A while back, I wrote about Academy Award-winning writer and director Bill Condon who has produced a brilliant film on the life and work of sex-researcher Alfred Kinsey. Here are the first and second links to my posts about this important film and director.
I saw this film as one that depicted the ongoing battle in our society between rationality and science on one hand versus dogma and a strain of empirically-hostile religious extremism on the other.
Well, a cold current of censorship has now just hit even New York’s flagship PBS station, WNET Channel 13.
You may recall that a league of ABC affiliations refused to air Saving Private Ryan last week. Now, WNET will not air ads about Kinsey not because of the content of the ads — but because of the subject matter of the movie.
Seriously WNET — do we need to live through the same anti-intellectualism and sexually repressed hyperventilation that Alfred Kinsey fought in the 1940s?! I can’t believe that this important station is forfeiting its leadership role as an educational oasis for the public. Does WNET fear Michael Powell and the FCC also?
This is the note I received from a friend:
Kinsey ads were just rejected by WNET – Channel 13 – PBS.
The spots were not the problem, the film’s content was.
Tom Conway, the CFO of WNET who oversees the underwriting department and views the spots for approval made the call NOT to take the ad. Tom was not comfortable with the content of this movie and because there has been controversial press re: groups speaking out against the movie/subject matter, they feel that they can’t risk viewer complaints on this.
I think that this kind of subtle censorship is outrageous — and those of you who feel so inclined should contact WNET and let them know what you think.
Here is WNET’s contact page.
I prefer to live in a nation committed to the Enlightenment, to ideas, to progress, to the notion that science and technology can improve our world. I like culture and holidays, and churches, and mosques…but not at the expense of rational discourse.
Don’t let those who want to make censorship the norm win in these cases. And remember, our watching Saving Private Ryan or being exposed to the issues raised by Bill Condon’s Kinsey are not at all the same as Janet Jackson’s breast airing at a football game.
But religious zealots are riding Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction as the best vehicle to shut down our tolerant and intellectually informed society.
— Steve Clemons