CALLER: Hi, Rush. My husband is one of those managers who’s having to make that decision about whether or not to air Private Ryan, and his first responsibility as a station manager is to protect the FCC license of the station.
RUSH: Have there been threats anywhere, Kathy, to him or any other manager, that if they run this movie the license may be subject to fine?
CALLER: Well, I don’t know that —
RUSH: Because I’m unclear where this came from.
CALLER: — the conversation that has gone on around that. I know that they have made the decision not to air it. The F-word is used 47 times in that movie, and it would be airing at eight p.m. in the Central time zone where we’re located, and they’ve made a decision that it’s just not appropriate for that hour of the evening on broadcast television.
RUSH: So it’s a language question, huh, not a visuals question?
CALLER: Well, it may be visuals, too. I know that it is quite violent. I personally did not see the movie, would not see the movie because I just choose not to subject myself to that kind of violence — not that I object to the movie’s content or premise of the movie at all. I think we need to know what the reality of war is. But I’m just not comfortable watching it myself.
RUSH: No, but there’s, I mean, you just gave the best reason to air it. You can bleep out the F-words that are in there, you could edit them out. (program observer interruption) Oh, is that right? Oh, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I was just told Spielberg doesn’t allow that. He doesn’t allow the audio editing, audio — well, that would present somewhat of a problem for some people in certain — well, I can see that. But the visuals are pretty accurate. The opening twenty minutes of this movie I think are…
A little bit more detail here on the ABC affiliates’ decision, twenty of them so far — well, actually more than twenty — not to air Saving Private Ryan. These concerns that these affiliates have emanate from their fear of FCC fines. These more than twenty affiliates of ABC — by the way, airs tonight on veterans night, Veterans Day. They’ve announced, these affiliates, that they won’t take part in the airing of Saving Private Ryan, saying the acclaimed film’s violence and lingo could draw sanctions from the FCC. Ray Cole, who is president of Citadel Communications says, “We regret that the FCC, given its current timidity in dealing in this area, would not grant an advance waiver, which would have allowed stations like ours to run it without any question or any concern.”
Get this now. Here you’ve got a movie, Saving Private Ryan, the violence and the language are not gratuitous, this is the stuff that took place in war. This is not like trying to sneak the F-word into Beverly Hills 90210. This is real life portrayed on celluloid, and many people claim it’s one of the best such efforts ever in the history of movies to portray war in all of its reality. So they’re sitting there saying we went to the FCC and said will you give us a waiver, and the FCC said nope, we don’t give waivers. The FCC then said, an FCC spokeswoman said yesterday that the agency does not monitor TV broadcasts. They respond to complaints. So the stations are afraid they’re going to receive a tremendous number of complaints.
Now, if I may be so bold here, ladies and gentlemen, if you ever wondered just what confusion bureaucracy brings to us and our economy and our doctors and our shopkeepers and our property owners, we’re getting a little microcosm of it here in this movie. Do you realize it’s not just twenty ABC affiliates who live in mortal fear today over what they air, there are doctors, there are shopkeepers, there are people throughout the economy, property owners and so forth, who are worried stiff every day that every action they take is going to be met with some government agency’s reprisal. It’s either going to be a zoning commissioner, it’s going to be somebody from an architectural committee, it’s going to be a lawyer calling a doctor threatening a lawsuit. It’s going to be some element of a bloated, totally controlling bureaucracy that has instilled fear in the hearts and the minds of many people.
So once again, here the greatest generation comes to the rescue in honor of Veterans Day, ABC decides to air Saving Private Ryan. Fine idea, wonderful gesture, but guess what? Local stations out there that are part of the ABC network are backing off, they don’t want to risk airing the movie. What do you mean risk it? They’ve done it before, this is not the first time the movie has been on commercial TV. (program observer interruption) That’s true, but they aired it before the FCC’s indecency rulings and the heavy sanctions that they now carry. So you might say for the sake of an exposed boob, Saving Private Ryan won’t be saved. Private Ryan will not be saved tonight, at least in twenty markets in the country. And we don’t even know if that boob was real or if it was silicon enhanced. You know, we’re all reacting here to what may have been an artificially enhanced boob anyway.
The lesson of all this is that big government is just too big. That’s the lesson here, big government is too big. I know that some of you saying, ‘This is good, I don’t want to watch a movie that has the F-word in it 48 times.’ But you don’t have to. I mean, how many stations, how many channels can we all get now on our satellite or cable systems, and I guarantee you whatever your kids are watching when you’re not around is going to be far worse than this. (Laughing.) Yes. I mean, I laugh, but it’s nevertheless unfortunate, my friends.
RUSH: Ted in Kalamazoo, Michigan. You’re next, sir, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Rush, how you doing?
RUSH: Hey, pretty good, never better, thank you.
CALLER: That’s great. Hey, the comment I want to make is on Private Ryan. My concern goes back to censorship starts at home. If it’s something you don’t want to watch and you know it’s coming, turn it off. Janet Jackson, I mean, just totally ambushed us. We were sitting there, you know, enjoying a nice football half the show and whammo, there it is.
RUSH: That’s actually a good point. You do know what’s coming in Saving Private Ryan so you have a chance to make an informed judgment as a parent, viewer, child, whatever, to watch it or not. The thing about the Janet Jackson thing was that it was in the family hour, it did come in the midst of a whole block of family oriented programming, and it did shock and stun people. Not a bad analogy. But there may be something else going on here, folks, and I want to maybe raise this possibility. Let’s remember who did this movie. This is Steven Spielberg, and Steven Spielberg, well known Kerry supporter, well known anti-Bush advocate, well known anti-war advocate as well. You just never know about these things, but there could be some animus at Mr. Spielberg on the part of some of these GMs. I’m just surmising, I haven’t talked to them, I haven’t heard them say this. I don’t know, but this has not happened before, this kind of — in such a large, mass number of TV stations, particularly refusing to air something they’ve all aired before. Ann Marie in Lenexa, Kansas City, welcome to the EIB Network. Hi.
CALLER: Hi, Rush, how are you?
RUSH: I’m fine, thank you.
CALLER: It’s an honor to talk with you after listening to you all these many, many years.
RUSH: Thank you so much.
CALLER: Rush, I want to tell you that here in Kansas City they just announced that our affiliate will not be airing Saving Private Ryan and I agree with that and I’m glad they’re not going to. I have two sons —
RUSH: Have you seen it? Have you seen the movie, Ann Marie?
CALLER: I have not seen it, and I’ve chosen not to see it because of the violence. I think the language I could probably just tune it out if I decided to see it, but I just don’t like to see movies that violent, they upset me. So I haven’t seen it. However, my kids — also we’re pretty conservative about what my boys watch, and they do have a heightened interest in World War II.
RUSH: How old are they?
CALLER: They are 12 and 14.
RUSH: 12 and 14.
CALLER: And they love anything that has to do with World War II. When they were very little, I betcha they were six and eight or younger, we got The Longest Day and they fell in love with it. They can tell you all kinds of things and they can speak the German that’s in that movie. And I guess that’s another movie that I’m suggesting for the younger crowd or any parent who would be offended by Saving Private Ryan. There’s another one, To Hell and Back with Audie Murphy.
CALLER: I think those are fabulous movies, and I wonder why people just aren’t thinking of alternatives like that. I agree with not showing that movie with some of the language taken out and some of the violence in prime-time, you know, I agree with that, too, Rush.
RUSH: I hear everybody’s concerns on the violence business, but, you know, we’re in the midst of a war right now, and I’m not gonna equate a movie which is make believe and artificial and acting with real life. Don’t confuse what I’m saying here, it’s said as a predicate, but, you know, I’ve long been an advocate, we are such a picture-oriented society, we don’t believe things till we see ’em, and if we don’t keep seeing them we forget that they happened. Like I disagree for example with the executive decision that’s been made not to air footage of the World Trade Centers being hit by the two airplanes. I think we should continually see it. I think we need to see exactly what the people we’re at war with do, what they’re capable of. Because if we forget it… It’s like the stuff that some of the beheadings videos, ‘Oooh, yeah, yeah, too brutal, we can’t air this, it’s too shocking.’
No, it’s real, this is not a movie. These things are real, and of course now, these comments, I made them during the heat of the presidential campaign where there was a huge anti-war movement, there still is, and a group of people doing everything they could to convince the Americans we weren’t at war and if we were it was our fault because we had caused it. These beheadings were our fault, these terrorists were docile, they weren’t doing anything to us until we responded 9/11. It was crazy. You say you don’t like the violence of war. Nobody does, but I mean that’s one of the patent realities — I think it’s something along these lines that could educate and inform people what really happens. It would enhance and increase the amount of respect people have for veterans and GIs, you know, all of the people that are currently in uniform and serving. But, again, I’m not going to make that case about a movie, even though the first 20 minutes of this movie are said to be the best reenactment of what happens in a way. This is the D-Day invasion. This is the first 20 minutes at Omaha Beach and what really happened there. And I hate to tell this to you Ann Marie, but The Longest Day, and I went over — the 50th anniversary of the Normandy invasion, I was there a week early, actually, and I win the to Pointe-Du-Hoc where the rangers climbed ropes up — I mean due straight up, straight up cliffs and rocks all the while Germans are firing on them.
It’s an incredible thing and I saw, we went to Omaha Beach, they had all the tents and the seats set up where the ceremony is going to take place and, you know, I had seen The Longest Day which is a reenactment of that invasion a long time ago when I was a kid. I went out and got it, and watched it, and it’s pretty milquetoast. It’s in black and white, and it’s pretty milquetoast, for it’s day I’m sure brutal. But it doesn’t — you know, I don’t know if it would be a good substitute or not, and it’s certainly a good movie. I mean I’m not trying to criticize it in any way. We all have our childhood memories. My father served in World War II. He was in the China-Burma theater. He flew P-51s. He would never tell my brother and I what he did. These World War II, folks, they came back and they would not talk about it. They didn’t brag, they didn’t show people their medals. Their medals were hidden in drawers. You know, they didn’t parade around in them and brag about them, and they wouldn’t answer questions from their kids. I had a lot of my father’s friends in our little town that were World War II as well, they would not talk about it. As children we’d ask, we’d want to know, ‘What did you do, what happened?’ Wouldn’t tell us. So in that regard it was frustrating, but I remember that my father was a huge World War II movie goer. Whenever one came out he went to watch it. And my memory, when you said The Longest Day and To Hell and Back, I don’t know that my dad thought this was the best one, I just remember this comment.
The movie was Hell is for Heroes. And I think it was Robert Mitchum that was in it. But all these movies, they had to take artistic license. They had to put characters and situations in these movies that actually didn’t exist in order to make it viewable as an entertainment vehicle after all. I remember my father saying after I asked him, ‘Well why do you like this one so much, Hell is for Heroes?’ He said, ‘Because there wasn’t a damn woman in combat in this movie. There wasn’t a woman on the front lines.’ It wasn’t a sexist comment, he thought it was realistic. They didn’t put a love story in the middle of Hell is for Heroes. And I don’t remember anything about the movie, I just remember the title of it, I remember it was in black and white, and I remember that comment from him about it. But the point is that these movies that reenact victorious American battlefield scenes in wars do have and can have a very positive impact. We don’t have a whole lot of people alive today with an actual memory of an America victorious at war, and any time that can be embellished or burned into somebody’s memory. I also think that’s a good thing, even if it takes a movie to do it.