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Friday, February 18, 2005

Soldiers Saying Fuck 

Courtesy of Zemblan patriot M.F.: We understand why they don't photograph the coffins flying home. We understand why they don't keep any systematic count of the number of Iraqi civilians killed. We understand why they locked the press out of Fallujah. We understand why they destroy evidence of the torture and abuse of detainees. But is it absolutely necessary to shield American eyes and ears from the unbearably harsh reality that our boys in Iraq sometimes talk dirty?
PBS has warned its member stations that it cannot protect them against federal indecency sanctions if they broadcast an unedited, profanity-laced version of a documentary about a United States Army regiment in Baghdad as it faced insurgent attacks leading up to the Iraqi elections, producers of the documentary said yesterday.

The documentary, "A Company of Soldiers," was produced by Front- line, a production of WGBH, the public television station in Boston, and is scheduled to be broadcast on Tuesday night. The Public Broadcasting Service will offer its stations both an edited and an unexpurgated version, as it commonly does with programs that have content that might be objectionable in some parts of the country.

But producers at Frontline said PBS had taken the unusual step of offering only the edited version of the film for direct retransmission. Stations that want the unedited version, which the producers say is the one that captures the realities of combat faced by soldiers in Iraq, will be required to pre-record it and to sign a waiver indemnifying PBS against damages or fines they might incur because of the broadcast.

David Fanning, the executive producer of Frontline, said in a telephone interview that he believed the PBS decision was motivated by confusion over rulings by the Federal Communications Commission over what constitutes indecency.
UPDATE: More on the Broadcast Indecency Act of 2005, which earlier this week passed the House 389-38, here.

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