November 15, 2004
The ABC television network has decided not to air a broadcast of the movie "Saving Private Ryan," starring Tom Hanks.
Many local ABC affiliates raised concerns that the F.C.C. might fine them for airing the film because of its extreme violence and strong language.
I have long been a supporter of the notion that the F.C.C. ought to uphold the law and standards it exists to enforce.
The FCC's failure to do this over the years has brought us trashy television that invades too many homes uninvited.
This movie was made for theaters.
If people want to pay money to see it that's one thing.
HBO, or one of the other pay cable networks is a fine place for it.
But broadcast television is something else.
The F.C.C has always regarded broadcast TV as something different because it is carried on public airwaves.
People can talk about censorship - and they will - but this film is available on DVD and millions saw it in movie theaters.
I hope the recent FCC crackdown on indecency restores some decency to broadcast TV, no matter how late they got started.
In Canton, Ohio, I'm Cal Thomas.
Beyond The News Commentaries, produced daily by Salem Communications, bring concise and penetrating insight to everything from the current headlines to challenges facing the church, from our culture wars to the Middle East conflict and from Hollywood to Washington, D.C. These daily features cover politics, culture, religion and science with perspective from the sharpest minds in the Christian and conservative world today: David Aikman, Terry Eastland, Hugh Hewitt, Michael Medved, Albert Mohler, Dennis Prager and Janet Parshall.