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Defining Censorship (An ‘Air Idiot’ Update)

Air Idiot looks to be getting the boot from San Diego radio station KLSD (was a call sign ever more close to the bone?). Naturally, it’s considered “censorship”:

“I think this is another effort to shut down progressive voices where the message is most effective, especially here in a military town,” said Bree Walker, an Air America host in Los Angeles and former San Diego TV newscaster who recently purchased Cindy Sheehan’s ranch in Crawford, Texas.

Marjorie Cohn, president of the National Lawyers Guild and author of Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law, shared that concern. “I suspect they’ll be starting in San Diego and moving around the U.S. to shut down the progressives,” she predicted…

Okay, if you truly believe that is a textbook example of corporate censorship, then explain this one to me:

Freedom’s Watch has placed its ads on Fox and CNN, but CNBC and MSNBC have refused to run the ads. Ari Fleischer wrote this morning on behalf of Freedom’s Watch to let us know that CNBC and MSNBC have stubbornly refused to air the pro-war ads, even though they have run issue ads on other controversial topics. Freedom’s Watch has written to CNBC and MSNBC to protest their decision; here is the text of that letter:

John Kelly Senior Vice-President of NBC News Network Sales 30 Rockefeller Plaza 12th Floor New York, NY 10112

Dear Mr. Kelly,

We understand that MSNBC and CNBC (the “Networks”) are refusing to sell advertising time to Freedom’s Watch (“FW”) to air a series of educational advertisements. It is our understanding that the purported basis for the denial is a Network policy denying access to groups that wish to sponsor advertising on controversial issues of public importance.

Given your recent history of airing such ads (see below), we must wonder if your denial to FW is a subjective decision because the network officials disagree with the FW ads’ message? If you continue to refuse to air FW’s advertisement we request an explanation of your basis in writing or station policy within two (2) days from the date above as time is of the essence.

FW has requested time on your networks to air advertisements discussing the War Against Terrorism. Your reporters and commentators discuss this issue on your programs at every hour of the day so you clearly agree this is an issue of great public importance. FW’s advertisements, to be sure, present a view of this debate that rounds out your coverage. These ads feature Iraq War Veterans and their families discussing their sacrifices in personal terms and their belief that we must allow the military time to complete its mission in Iraq and seek victory. This is a side of this issue that should not be silenced by national cable networks. We believe that rather than censor these American heroes, you should let the American public hear their story.

read it all

So, on one hand, we have a corporate entity that is saying that, because of the LACK of advertising revenue, they need to change their programming schema; on the other, we have an outlet that, prima facie, seems to be REFUSING advertising revenue, for reasons they refuse to delineate.

Put FOX aside; if it’s good enough lucre for CNN, why not MSNBC and CNBC? They are both owned by one of the biggest corporate behemoths ever imagined: General Electric (in MSNBC’s case, in tandem with Microsoft; that’s 1600 pounds of ‘gorilla in the room’). If anything, you would think the honchos at GE would love promoting BushHitlerCheneyCo. defense adverts… right? I mean, according to the nutroots, that’s what makes the world turn….

So, please, someone tell me: who’re the fascists here?

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