Friday, October 27, 2006

Anderson Cooper and Free Speech

While there is some truth to the rumor that Anderson Cooper's first piece for "60 Minutes" is a profile on Kenny Chesney, wouldn’t the issue of censorship and free speech be a more fitting subject for an Emmy award-winning journalist?

In this election season when the definition of the word "patriotic" is so easily questioned, here is a story that confronts just one of the basic freedoms that is often the first one to be denied...free speech.

Anderson, I hope that you're paying attention to what we're telling you! Kenny Chesney...not so much.

(Hollywood Reporter)–The company distributing a new documentary about the Dixie Chicks has blasted the NBC and CW networks for allegedly refusing to accept a commercial spot for the film, which opens in four theaters today (Oct. 27).

In a press release issued yesterday, the Weinstein Co. said NBC rejected a spot for "Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing," because the spot included material that "disparages President Bush."

The film, playing initially in Los Angeles and New York, revolves around the political firestorm stirred up in 2003 when the Dixie Chicks criticized Bush during a concert in London.

The Weinstein Co. distributed documents that appeared to be from NBC's advertising standards division rejecting the spots and with the handwritten remarks about President Bush.

An NBC executive declined comment, while CW spokesperson Paul McGuire said, "The release is flat-out inaccurate."

The Weinstein Co. distributed a document from CW that referred to "concerns (that) we do not have appropriate programming in which to schedule this spot." CW countered that it had been in conversations with the Weinstein Co. about taking the spot, but those talks never progressed beyond where on the CW schedule the spot would run. "The whole matter is rather a mystery to us," McGuire said of the hubbub.

According to a source, the spot has been cleared for broadcast on CBS, MTV and on local NBC, CW, ABC and Fox affiliates in New York and Los Angeles, as well as on local cable systems, including local spots on Fox News and CNN.

The commercial, posted at a web site connected to the movie, features footage of Dixie Chicks singer Natalie Maines making the comment that the band is "ashamed that the president of the United States is from Texas" as well as footage of Bush reacting to the controversy and scenes of anti-Dixie Chicks protests that erupted after Maines' comment was publicized.

"It's a sad commentary about the level of fear in our society that a movie about a group of courageous entertainers who were blacklisted for exercising their right of free speech is now itself being blacklisted by corporate America," said Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman of the Weinstein Co. His release went so far as to include a comment from famed litigator David Boies.

The Dixie Chicks latest album, "Taking the Long Way" was released on May 23, 2006. Here is a sample from their first single, "Not Ready to Make Nice":

I made my bed and I sleep like a baby

With no regrets and I don't mind sayin'
It's a sad sad story when a mother will teach her
Daughter that she ought to hate a perfect stranger
And how in the world can the words that I said
Send somebody so over the edge
That they'd write me a letter
Sayin' that I better shut up and sing
Or my life will be over

I'm not ready to make nice
I'm not ready to back down
I'm still mad as hell and
I don't have time to go round and round and round
It's too late to make it right
I probably wouldn't if I could
'Cause I'm mad as hell
Can't bring myself to do what it is you think I should

4 comentarios:

marie said...

I like country music, however, I don't like their music. Never did and never will. They overrate themselves if they think people want to hear what they say. Natalie's "hairflip" attitude certainly did not win them any admirers.

My father (a retired military officer) said it is their right to express their opinions, even if people disagree. As for me, I don't give a rat's ass what they think and the less we see and hear from them, the better.

I would rather watch Anderson interview Kenny Chesney..at least he has the musical talent that the Dixie Chicks don't have!

eliza said...

So I guess the whole Kenny Chesney thing really is true. Yes, I much rather would have seen Anderson tackle free speech. I'm not really a country fan, but I like some of the Dixie Chicks stuff and I'd like to see their movie. It's completely ridiculous that NBC and CW won't air the commercial. I say good for the Chicks for standing up for their beliefs.

Jade said...

Marie, sounds like you have been victim to the Republican batch of kool-aid.

I admire anyway who is in the public eye who stands-up, voices their opinion and take what may come. These women, who have the total right to express their opinion, have done just that while putting their careers at risk.

Whether you like their music or not, it comes down to free speech. I don't recall ever hearing anything important come out of Kenny Chesney's mouth...just his publicists.

Anonymous said...

The Dixie Chicks were right to speak up and say what they did, there are LOTS of people who agree with them, they are really intelligent women and Natalie has not backed down, despite the criticism. They are great!
Kenny Chesney doesn't have much to offer, I don't know what Anderson's going to get out of him.

MANIFESTO

Don't think for me. Don't assume what I want to hear or read. Give me facts. Give me reasons. But not yours. Bring me debate. Enlighten me. Today, accountability is masked behind anonymity; bylines are hidden by zeros and ones. Everyone publishes; everyone is "in the know." Ethics are non-existent. Speculation is king. The truth is masked and a hostage. Empowered by our minds, WE ARE THE FREAKSPEAKERS!

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