ABC’s Sawyer and Sally Field Again Tout Cultured Canadians

On Friday’s "Good Morning America," ABC host Diane Sawyer interviewed actress Sally Field and again indicated that the TV star's edited anti-war tirade at the September 16 Emmys was simply no big deal. The GMA anchor dismissively observed, "Again, we were saying at the time, everybody in Canada heard the whole thing, sat at home and watched it." Agreeing with the implication of American provincialism, the "Brothers and Sisters" star fragmentedly noted, "And in London. A friend of mine in London." Sawyer added that the cultured British must have been "thinking probably nothing much of it."

Field also furthered the idea that Fox censored her as part of some pro-war agenda. According to the "Flying Nun" star, "...When it has to do with war at all on Fox, I think they all ran around like a bunch of chickens and started pulling wires, you know, ‘Get her off the air!’" Of course, the actual reason her comments were edited was because Fox feared being fined by the FCC. Other edits that night included a profanity and a Ray Romano’s use of the word "screwing." In fact, Fox allowed several conservative-slamming, non-vulgar jokes to air unimpeded.

Field also indicated that she was unaware that particular expletive would cause any problems. The actress elaborated, "I probably wanted to say ‘damned.’ You know, the truth is, I thought ‘God’ and the word ‘damned’ after it was acceptable."

On September 18, two days after the Emmy awards, "Good Morning America" repeatedly touted the superiority of the Canadians, who saw the event unedited. Sawyer condescendingly asked viewers, "...How do you really feel about TV censorship? Emmy viewers in Canada heard everything Sally Field said about war." Later that morning, she followed up by wondering, "Do Americans want the reality?"

A transcript of the September 28 segment, which aired at 8:16am, follows:

Diane Sawyer: "She's considered one of the great actors in any medium, be it movies, television. In fact she has two Oscar, three Emmys. And as we all know, her third Emmy was won just last Sunday night for playing Nora Walker on ABC’s ‘Brothers and Sisters,’ amidst some bit of explosion around it. ‘Brothers and Sisters’ begins its second season, we should say, this Sunday night. Joining us is Sally field. It’s great to have you. So good to see you."

Sally Field: "Hi, Diane."

Sawyer: "So, I want to know what you were hearing and seeing when you were on stage at the Emmy giving your acceptance award."

Field: "Yeah."

Sawyer: "And we at home heard this–"

[Clip from Emmys]

Field: "Especially the mothers who stand with an open heart and wait, wait for their children to come home from danger, from harm's way and from war. I am proud to be one of those women. And let's face it, if the mothers ruled the world, there would be no G– [Muted ]"

[Clip ends]

Sawyer: "There was music. And music came up."

Field: "Yep."

Sawyer: "What did you see? Did you know you had been bleeped?"

Field: "No, I didn't know I had been bleeped. I– You know, the whole thing was sort of a surreal experience. When I– When I mentioned the word war even though it wasn't about war, I really– If I– I said to myself, if I win, I really owe this to my role and what Nora Walker has gone through. And that really is, I felt, I needed to pay homage to mothers all over the world."

Sawyer: "So you weren't making a statement about this war, you were talking about all wars?"

Field: "Most especially– Most especially to mothers who send their children off into combat zones into danger, into harm's way. And the minute I said war, and, you know, to danger, harm's way, and war, the room absolutely erupted in this, like, roar of noise. And I kind of went, ‘Whoa, I wasn't expecting that.’ And I wanted to say, ‘If mothers ruled the world, there wouldn't be any war.’ And after the roar happened, I got heated. Which, grrr! And I made the mistake of putting a ‘God’ in front of the ‘damned.’ And– But basically, I feel if anything on Earth God would damn, it would be war. But I guess for whatever reason, they decided that ‘God’ and ‘damned’ together was not acceptable and–"

Sawyer: "You wish you hadn't said it though?"

Field: "Do I?"

Sawyer: "You're saying you made the mistake of putting the word in?"

Field: "I probably wanted to say ‘damned.’ You know, the truth is, I thought ‘God’ and the word ‘damned’ after it was acceptable."

Sawyer: "I love the sort of waving you’re doing here."

Field: "I know to put it together too closely or too heatedly or when it has to do with war at all on Fox, I think they all ran around like a bunch of chickens and started pulling wires, you know, ‘Get her off the air!’"

Sawyer: "How many seconds delay? We don't know how many seconds they had to go in and interrupt you."

Field: "When I went backstage afterward, everyone said then, do you know, they took you off? You were bleeped? I went, ‘Oh, well.’ Maybe that was good."

Sawyer: "Again, we were saying at the time, everybody in Canada heard the whole thing, sat at home and watched it."

Field: "And in London. A friend of mine in London."

Sawyer: "Thinking probably nothing much of it. Are ceremonies the right place to say things? You say you felt you had to for Nora Walker?"

Field: "Well, I think in this case because I– My role is about that. My role is quintessentially a mother and quintessentially a mother who's sending her child to war."

Sawyer: "And also a mother who is always engaged with a daughter who doesn't agree with her. Let's play one clip from ‘Brothers and Sisters.’"

[Brief clip from ‘Brothers and Sisters’]

Sawyer: "And again, Justin is your son going off to war."

Field: "Yeah. He’s going off to war. It’s something very contemporary in this country and all over the world. There are combat zones everywhere and mothers stand and send their children off and wait for them to come home. So, my speech was in playing homage to that bravery."

Sawyer: "You're in your new season, second season."

Field: "Only the second season. Seems like eight."

Field: "No, I lived every night with you, I watch it. Are you tired? This is hard work."

Sawyer: "Yeah, I'm tired actually. I was saying to you, oh, my lord, just coming– I worked very late and then got on the plane, came here, and then, you know, I'm on L.A. time and got up to come here this morning, thought, I'm almost borderline too old to be doing this anymore."

Sawyer: "Not so."

Field: "Oh."

Sawyer: "If you're too old what does that make me?"

Field: "Oh– Don't even go there. We can't lose you. So we're all fine."

Sawyer: "You're very kind."

Field: "We're just fine."

Sawyer: "You are very sweet. And it is wonderful to see what you do. This, this emotion that is packed into that Sunday night. The new season of ‘Brothers & Sisters,’ 10:00 P.M. And 9:00 P.M. Central on ABC."

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org