Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Did They Censor Profanity Or Ideas?


DURING THE BROADCAST of the Emmy Awards on Sunday evening, Fox censored three actors.

"Some language during the live broadcast may have been considered inappropriate by some viewers. As a result, Fox’s broadcast standards executives determined it appropriate to drop sound during those portions of the show," the network said in a statement.

But the parts censored are rather odd: extreme liberal Sally Field used an expletive when she bad-mouthed the war in Iraq; Ray Romano revealed info about a character in a new Fox series; Katherine Heigle "mouthed a curse word normally associated with frustration or disgust" after being announced as a winner. Heigl didn't even actually say anything ... the network didn't want viewers to be able to read her lips.

Did the network censor for the public's safety and standards or did they censor to protect their own interests?

Did the Fox network, sister of the conservative Fox News Channel, clamp down on Sally Field because of her views on the war?

Did Fox go too far?

22 comments:

Samantha Krotzer said...

I believe that the reason Fox network censored those actors to save themselves from any outside criticisms. Whatever someone says on their network becomes their responsibility. Both comments made by Sally Field and Ray Romano could possibly lead to less viewers for the Fox network. The executives who decided to censor the actors words was thinking of the money and standards of the network before people's freedom to say whatever the please.

Geo said...

Is that right or wrong though?

- George (the teacher)

Samantha Krotzer said...

It goes both ways, Fox network is both right and wrong. It is their network, they can censor it if they choose to do so. However, no matter what they do they are going to get criticized for it. If they censor the actors then they went too far, but if they don't censor then the network could suffer from poor reviews. It is kind of a lose lose situation.

Anonymous said...

I believe that it was wrong for FOX network to censor the comments. If the network chose to cover the Emmys then they should be prepared to handle whatever gets thrown at them. The comments made were simply individual viewpoints, everyone has one. Everyday we are bombarded with statements and viewpoints that we or may not agree with, isn't that what this country is all about?
M. Murtaugh

Marc Piscitello said...

Two things.

First, as said by Jon Stewart on E!'s Emmy post-show, the award ceremony isn't a place for political commentary. Even he and Stephen Colbert avoided it for the night, only touching on the fact that the Emmy's "went green" with recycled carpets and stage.

Secondly, Kelsey Grammer was on Regis and Kelly this morning. He quoted Ray Romano as saying "Frasier is screwing my wife." He was referring to the fact that Grammer, formally of "Frasier," is starring in a new sitcom with Romano's former "Everybody Loves Raymond"-wife Patricia Heaton. Regis's producers found no reason to bleep "screwing" although they joked saying "I'm getting bleeped right now" as they were talking about it.

Doanh said...

I believe it was wrong of them to do so. They were censoring the actors because of their own interests, being extremely conservative and did not want portray the actors as themselves. Actors can't really be protected against backlash from what they say because their quotes and pictures will always show up somewhere else, if not on Fox. When networks alter people's images on tv, it's censorship; but when it is used in journalism, it's libel and it shouldn't be done unless there is something absolutely inappropriate, such as reasonable profanity or nudity.

Geo said...

Is there really any controversy here? Did you guys read the NYTimes story? No one is actually complaining, and the only person connecting the Sally Field censorship to the right-leaning Fox network is the author of the story ... a reporter at a left-leaning newspaper.

Isn't the author simply stirring the pot? Isn't that rather reckless and irresponsible?

Isn't it biased of us to assume that Fox would do such a thing simply because of their perceived political beliefs?

- George (the teacher and devil's advocate)

Elyssa said...

I would like to think that the network did it for public safety but most likely they did it to protect their own interests. For instance, if a parent's kids were watching said show and heard words they did not want their kids to hear they would have a whole different perspective about that network. Most parents would think that if the network allowed such language this is setting up a bad influence and would choose to avoid it. Therefore the network's viewer audience would decrease. There has also been a lot of censureship about what people say about the war. Although Sally Fields is a public figure she had no right to say the things she said for none of us are the President or know the whole story behind the decisions being made. Respect should be shown for every governmental outlet even with our differences. There are more words in our vocabulary to show our disagreement than swear words. They may look big and bad but most of the time it's just a facade.

Jessica Grimm said...

Why would a child be watching the prime-time Emmy's, though?

Plenty of controversial language is shown on Fox's usual line-up of evening shows (especially on Sundays. Family Guy anyone?). I'd say it's more probable that they censored Sally Field for political reasons.

Anonymous said...

I think Fox went too far. People that are in the public view such as actors, like Sally Field have a lot of power, especially when it comes to politics and how they feel about them. I think it is good for people to see these things because they may be feeling the same way, and when someone they admire or look up to voices their same opinions,it may make them want to speak up.
~Lana Adams~

GA said...

I watch Fox News relgiously and until class today i never realized how conservative they are. I don't bother with CNN because ive become accustomed to the views of O'Riley. With the Fox network funding FoxNews, the censoring that went on comes as no suprise to me because all thoughout the day I hear nothing but negativity about Britney Spears, OJ Simpson or those English parents who FoxNews condems them of poor parenting.
The censoring that went on during the Emmys comes as no supirse to me as a frequent Fox viewer. When catering to an educated audience they take a conservative stance and when the buisness side kicks in and they need to pull ratings they whip out the big guns, Family Guy and The Simpsons.

Geo said...

Oh snap! Educated people want conservative views.

Any liberals offended?

- George (the teacher and devil's advocate)

Morgan said...

So now I guess I'm "uneducated" because I tend to lean toward the liberal side? Well, you learn something new every day...

Anyway, it looks like there's some hypocrisy going on at Fox, considering when it was ruled that it wasn't their responsibility to censor "fleeting expletives" they were all for it, but once they got the chance, they got a little censor-happy. If Sally Field wanted to protest the war in her speech, she had every right to, and Fox's censorship is absolutely out of line. Depending on the word, it's one thing to censor "expletives," but it's a violation of the first amendment to censor someone's opinion...even if they claim it was because of her language. We all know that isn't what it was about...not if they cut out a whole part of her speech. What's next? Earplugs for the audience?

I think some celebrities like Sally Field can represent the feelings of some of the population in a way. They are in the public eye and can reach political leaders maybe...more readily than an ordinary person that doesn't get the opportunity to express his or her opinions on national TV. That is powerful, and it shouldn't be censored the way it was.

Also, in censoring Katherine Heigl, they cut the camera too late and her lips were readable anyway...I actually saw that part of the awards.

Victoria H. said...

I find it more peculiar that Fox wanted to censor something that wasn't overly that important,such as revealing a TV character's background. I didn't watch the Emmys at all, so I don't know about the surrounding context, but was Katherine Heigl actually angry about winning the award and Fox didn't want to show an 'ungrateful' winner?

Anonymous said...

It is very obvious why fox censored what they censored. Everyone knows why they censored what Sally Field said. This being said, everyone should also realized Fox is a conservative network. Obviously they have to the right to censor what they want, how they want. Wouldn't it make sense for a conservative station to censor liberal ideas? I'm not saying anyone has to agree with it, but just realize you are watching a channel that is conservative.

Ashley Huber

Rachel M Heuckroth said...

Katherine Heigle probably reacted to her being a winner because she didnt have a speech prepared so she mouthed the explative and it was seen on tape. Big deal! That has nothing to do with the public's safety, that was all about their image.

Bottom line... Fox always goes too far.

Anonymous said...

Shanise Redmon
I think that fox did go too far. They shouldnt have censored the show people have the right to say what they want

Anonymous said...

Victoria H.,
The context of Kathering Heigl's "expletive" was that she was in shock that she won, not ungrateful.

Paul Klein said...

You are all making a mountain out of a mole hill. What happened during the Emmys is the backlash of Boobgate. FOX is having a itchy tigger finger because the FCC is stomping on CBS right now.

leila said...

Was it right for them to censor? Right and wrong is just too opinionated. As journalists we should be saying wrong because we're supposed to stand for freedom of the press and speech. Sally Field has the right to do just that, but is it appropriate at an awards show? It was her speech, so I guess she can do whatever she wants with her time up there, before they play the "get off the stage" music. However, is it necessary to use profane language? No probably not, but bleeping it out is good enough.

Anonymous said...

I think Fox has the right to censor what it wants to. It's their station.
Some of the things they censored I don't agree with though.
Katherine Heigle mouthing a curse word is ridiculous. I mean, everyone curses, or knows curse words. And anyway, this is Fox we are talking about, which airs "The Simpsons." I think people could have handled the mouthed curse after that show.
Romano's was also ridiculous. Revealing info about a new charatcer he is going to play is not reaons to censor. Maybe if people knew about his character it would make people want to watch the show.
Sally Field, I agree with. Only because I feel celebrities use their status to say whatever they want. Freedom of speech is fine and everything, but did the celebs ever think that maybe we don't care about what they think?
I think Fox was okay with doing that, because this isn't a news show. She didn't seem to give any type of evidence to back up her thought; just that she doesn't agree. Anyway, Fox doesn't like strict liberals from my understanding, so they don't want to lose their fanbase because of something that was said on the Emmys.
Futhermore, no one wants someone that knows nothing about what they are talking about to start preaching to people. That's like an overweight Rosie O'Donnell talking to people about diet plans. Just doesn't work.
Lastly, there is a time and a place for everything. If this was a war discussion, Field can gladly say her opinion. But at an awards show, it isn't appropriate.

Geo said...

Just like Oprah has the right to use her show as a vehicle to pitch her opinions, can't Sally Field take her three minute speech time to say whatever she wants?

Why are you trying to keep Gidget down?

- George (the teacher and devil's advocate)