How do you Censor the First Amendment?
Two Sundays I was watching an episode of one of my recent favorite drama shows, Boston Legal. It is a spin-off from David E. Kelly’s “The Practice” which came to an end last year.
As always Kelly wrote an episode that set the scene for a controversial court room battle. It involved a case where a high school principle had installed a device that blocked out specific news channels. Which channel was blocked in this episode you ask? FOX News of course. Ironically, the debate that followed throughout the episode was based on a (right-wing) student filing suit against the school on grounds of “Freedom of Speech”. The irony here is that this episode of Boston Legal was in turn censored by ABC and Disney executive. That’s right. Mickey Mouse: the Prince of Darkness himself.
Other occurring ironies include the fact that the producing partner of the show is 20th Century Fox! Furthermore, this is also the company that cancelled Kelly’s old show on fox “Boston Public”. Curiously enough the principle and school in question in this particular episode of Legal, is none other than principle Harper (Chi Mcbride) of Boston Public.
Parts of the script were censored, specifically parts which referred to the “FOX Blocker”, “FOX News” and of course the notorious “Bill O’Reilly”. Here is a comparison of the original script to the censored one:
Stuart: “ItÃ‚?s called a Fox Blocker. Sold off the internet. You attach it to the coaxial cable on your television and it basically blocks out all Fox News transmissionsÃ‚? My high school principal attached these liberal, left-wing devices to all the televisions in the building. Meanwhile, the kids are free to watch CBS, CNN, NBC, even ABC, But not Fox. ItÃ‚?s censorship.”
Stuart: “ItÃ‚?s called a news blocker. Sold off the internet. You attach it to the coaxial cable on your television and it basically blocks out news transmissionÃ‚?. My high school principal attached these devices to all the televisions in the building. The problem isÃ‚? turns out it only blocks out one network, the most fair and balanced one. All the others, kids can watch.”
To make things more interesting “Outfoxed”, a documentary that shows the Republican influence at Fox News as a propaganda tool for right wing conservatism, remains unchanged in this episode. Even clips of the film are actually shown in the court room. Though when it’s creator wanted to buy air time to advertise the documentary he was refused. You can watch the add here. You can read other parts of the censored script here.
Now this is essentially, two week-old news. What caught my attention today was the following:
“The creator of the “Fox Blocker” contends the channel is not news at all. Kimery figures he’s sold about 100 of the little silver bits of metal that screw into the back of most televisions, allowing people to filter Fox News from their sets, since its August debut
… Business could pick up since the blocker was alluded to in a recent episode of the ABC drama “Boston Legal.” The show’s original script mentioned Fox News, but ABC had the references removed”. [more]