As previously reported by NewsBusters editor Matt Sheffield and others, FNC’s Special Report with Brit Hume on Thursday evening noted how YouTube users had ganged up to flag as “inappropriate” a humorous 90-second video by director David Zucker that mocks the Democrats for their approach to international bad guys like Osama bin Laden and Kim Jong-Il.
Zucker’s video begins with a shot of an actress playing Secretary of State Madeleine Albright meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il. The announcer gravely intoned: “In the year 2000, in an effort to stop the North Koreans from building nuclear weapons, President Clinton's Secretary of State Madeleine Albright gave North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il a basketball signed by Michael Jordan.” After “Albright” hands “Kim” a basketball, the two share a champagne toast. An on-screen graphic informs: "We're Not Making This Up."
On the very day YouTube's disproportionate censorship of conservative videos was splashed over the pages of the Drudge Report, the web site deleted another conservative blogger's video, Gateway Pundit tells how a 17-second clip he made of an AP video was deleted from YouTube for supposed copyright infringement.
Update 9:06. Some commenters are wondering with whom, if anyone, lies the fault. I would place it primarily on the AP for a) lodging a copyright complaint against a 17-second clip, which if that were consistently followed would essentially destroy almost all non-original video on the internet, and b) excercising a double-standard going after Jim Hoft and not the thousands of others who have "stolen" its material on YouTube and elsewhere.
It’s getting even stranger, folks. Little Green Footballs has posted a reader’s e-mail concerning the Department of the Interior actually blocking conservative websites from the computers of employees that work for it:
I’m a long-time reader, without ever actually commenting on anything. Yesterday the U.S. Department of the Interior (I work for the Mineral Management Service) installed blocking software on their entire network. Gates of Vienna is now blocked, as are all sites with a .blogspot URL. Also blocked are other conservative blogs, such as Wizbang. More than half the sites I check on a daily basis are now completely blocked. As of today, Little Green Footballs is not blocked, but that’s about the only one I’ve seen that isn’t. There’s not much that can be done, but I just thought I’d let you know. I’ll check later today when I get in to see if the liberal blogs are blocked. Take care, and thanks for the good stuff you folks post.
Update: As of now, Little Green Footballs is also being blocked, but DailyKos is not... Can we try to get the word out? Blocking conservative blogs and not liberal ones is BS.
LGF has now posted all the sites that are blocked, along with those that aren’t:
The video sharing site YouTube, just recently purchased by Google, has once again allowed a band of determined users to censor something they don't like.
The latest casualty is a a controversial spoof political ad by a Republican filmmaker David Zucker (producer of such films as "Scary Movie 4," "Airplane," among others) which depicts former secretary of state Madeline Albright, a Democrat who served in the Clinton administration, acting as a maid, servant and cheerleader for Islamic terrorists and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. After the Republican party declined to run with it, the ad was sent to Matt Drudge who splashed it worldwide by embedding it in a page on his site.
The story doesn't end there, though. After Drudge picked it up, Democratic YouTube viewers used the site's software to "flag" the video as "inappropriate," a designation usually reserved for extremely violent or sexually explicit video clips. There is nothing even remotely sexual or violent in the clip. The closest thing to an explicit image in the ad is a scene in which "Albright" bends over and her skirt tears a bit in the seat, hardly the stuff that sets FCC commissioners' hearts aflutter.
While you can still view the video if you watch it embedded on another web site, if you try to watch it on YouTube, you'll be greeted with the message:
Monday's Business section story by Tom Zeller Jr., "A Slippery Slope of Censorship at YouTube," defends conservative columnist's Michelle Malkin right to free expression at the popular video website -- with palpable reluctance.
"Lastweek, as YouTube continued its recent campaign to spit-shine its image and, perhaps, to look a little less ragtag to potential buyers (including Google, which was said to be eyeing the upstart in the $1.6 billion range), the company took a scrub bucket to some questionable political graffiti on its servers, including a video entry from the doyenne of right-wing blogs, Michelle Malkin."
The New York Times has finally taken note of the activities of those who support Islamist Jihad (including many right here in the US) and upload Islamist propaganda to the popular YouTube video hosting site:
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 5 — Videos showing insurgent attacks against American troops in Iraq, long available in Baghdad shops and on Jihadist Web sites, have steadily migrated in recent months to popular Internet video-sharing sites, including YouTube and Google Video.
Many of the videos, showing sniper attacks against Americans and roadside bombs exploding under American military vehicles, have been posted not by insurgents or their official supporters but apparently by Internet users in the United States and other countries, who have passed along videos found elsewhere.
Rioting and threats of violence from Muslim extremists have apparently triumphed once again over the First Amendment. According to psychoanalyst Dr. Nancy Kobrin and noted feminist Phyllis Chesler, who wrote the introduction, Kobrin's new book, "The Sheikh's New Cloth: The Naked Truth about Islamic Suicide Terrorism", was to be published in November by Looseleaf Law Publications, Inc., but Dr. Kobrin's contract was suddenly cancelled over concerns for their staff's safety.
All the buzz generated by Chris Wallace's explosive "Fox News Sunday" interview with former president Bill Clinton surely came as great news to the Fox News publicity staff and management. "Sunday" has long lagged behind its competitors and this was just the kind of press it needed.
Part of the reason the interview got so much attention was the internet. But because Fox hasn't provided an easy way for its visitors to link to videos, all the web traffic for the interview went to sites which did make it easy to view, YouTube, Hot Air, and others. This must've upset someone in the legal department over at Fox Television because yesterday, YouTube users who used the keywords "fox news" in their descriptions of the Clinton-Wallace exchange received cease and desist letters from YouTube which said Fox News had lodged copyright claims against it. (h/t USS Neverdock)
Well sports fans, the plot is getting so thick you can drive a truck over it. TV Newser is reporting that Bill Maher, host of HBO’s “Real Time” who went on quite a rant Friday night about being denied his free speech rights by CBS, might be mistaken. According to the New York Daily News (emphasis mine): “‘If I or my representatives got it wrong about how the 'Free Speech' segment of the 'CBS Evening News' is, sorry, our bad,’ Maher said yesterday in a statement. ‘I'm ready, willing and able to speak about the topic I originally suggested.’"
Isn’t that special? In fact, according to Vaughn Ververs at CBS’s “The Public Eye,” the “Evening News” is in no way opposed to addressing religion:
In the course of the last few weeks Keith Olbermann's "Special Comments" have become a Countdown staple in which the host plays to his Daily Kos demographic with vitriolic condemnations of all things Bush. I thought Olbermann had reached the nec plus ultra of nastiness with his suggestion a couple weeks ago that the Bush administration represented "a new type of fascism." I might have been wrong. MRC's Brad Wilmouth has comprehensively documented Keith Olbermann's 'Special Comment' of last night. In the course of those comments, Olbermann chose to invoke, of all things, the people's right to overthrow a tyrannical government.
Cyrus Nowrasteh, the screenwriter behind ABC's "Path to 9/11" miniseries, has an op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal about his experience. Unsurprisingly, he has little good will for left-wing critics who tried to censor a film that portrayed Democrats in any kind of a bad light:
It would have been good to be able to report due diligence on the part of those who judged the film, the ones who held forth on it before watching a moment of it. Instead, in the rush to judgment, and the effort to portray the series as the work of a right-wing zealot, much was made of my "friendship" with Rush Limbaugh (a connection limited to two social encounters), but nothing of any acquaintance with well-known names on the other side of the political spectrum. No reference to Abby Mann, for instance, with whom I worked on "10,000 Black Men Named George" (whose hero is an African-American communist) or Oliver Stone, producer of "The Day Reagan Was Shot," a film I wrote and directed. Clearly, those enraged that a film would criticize the Clinton administration's antiterrorism policies--though critical of its successor as well--were willing to embrace only one scenario: The writer was a conservative hatchetman.
Is CBS’s new “freeSpeech” segment on the “Evening News” really free? Maybe not, as TVNewser reported Saturday (hat tip to Drudge) that Bill Maher – who had been invited on to be one of the free speakers – was told that he couldn’t discuss religion:
“On Friday's Real Time on HBO, Maher explained that CBS approached him to do a 'freeSpeech' segment on the new Evening News. He asked if he could talk about religion but was rejected and told that he would be provided with a list of 'approved' topics," an e-mailer says.
The actual transcript of what Maher said Friday night concerning this issue is as follows:
In national politics, most in the business will tell you that things don't get serious until after Labor Day. That's when many Americans who normally ignore politics will start tuning in.
That's true this year as always, but the '06 election cycle also brings a new problem: the political censorship of advertising which even peripherally dares to mention a politician. Jacob Sullum has more on this outrage (h/t: NB reader sarcasmo):
As of Friday, when the 60-day blackout period for "electioneering communications" by nonprofit interest groups begins, political speech will enjoy less protection than dirty movies. While a sexually explicit film is protected by the First Amendment if it has some socially redeeming value, an "electioneering communication" is forbidden even if it deals with important and timely public policy issues.
Supporters of this ban, imposed by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, say they want to eliminate "sham issue ads" that are aimed at electing or defeating a candidate and therefore should be funded only by political action committees subject to campaign contribution limits. But since the ban applies to any TV or radio spot that mentions a federal official who is up for re-election, it also prohibits genuine issue ads.
Latest dispatch from the MSM moral-relativism front.
MSNBC's Tony Maciulis appeared on the network's 'The Most' show this afternoon to report on a story dealing with Craigslist, the online classifed ad website. A man called Jason Fortuny had posted a fake personal on the Craigslist's Seattle page, posing as an attractive 27-year old woman seeking sex with men. The ad elicited numerous replies, many including explicit photos of the suitors.
Fortuny in turn posted the men's replies, including the photos, on another website, no doubt causing embarrassment if not more for many of them.
'Most' host Alison Stewart asked Maciulis whether the men who submitted the replies "were doing anything wrong?"
With many internet companies such as Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft knuckling under pressure from the rulers of China to censor their content, it's refreshing to see it when one takes a stand against political censorship (h/t: Caine Starfire):
The founder of Wikipedia, the online encyclopaedia written by its
users, has defied the Chinese government by refusing to bow to
censorship of politically sensitive entries.
Jimmy Wales, one of the
100 most influential people in the world according to Time magazine,
challenged other internet companies, including Google, to justify their
claim that they could do more good than harm by co-operating with
Wikipedia, a hugely popular reference tool in the West,
has been banned from China since last October. Whereas Google,
Microsoft and Yahoo went into the country accepting some restrictions
on their online content, Wales believes it must be all or nothing for
ABC's entertainment division refused to knuckle under to intense pressure from supporters of former President Bill Clinton, including the Democratic National Committee and MoveOn.org, and aired the first part of their miniseries, "The Path to 9/11", with some additional edits:
This is not a source I would normally search out, but I have to admit that actor Donnie Wahlberg gives one of the most thoughtful responses I've seen to the controversy over ABC's "The Path to 9/11" miniseries in this TV Guide interview:
TVGuide.com: What do you think of the brouhaha that's going on now? You had to know that this project could be a hot potato. Wahlberg: I didn't think it was a hot potato. I think there's a stink being made because certain people aren't happy with the way they're being portrayed, but the reality is that in most cases, the producers took a gentle hand with this stuff. The writers and the producers and the director tried to use as much integrity as possible.
Clinton pointedly refuted several fictionalized scenes that he claims insinuate he was too distracted by the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal to care about bin Laden and that a top adviser pulled the plug on CIA operatives who were just moments away from bagging the terror master, according to a letter to ABC boss Bob Iger obtained by The Post.
Item -- Philosophical sympathizer Cynthia Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in her June 2004 column evaluating the Clinton presidency:
MRC president Brent Bozell appeared on Friday's "Fox and Friends" in the 8am hour beginning at 8am Eastern. The topic discussed was the censorship campaign mounted by Democrats against the ABC miniseries, "The Path to 9/11."
This is getting entirely out of hand. What a crock. This is disgusting.
New York, NY (September 7, 2006) -- Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, today announced that it is removing from its website the materials originally created for classroom use in conjunction with the ABC Television Network docudrama, “The Path to 9/ll,” scheduled to air on the ABC Television Network on September 10 and 11, 2006. A new classroom discussion guide for high school students is being created and will focus more specifically on media literacy, critical thinking, and historical background.
“After a thorough review of the original guide that we offered online to about 25,000 high school teachers, we determined that the materials did not meet our high standards for dealing with controversial issues,” said Dick Robinson, Chairman, President and CEO of Scholastic. “At the same time, we believe that developing critical thinking and media literacy skills is crucial for students in today’s society in order to participate fully in our democracy and that a program such as ‘The Path to 9/11’ provides a very ‘teachable moment’ for developing these skills at the high school level. We encourage teachers not to shy away from the controversy surrounding the program, but rather to engage their students in meaningful, in-depth discussion.”
Did you hear that sound Thursday afternoon? That was the Constitution weeping as one of the nation’s major political parties trampled all over the First Amendment. Remember what that is…that right bestowed upon us by our Founding Fathers guaranteeing freedom of speech?
Well, if what was reported by NewsBusters here, and the Ostroy Report here (hat tip to Hot Air) are correct, and ABC really has caved into political pressure from Democrats – in particular, former President Clinton – to edit the miniseries “The Path to 9/11,” such rights have changed forever. At the very least, this would demonstrate that these rights – which Jefferson said were inalienable, by the way! – apply differently to Democrats and Republicans.
Four would-be committee chairmen, all Democrats in the House of Represenatives, just sent ABC a letter demanding that the network review its upcoming miniseries, "The Path to 9/11." No overtly threatening language is used in the letter (reprinted below the fold) but the implication seems pretty clear: If Dems take control of the House in November, ABC should expect hell from the various committees John Conyers, John Dingell, Jane Harman, Louise Slaughter head.
Which party was it that advocates censorship of "incorrect" speech again?
As regular readers of NewsBusters know, a fairly large number of
leftists in this country are convinced that George W. Bush is hell-bent
on destroying America and turning it into a dictatorship where
mandatory worship of "neocons" is required and media outlets are
censored. Liberal figures such as Al Gore, Keith Olbermann, and regulars at places like Democratic Underground and Daily Kos routinely make such statements.
exposing leftist paranoia for public ridicule is amusing, I think it's also
worth noting just how far from reality these claims really are. Last
month, we saw how real media repression occurs every day in Fidel Castro's Cuba. But Cuba is far from the only place where this happens. Over at PBS's MediaShift, Mark Glaser and Zimbabwean journalist Frank Chikowore talk about how that country's government imprisons and censors reporters who dare criticize it:
government shuts down independent newspapers. It jams radio signals
from outside the country. Internet access is sporadic. Inflation is out
of control. A bill is in Parliament that would allow the government to
censor private email communications.
Welcome to Zimbabwe,
the south African country born out of the former Rhodesia in 1980 and
led by strongman President Robert Mugabe every day since its
independence from British colonialism.
For all the false cries of censorship when the marketplace and not the government marginalizes a voice, or point of view, this is blatant censorship enacted by our government through McCain-Feingold. h/t Instapundit.
Bloggers should consider coming together from both sides to
challenge this un-democratic law by developing a series of podcast or
YouTube commercials pointing out what they see as negative
points regarding incumbents. Not only would it bring attention to a bad
law, it would force the very thing these career politicians don't want
heard to be featured in any coverage - that being the actual criticism
Something almost without precedent
in America will happen Thursday. That’s the day when McCain-Feingold —
aka the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 — will officially
silence broadcast advertising that contains criticism of members of
Congress seeking re-election in November. Before 2006, American
election campaigns traditionally began in earnest after Labor Day.
Unless McCain-Feingold is repealed, Labor Day will henceforth mark the
point in the campaign when congressional incumbents can sit back and
cruise, free of those pesky negative TV and radio spots. It is the most
effective incumbent protection act possible, short of abolishing the
As you may or may not know, this coming weekend, ABC is presenting a movie about the events that led up to the attacks on the WTC in 2001, called "The Path to 9/11".
It has leaked out by various critics and folks who have been offered an advanced screening of this flick that the Clinton administration does not come out looking too strong on National defense in the years prior to the attacks on that fateful day. In fact, it shows them as responsible for one misstep and failure after another in the face of plenty of forewarning that the situation was quickly escalating.
In light of that depiction, for the last week or so, there have been some pretty persistent rumors that, after these screenings, various members of the Clinton administration, including the ex-president himself, began a campaign of calls, meetings and efforts to cajole ABC into altering and editing the film to make the Clintons look better.
"Country music videos flashed on a television set at the Idle Hour, a Music Row bar where a Crock-Pot of beef stew simmered for hungry musicians.
"Sitting at a table in early August, Bobby Braddock, the longtime songwriter, lamented the conservatism of the country music industry that was demonstrated when the lead singer of the Dixie Chicks became a target of fury three years ago after saying she was ashamed that her band and President Bush shared the same home state.
Keith Olbermann's regular media critic guest, Michael Musto of the Village Voice, called Ann Coulter a 'bastard' on last night's Countdown.
The topic was the news that Vanity Fair has picked celeb photographer Annie Liebovitz to snap the first pics of Suri, newborn daughter of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. There is controversy as to whether Suri actually exists, given that, months after her announced birth, there have been no photos or sightings of the child.
Musto is clearly a skeptic on the subject. When Olbermann asked him what we should expect from Liebovitz's images of Suri, Musto responded with this strained effort to draw a connection to the left's bête noire :
"We should expect an image of a pillow. An illegitimate pillow, mind you. A bastard pillow. What's the word for a female bastard? Ann Coulter! An Ann Coulter pillow!"
As many of you know the press room in the White House, the place where countless spokesmen for the President have held innumerable briefings on issues important and not so important, is being shut down and a new one is being built to better fulfill the needs of a more modern era. The creation of this new press room is Hirschman’s excuse to attack Karl Rove and the Administration who he imagines wishes to "weaken the press corps".
Mega-blogger Markos Moulitsas Zúniga of the Daily Kos talking down the blogs' influence on the Connecticut Dem primary? John Fund of the good old Wall Street Journal talking it up?
The odd couple, guests on this evening's Hardball, engaged in some serious media gender-bending. With Mike Barnicle sitting in for host Chris Matthews, Fund went first, and overflowed with praise for the role the blogs have played in the race.
Fund: "I think [the blogs' impact has] been very significant. I offer a tip of the hat to them. They have taken the former vice-presidential candidate and created a single issue around the war, and this is is a man who opposed George Bush on tax cuts, and many things, and they have turned him into the perception as George Bush's lackey, and they are on the verge of knocking off a senator. That's happened only twice before. It's remarkable."
TEHRAN, Iran -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has ordered government and cultural bodies to use modified Persian words to replace foreign words that have crept into the language, such as "pizzas" which will now be known as "elastic loaves," state media reported Saturday.
The presidential decree, issued earlier this week, orders all governmental agencies, newspapers and publications to use words deemed more appropriate by the official language watchdog, the Farhangestan Zaban e Farsi, or Persian Academy, the Irna official news agency reported.