The following is posted at the Drudge Report as an exclusive:
In an Ironic Twist of Events, NBC and The CW Television Network Refuse to Air Ads for Documentary Focusing on Freedom of Speech
NBC Claims that the Network “Cannot Accept These Spots as They are Disparaging to President Bush”
The CW Television Network that the Network Does “Not have Appropriate Programming in which to Schedule this Spot”
NBC and The CW Television Network have taken a stand against the Dixie’s Chicks new documentary “Shut Up & Sing” a behind-the-scenes look at the incredible political and media fallout that occurred in 2003 after the Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines said that she was “ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas.” “Shut Up & Sing” opens in theaters in NY and Los Angeles on Friday and in theaters nationwide on November 10th.
NBC responded to a clearance report submitted by the Weinstein Company’s media agency saying that the network “cannot accept these spots as they are disparaging to President Bush.”
The CW Television Network responded that it does “not have appropriate programming in which to schedule this spot.”
Famed litigator David Boies stated, “It is disappointing and troubling that NBC and The CW would refuse to accept an otherwise appropriate ad merely because it is critical of President Bush.”
Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman of The Weinstein Company stated, “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. The idea that anyone should be penalized for criticizing the president is sad and profoundly un-American.”
The Weinstein Company is exploring taking legal action.Obviously the Dixie Chicks have been silenced and censored, I mean, has anyone reading this heard anything about the comment Natalie Maines made in London? Does anyone reading this know that the Dixie Chicks don’t like President Bush or the war? Since they have been so effectively silenced for three years now there is no way anyone could possibly know any of this and since these mean networks are censoring their ads the world will never know.
I would love to be silenced and censored as the Dixie Chicks have. How many magazine covers and primetime interviews did they get when their latest CD was released? Certainly more than they got when their previous CDs were released, back when they were a “hick country group”. NBC and the CW are making decisions based on what they think their viewers want to see and whether or not they have programming where they can place the ads. Whether or not that decision is a correct one, it is ridiculous to say the Dixie Chicks have been penalized. My guess is that the ads will be edited to make it easier to place them in programming. I am not crazy about the decision, considering how I might feel if it were an ad for a documentary critical of Bill Clinton (or some other liberal politician), but understand the marketplace. As much free publicity as the Chicks have gotten over the past three years, strictly due to their opposition to President Bush, it just seems ridiculous to me that they are now complaining about being punished or penalized for that opposition. I should be so punished.
Update: One reader writes that he thinks the whole thing is a publicity stunt: “That’s my opinion at least. Note that the only people that have this story
is Variety and Drudge. Do you think any PR person worth his salt would have
sent the press release to the AP and Reuters? Plus, the CW is already denying the charge.” I have not seen the denial, but will look for a link. It would be pretty amazing if the Chicks were reduced to planting stories and lying about the supposed “punishment” they experienced at the hands of networks that refused to run ads ? Have they overplayed the victim card to the point that they have to make up the charges of persecution because no one even cares enough to try to “silence” them? I don’t know. It seems to me such a stunt would backfire bigtime, but who knows? It is show business. Maybe that Oprah appearance didn’t sell enough CDs.
Update II: Greg Tinti has some reaction from the left. Please read his excellent post, but I will give you a hint about one reaction — it involves moving to a foreign country. I am surprised those on the left haven’t come up with a more original threat that they don’t intend on carrying out than that old tired one.
I support freedom of speech. I support the Dixie Chicks in their quest to say whatever they might want. However, they’re finding out that their right to freedom of speech doesn’t guarantee a right to an audience that’ll sit down and listen.
Wow… is Maines really this clueless or does she think that she can get media backup to tell this crap?
She still doesn’t seem to realize that the First Amendment only says that the GOVERNMENT can’t restrict speech.
It doesn’t say anything about non-government entities (the great unwashed masses) having to respect any crap that comes out of her mouth.
My local humor magazine, Red Schtick, had an editorial on this a few years ago.
The gist of it was “You’re free to say anything you want, but you’ll have to live with the consequences of it.”
A two direct quotes from the article are listed below, along with a link to the full article.
“Remember the Dixie Chicks? Poor Natalie Maines thought the First Amendment guaranteed her millions in album sales even after pissing off 95% of her fan base. I don’t think that’s what the founding fathers intended.”
“Over the last decade or so, political correctness has been purging certain words from the American lexicon. It seems that “consequences” is in that number.”
She wore her heart on her sleeve
and projected her petty pet peeve
Only to find
Those not of like mind
Her fan club decided to leave.
An Aussie Lass warbled with pride
and goaded wusses to step all aside
“Rip my posters all down
you won’t see me frown
‘Cause I’m loved even on the wrong Side.”
Holy cow, people. Before you start splitting hairs and coming up with equivalency arguments about why it’s OK to suppress speech in situations you agree with, perhaps you should remind yourselves what you thought of those tactics just two short weeks ago.
I was more worried about them when I read THIS.
It would explain a lot, really . . .
The only people censoring the Dixie Chicks are their ex-fans. Since so few people are going to their concerts, they’ve had to cancel. Instead of accepting the fact that this is brought upon by their Free Speaking, they want to point fingers at who else’s fault it is.
An irreparable damage has been done, and it’s time for them to fade into obscurity.
“the level of fear in our society”?
Brian, what part of the first amendment don’t you understand? It’s a lot different than a news program inviting someone (Rohrbough) to express their views. Suppose they hadn’t given him a slot? Would that have been stifling his free speech? No, he just wouldn’t have been invited. It’s also a far cry from being silenced at a speech (Jim Gilchrist) you were invited to make. And Kim’s other two points on the post you link to were people being shouted down by an opponent after they’d been invited.
Should we now demand that Air America invite, say, Karl Rove to their program and demand they let him speak? Should we demand they air ads for Republican politicians? Should they air ads for anti-abortion advocates? They’re willing to pay.
Nobody’s “suppressing” the Dixie Cups – er – Chicks. We’re just not listening.
I don’t get it!
“I’d rather have a small following of really cool people who get it, who will grow with us as we grow and are fans for life, than people that have us in their five-disc changer with Reba McEntire and Toby Keith,” Maguire said. “We don’t want those kinds of fans. They limit what you can do.”
They got their wish.
“a group of courageous entertainers”
OK, who didn’t laugh out loud when they read this?
“Before you start splitting hairs and coming up with equivalency arguments about why it’s OK to suppress speech in situations you agree with. . .”
The only ones attempting to supress speech are the Dixie Chicks. In fact, they are using that last refuge of scoundrels, patriotism, in their efforts to do so.
Their argument goes like this: They have the right to say anything, however critical, of anyone, whenever they choose, because this is America, and Freedom of Speech RULES!!!
I agree with that much. They have that right.
However, they follow up by positing that anyone, anywhere, who criticizes what they say, or even worse, refuses to listen to their music or buy tickets to Dixie Chick music, or even, still, and ABSOLUTELY worst, tells radio stations and concert halls that they are not interested in listening to the Dixie Chicks — that those people who exercise the same free speech rights as the Dixie Chicks are unpatriotic thugs and the moral equivalent of Nazis.
Sorry, that is where I get off. That, my friend, is a double standard. That is free speech for me, but not for for thee.
And it is that attitude, that double standard espoused by Dixie Chicks that has caused their problems. People could have gotten over their comments in London, if the Dixie Chicks had not begun questioning the patriotism of folks that have criticized them by claiming their free speech was somehow being suppressed by other people exercising that same right.
So, what you were saying about double standards? I agree — but the ones exercising double standards are the Chicks, not their critics.
Geez. This again ?
a group of courageous entertainers
There’s a fine line between brave and stupid.. and considering that the Chick’s business is entertainment, the move to enter politics while disregarding any effect on their entertainment business was stupid no matter how you look at it.
This isn’t a freedom of speech issue. Freedom means being able to do whatever you want (as long as it doesn’t infringe on the rights of others). The other part of freedom is dealing with the consequences of doing whatever you want (as long as it doesn’t infringe on the rights of others). Freedom doesn’t mean being able to do anything you choose and not dealing with the results.
However, if members of Congress had come out and issued a ‘friendly reminder’ to the networks who decided to air the Dixie Chicks ads that the government controls the licenses the networks use to air their programming, then it would have been a freedom of speech issue.
brian, you will argue for any liberal no matter how ridiculous, its truly pathetic. The dixie “chicks” want their free speech, and thats great, but we are not allowed to have OUR free speach also?! WTF man! The fact that you can’t see what is going on here is very telling, although I am sure you do see what is going on here and don’t care, as long as the liberal voice is free and all others are silenced right brian? Mark said it best:
“Their argument goes like this: They have the right to say anything, however critical, of anyone, whenever they choose, because this is America, and Freedom of Speech RULES!!!
I agree with that much. They have that right.
However, they follow up by positing that anyone, anywhere, who criticizes what they say, or even worse, refuses to listen to their music or buy tickets to Dixie Chick music, or even, still, and ABSOLUTELY worst, tells radio stations and concert halls that they are not interested in listening to the Dixie Chicks — that those people who exercise the same free speech rights as the Dixie Chicks are unpatriotic thugs and the moral equivalent of Nazis.”
The dixie “chicks” want their free speech, and thats great, but we are not allowed to have OUR free speach also?! WTF man!
Of course you are. (Though I didn’t realize that you owned NBC.)
Don’t put words in my mouth. I didn’t say that NBC can’t refuse to air whatever they want. But there’s a whole thread full of the right stating that’s it’s fascist for “the left” to prevent speakers from being heard at a private university, but here you are saying that it’s OK for speakers to be banned from a private media network (which uses public airwaves, by the way). It’s pure hypocrisy and double-standards.
The fact that you can’t see what is going on here is very telling, although I am sure you do see what is going on here and don’t care, as long as the conservative voice is free and all others are silenced, right Hoggs?
However, they follow up by positing that anyone, anywhere, who criticizes what they say… that those people who exercise the same free speech rights as the Dixie Chicks are unpatriotic thugs and the moral equivalent of Nazis.
Ask John Murtha if he’s been called an unpatriotic thug for criticizing someone.
The ironic thing is, under McCain-Feingold, the networks pretty much have to reject this ad. If the content is as described, then the ad clearly constitutes an in-kind contribution to the Democratic Party, and the organization trying to run the ad does not fall into any of McCain-Feingold’s narrow exemptions.
You’re kidding, right? It isn’t “facist” for the left-leaning private universities not to ask conservative people to speak. It is criminal (read-worse than facist) when left-leaning thugs charge the stage and assault right-leaning speakers invited by the university, or try to make sure an invited speaker doesn’t get to speak at all. That would be just as wrong as NBC inviting Maines to speak her mind and a bunch of thugs from the right breaking into the studio and interfering with the broadcast.
I can only assume that you are incapable of distinguising between free speech and a riot. Probably think the two are exactly the same thing. You would be wrong.
Those “thugs” as you call them were students who paid good money to become members of the university community. Their student fees paid for that speaker. And you should pick up a dictionary before using the words “criminal” and “assault” again.
Probably not. First, it’s an ad for a movie, not a candidate. (even if it were, Bush isn’t running, so it’s kinda hard to characterize it as a campaign ad). It may have a secondary effect of influencing the elections, but IIRC the M-F standard is one of intent. And it’d be pretty tough to show that the movie produces are coordinating with a political party.
McCain-Feingold is a travesty, but you’re barking up the wrong tree.
Now let’s see. CW has denied the claim. NBC hasn’t said anything officially.
Anyone but me here smell a publicity stunt. I mean isn’t this a little too convenient for the Dixie Chicks doing a movie about how they are supposedly losing their freedom of speech?
Now let’s see. CW has denied the claim. NBC hasn’t said anything officially.
Neither statement appears to be true.
A thug is as a thug does, and your “student fees” nonsense is not an arugument but a non-sequitur. The university charges for admission and selects speakers it wants. The fees students pay do not entitle students who disagree with the political position of the speaker to riot and assault the speaker, just as the taxes we pay do not entitle us to riot and rush the stage when the President is speaking. The university remains private and retains its right to enforce decorum, regardless of what fees the students pay. The right to freedom of speech is not a license to create a disturbance on private or government property (even if your money helped pay for in some small part). But you know this – too bad your hypocrisy makes you argue against the obvious.
The Chicks need to get off their cross and let others have their turn.
Their self-absorbed whines have been non-stop since their fateful comment in London. They have piled on their own self-implosion since then by alienating their artistic peers and their fan base. They could have easily achieved their message and kept the bulk of their fans and fellow country artists in their corner, but their preachy rants and condesending attitudes killed that possibility. Hell, look at people like Springsteen. He lets his political opinions be known, but he doesn’t let it define his career.
That commercial would be offensive to me no matter which party held the Presidency. NBC was smart to reject it. Wake me up for the censorship rally when all the rest of the old-world and new-world media outlets and all the retail stores are
mysteriously dropping any notice of their little “woe is us” film.
Uh Brian- That is what the Weinstein Company is reporting NBC told them in response to the clearance report. They are also reporting the CW’s response. (NBC and the CW did not contact Drudge on this.)
If they had documented evidence of such a story, it would be all over the wires with copies of the letters from NBC and the CW.
Why do you think they reported it to Drudge and Variety? Because neither would wait to print a story without fact checking it first. Variety just takes what ever press release the studios give them and print it. And Drudge? Well- he’s just Drudge.
The wire services are very friendly to the Dixie Chicks and would somehow tie the President to NBC and the CW in a heartbeat if they could. In fact, I’m sure Karl Rove himself would be implicated. We’ll just have to wait an see on this one.
That’s why I said “appears” to be. I certainly don’t take Drudge on face value, though he does have his occasional reliable source.
Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams Sr., Willie Nelson, and Wilco/Old 97’s-esque alt-country indie rock aside, country music sucks and people who like it have very bad taste in music (and are probably pretty stupid too). This is an objective statement, and not merely my opinion. (Written on the fabric of the universe, as it were.)
“Ask John Murtha if he’s been called an unpatriotic thug for criticizing someone.”
Let’s see. Wasn’t John Murtha called an unpatriotic thug because, ignoring the presumption of innocence, and without any evidence he claimed that a number of American Marines were guilty of premeditated murder, and that he had gotten proof of that fact from the highest authorities in the United States military.
Of course, a few days later it turned out that he had received no such briefing, that he had no evidence, and that his statement potentially tainted the trial of the accused men.
I can see where a certain segment of Americans might not view that as unpatriotic thuggery — to use one’s position as an elected officer of the Congress of the United States to prejudice the chances of men who had been fighting for their country on the other side of the world. I am not sure I understand why they would not, but hey, what is a little misfeasance between friends, right?
Let’s see. Wasn’t John Murtha called an unpatriotic thug because…
No. He was called an unpatriotic thug because he advocated a phased pullout of our troops from Iraq. If you don’t remember that, just as Jean Schmidt to fill you in.