama sounds like horseshit to me. I have absolutely no problem with groups or individuals complaining to ABC about the drama or pressuring ABC about the movie.

That's why I draw a strong line between official state power and soft power, such as interest groups.

(And Burger isn't a representative of the state at this time. Which is why I started going on defining state censorship versus other forms of censorship.)

knoxgirl said...

Wow what a thread. So far I count two people who support the democrats' efforts to suppress this movie, but claim to not really care: dtl and geo. Each have many, many posts. But guys, listen, you're the shills! They don't care!

geoduck: Stop being so disingenuously passive-aggressive. Show your true colors and stop batting your eyelashes and saying, "who, me"? Think: WWTD?

This whole issue is so repulsive. The party of free speech indeed.

Pull a movie because of "inaccuracies" and then praise every Michael Moore piece of propaganda that he shits out every few years. Heck, give the man and Oscar! Give him the Palm d'or!

I love Ann's metaphor of the pants around the ankles. I'll add to that: what's hiding under there is a big old diaper.

JSF said...

Does anybody remember during the '90's about how the Clinton Political Office held over 200 GOP FBI files? For all the Democrat talk of civil liberties, they only care about civil liberties when it applies to them. So, Feder, did the Clinton's do right by holding the GOP FBI files and threaten their political enemies with destruction? Or is it OK because they support your cause?

Brent said...

Here is my favorite comment from another blog's current thread discussing the same issue:

"My Mom and sister repeatedly told my 16 yr old son in the run-up to the last election that Bush would reinstate the draft if he won. They continue to tell him that today. They also had absolutely no idea who Zarqawi was and why his death was significant. Though they live in a major media center, hold college degrees, are intelligent and watch the news daily, they do not know anything other than that Bush is very, very bad. It makes for great fun when we all get together for the holidays."


I'm tellin' ya - the left still controls what most Americans see and hear for "news", deny the fact that's it them and their agenda that they promote, and are scared to death at losing ground on a major network:

Democrats: "Not ABC! We OWN ABC!"

dreamingmonkey said...

Great thread.

Am I the only person that does not believe that Harry Reid's letter can honestly be construed as a threat to pull ABC's license? That just seems like such an extreme interpretation. Let alone the issue of whether it would be legally permissible, it just seems a stretch to interpret a censurious (sp?) letter with a threat to revoke a broadcasting license. As I interpret the letter, it says "you have an obligation to the public interest, and broadcasting this would be irresponsible and in violation of that obligation."

Does anyone actually interpret that as a threat to revoke ABC's broadcasting license? Does anybody at ABC actually interpret it that way? I'm not saying the letter was appropriate, but I cannot see how it can realistically be interpreted as a threat, veiled or otherwise. Obviously the democrats have a right to complain, and loudly, if they don't like the characterization of their party in the film. I think people are crying wolf with respect to the spectre of government censorship.

Derve said...

"I love Ann's metaphor of the pants around the ankles."

Actually, knoxgirl, that one was Brent's. Still like it as much?? *big brown smooooch*

knoxgirl said...

props to Brent!

It's no secret I like Ann's blog, I'm reading and commenting here every day.

Old Dad said...

dreamingmonkey:

The legislative branch can make it very unpleasant for broadcasters. The threat is veiled, but inartfully.

Imagine you're a suit at ABC, and you've got to evaluate the risk return of running this silly "docudrama" vs. the potential of a congressional hearing, should the Dems win the House this November. It was a threat, plain and simple.

But not a promise.

Aspasia M. said...

As I interpret the letter, it says "you have an obligation to the public interest, and broadcasting this would be irresponsible and in violation of that obligation."

I haven't read the letter.

But if I was ABC I wouldn't be concerned about a license actually being pulled.

I'm flat out a liberal democrat and I don't like senators to go there.

Although I'm much less concerned about a political representative talking this way about the public air waves then any other type of communication media. (I'm less concerned because of the problematic history of the FCC & constant problems about the public airwaves not being used for the public interest.)

But in the scope of government abuse, this is a very mild concern of mine. And I wouldn't be upset if ABC pulled the docu-drama because of pressure from citizen groups and complaints of inaccuracies about the content.

But this thread didn't start out with a concern for state censorship.

It began as a complaint about Berger complaining. And Berger is not a state official nor does he have state power with which to threaten ABC.

SMGalbraith said...

but I cannot see how it can realistically be interpreted as a threat, veiled or otherwise.

Well, are you at all familiar with the games that Congress and the White House (both Parties) have engaged in over the years in granting and revoking or not renewing licenses?

There's a history here; and it's not a pretty one. Let's try not to repeat it.

Second, why even mention the licenses? Why not just say that ABC has a obligation to the public to present fair and accurate programs.

Seriously, why do you think they included the licenses reference in the letter? If I'm not mistaken, these (the Senators) are all lawyers. Or at least, I betcha' dollars to Krystal burgers that the people who drew up the letters are.

What's the purpose, in other words, of mentioning the legal obligations and licensing requirements?

SMG

Aspasia M. said...

I'm tellin' ya - the left still controls what most Americans see and hear for "news",

Um...we think that's a bunch of horseshit.

The "left" is almost never represented on major media TV or Cable. The "left" is rarely represented in major outlets such as the NYTimes or the WA Post.

You're talking about a specific type of reporter-culture, most likely. This culture drives everybody, of almost all political pursuasions crazy. But that's not the "left."

Ann Althouse said...

Note to drill sgt: I added the link in your comment to the original post.

Brent said...

geoduck2,

Happy to engage:
First, what is your definition of "left"?

Aspasia M. said...

This whole issue is so repulsive. The party of free speech indeed.

Do you want a suggestion?

Start your own version of the ACLU.

Stop depending on other people to protect your civil liberties and start your own group.

If you're for free speech (and other civil liberties) - put your money, your time, and your political capital firmly behind this group.

I am quite sincere with this suggestion.

Political conservatives have depended upon liberals to uphold your civil rights. (I except the 2nd amendment here.) But you've certainly relied upon liberals to protect your constitutional rights of free speech. And you've bashed that group for political gain. (remember Dukakis - a "card carrying member of the ACLU" indeed!)

------------

And in terms of politics -- I'd suggest people stop pretending that one party should be above party politics and remove themselves from the game. (Oh - the "party of free speech")

Give me a break. The democratic party is not the ACLU. They are a political party and will always play a political game. If you want your civil liberties protected I highly suggest you do not depend upon a political party to do it for you.

Ruth Anne Adams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann Althouse said...

People keep talking about "ABC's license," but remember ABC is a network, producing shows. The licenses belong to the affiliate stations around the country. They might decide not to run the show. I'm not sure how this changes the political analysis. Arguably, they are more vulnerable to political pressure.

I'm surprised the Democrats are willing to be so overt about applying this pressure. To me, they just look like bullies, willing to abuse power. Ironically, this makes the negative portrayal they are saying is wrong more believable. They are also giving a lot of publicity to the show and to the historical view they want to suppress. And having Berger out front on this is really strange. So strange it heightens my suspicions. I feel a new antipathy toward Bill Clinton (whom I voted for twice) and have to wonder what this says about Hillary.

And of course, now I plan to watch the show, which I wouldn't have done otherwise.

Aspasia M. said...

Happy to engage:
First, what is your definition of "left"?


Paul Wellstone

Not Michael Kinsley. I'd put him at the center or, at most, center left.

But see the Times articles about Lamont today for an example of what I'm talking about. (and I don't think it's a political problem, as much as a wierd version of gotcha-politics that isn't actually very well done.)

Aspasia M. said...

"The Reagans" mini-series did not air on CBS, but it did air on Showtime, also owned by Viacom.

Remember - cable versus public air waves.

I didn't follow that controversy close enough to know why and how it ended up on cable. But cable isn't in the same classification of media as the public air waves.

dreamingmonkey said...

Why mention the license? Because the alleged obligation is an obligation that exists under the license. No, I'm not that familiar with all the 'games' that have been played with licensing over the years, but I feel pretty confident that ABC is not going to have its broadcasting license revoked over this. Maybe in communist China that might happen, but not here, and everybody from the most moonbatty liberal to the most wingnutty conservative knows that.

If I were a suit at ABC, I might be concerned about the political fallout from this - that's the reason people are protesting -- to put political pressure on the network. But that is a far, far, far cry from suggesting that anybody is claiming that ABC is somehow risking it's broadcasting license by bravely broadcasting this docudrama. It just ain't so.

Here's the letter again:

http://democrats.senate.gov/newsroom/record.cfm?id=262624&

Glenn Howes said...

I'm harping in here to point out that I too am trying to rationalize someone who is (a) passionately in favor of free speech, and (b) an eager Feingold voter. It does not make sense. Perhaps you are using the Wookie Defense.

But really, I don't think you have a leg to stand on chastising others for their less than full throated defense of the first amendment, when a man you voted for, and would presumably vote for again, ripped the heart out of it and flushed it down the toilet. Shame on you.

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