aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Friday, September 08, 2006
Fox News with mouse ears
From Joe Gandelman’s commentary on ABC’s The Path to 9/11:
To many Democrats, and even to some in the middle who might feel the Clinton administration AND the Bush administration BOTH blew it in the pre-911 competence department, ABC will now appear to be Fox News with mouse ears.
Americans are constantly being asked to choose sides - Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative...and you’re either with us or our enemy. The ABC special “tilted” existing above-the-fray perceptions of the network because advance DVDs were being sent out to conservative bigwigs and bloggers at the same time that Democrats - including Bill Clinton - were reportedly denied them when they asked for them.
A head of lettuce sitting on the shelf at Ralph’s Grocery store in San Diego would look at THAT and say: “Hey. It seems as if these filmmakers don’t like the Democrats and are marketing their production to Republicans to try and get a big audience of Republicans who think the Clinton administration was to blame for 911.”
Respirators on the pile
As the media sinks its teeth into the findings that many 9/11 workers have lung issues - Chris Cuomo on GMA just now, “why weren’t they being helped sooner and who’s responsible?” - I’m reminded of this passage from William Langewiesche’s American Ground: Unbuilding the World Trade Center, excerpted in the July/August 2002 Atlantic Monthly:
For most of the men on the pile, the loss was less acute. Even if these were fellow firemen who had died, and even if they were close friends and even if people used the word “brother” to describe them, it was not the same as losing a son. Still, over the first few months there was a lot of sadness at the site. Away from the photographers and TV cameras, the depth of it was not always obvious. The Fire Department search parties operated on a regularized schedule in small groups beside the diesel excavators, and they sifted through the fresh debris with workmanlike efficiency. But they also took risks for no obvious reasonsÃ¢â‚¬"jumping suddenly into newly opened debris holes, climbing on the unstable cliffs, and, especially, standing for hours in the heaviest smoke and dust, refusing as a matter of pride to wear the respirators that dangled around their necks. They seemed to have surrendered to an attitude of reckless self-abandonment. To varying degrees the police and construction workers had surrendered to it too. In one of the Salvation Army feeding tents I talked to a psychologist who blamed the risk-taking on “survivor guilt,” which he called a common reaction to disaster. To me, however, it looked like a simpler form of grief.
Langewiesche’s book remains very controversial. A close friend and colleague for more than a dozen years was a NYC fireman; a 9/11 hero, he is no longer. I shared many good times with him in his lower Manhattan firehouse. I haven’t asked his opinion of the book but the passage I quoted above rings true to my experience of those men.
Now I thought it absurd at the time when Giuliani was saying “the air quality is safe and acceptable,” even as I understood the need for calming reassurance of our panicky population. And I fully support funding for care and treatment of first responders. I’m just not fond of the need to dramatize the narrative.
FCC indecency ruling stayed
A U.S. appeals court on Thursday put on hold a Federal Communications Commission ruling that four television broadcasts of profanity violated decency standards and gave the agency two months to consider rebuttals by the broadcasters.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit stayed enforcement of the agency’s March decision that profanities uttered on ABC’s “NYPD Blue,” CBS’s “The Early Show” and the 2002 and 2003 Billboard music awards shows on Fox were indecent. The FCC did not propose any fines for the incidents.
The shows included variations of “s---” and “f---.” The FCC based its decision on a 2004 FCC ruling that the fleeting use of the word “f---ing” by U2 rock singer Bono during the 2003 Golden Globe Awards was indecent.
The four major television networks—ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC—and their affiliate associations in April joined forces to ask an appeals court in New York to throw out the FCC’s ruling as unconstitutional, arbitrary and capricious.
The appeals court stayed the decision “which applies the standards announced in the Golden Globe Order” and also granted the FCC’s request for the case back for 60 days.