Television stations shouldn’t live in fear of FCC

By Freedom New Mexico

Who knew? Turns out World War II was the profanity-free war. It resulted in tens of millions of deaths worldwide but not a single bad word was uttered.

Of course, that’s not really the case. But one might get that impression from watching “The War,” an otherwise riveting, 15-hour documentary from gifted filmmaker Ken Burns.

The documentary itself is almost beyond criticism. It’s a moving account of World War II and how it affected four American towns and their residents.

But fear of the Federal Communications Commission hitting stations with big fines for airing profanity has prompted PBS to offer two versions of this documentary.

We have an edited version that bleeps out any questionable words.

We also have the “naughty” version that contains a whopping four objectionable words spoken by veterans reliving the horrors of what they faced.

One thing they didn’t say: Gosh darn, that bullet came close.

PBS might be airing the program, but we’re talking about World War II here, not “Sesame Street.”

“The War” is a documentary about a vast conflict that changed the world.

Sept. 11, 2001, and the events that followed also changed the world.

Let’s not also have to argue that Janet Jackson and her so-called “wardrobe malfunction” changed the world — or even the country for that matter.

In this particular case, it’s doubtful the FCC will fine any PBS station that chooses to run the unedited versions.

Veterans groups would line up against the FCC if this were to happen.

But now broadcast TV stations make their decisions based on a fear of fines from a heavy-handed government agency, even when the context for such content is serious enough to warrant its inclusion.

The stations should be able to make their decisions based on what’s right for their viewers. But no one will know the true motivation for any similar decision again.