TV Bites With
Sensitivity or Censorship?
by Neena Louise
Once again, television has taken it upon itself to pretend to reach into
our psyches and arbitrarily decide what we're capable of tolerating. The
dickless coward the media has dubbed the "Beltway Sniper" who
has been randomly gunning people down while they go about their daily
business, has been blamed for television and movie companies axing or
delaying shows and movies because of the perceived parallels to what is
happening in the Washington area. It's absurd.
The networks claim certain episodes of some series would be in
"poor taste" given the current climate of fear and pretend
they are being "sensitive" to the grieving families of the
sniper victims. Well, television can often be used as a synonym for
"poor taste", so I don't see the logic there. And as far as
being "sensitive" to the grieving families, I hardly think the
loved ones of the victims are really going to huddle around the tv,
trying to allay their grief by watching CSI or 24. It's
patently ridiculous and the networks' decisions to delay episodes of a
series (a new announcement seems to be made every day) smacks of
censorship. Of course we should (and do) feel deeply for the innocent
victims whose lives were suddenly ended for no reason (by someone who
will probably turn out to be an ineffectual dork that's never had a date
in his life), but I don't see how not airing a make-believe story shows
respect. I hardly think the victims' families would support this type of
censorship, and I strongly suspect the networks are using this terrible
situation for the built-in publicity. If true, I don't think anything
could be more disrespectful - not to mention tasteless and
It was the same fuzzy "sensitivity" logic the networks used
when they delayed Buffy the Vampire Slayer's season finale
shortly after the Columbine shooting. And the plethora of shows and
movies that were cut and/or delayed after September 11th. Do they really
think we are so delicate? If we were, we wouldn't watch television at
all! And, if they do, what about all the people that die of cancer every
day? There are a glut of stories on the tragedy of cancer, with no
"sensitivity" issues. And what about those that die of heart
attacks every day? And car crashes? And drug overdoses? And suicides?
There is a grieving family created every day from the loss of an
innocent loved one - sniper or no sniper - and if television was really
so concerned about all the tragic ways innocent people can die, the
airwaves would consist entirely of G-rated shows.
I bet the sniper is thrilled. Not only is he getting the attention he
probably never got from his mommy from the media circus that has sprung
up around his senseless acts, he's also affecting what the rest of
America is allowed to watch on television. The networks still do not
seem to get it, so let me point it out yet again: it's
irresponsible to give so much attention and credit to acts of terrorism
such as this. Do you think the sniper (or anyone) would commit such acts
if they didn't get as much attention? They're like spoiled bratty
children that need someone to "[sniff] pay attention to meeeee".
Of course, the sniper's acts are news and should absolutely be reported,
but they should absolutely not be affecting our way of life -
which is exactly what's happening by affecting what we are allowed to
watch on television. I, for one, am appalled and dismayed that the
networks still have not learned this most fundamental of lessons.
would love to know what you think, sound off on the
boards and let us know what you think!