The tyranny of the fear of the few: They’re bleeping Jesus II

The tyranny of the fear of the few: They’re bleeping Jesus II

: This is what we have come to:

Saying that Jesus welcomes all people is too “controversial” for network TV.

Network TV executives say (but not on camera, God forbid) that they are scared of those few (bigots) who would complain that it is controversial to welcome all people (including gay people). Two networks rejected a commercial from the United Church of Christ that said only: “Jesus did not turn people away. Neither do we.” Go to Josh Marshall (and scroll around) to see much coverage of the networks’ rationales; the New York Times covered it today, too.

“Our policy is we do not do advocacy ads,” said Alan Wurtzel, who heads NBC’s program standards division. ” ‘Jesus didn’t turn people away, neither do we.’ That message clearly implies that other people do.”

Oh, so will it soon be too “controversial” to say that the Statue of Liberty welcomes all people? Will be be amending Emma Lazarus? If we’re taking huddled masses, are we implying that someone else must be rejecting them? What happens if a few dictators complain? Get out the sandblaster! And while we’re at it, let’s get out the WhiteOut for the Declaration of Independence. “All men are created equal?” We can’t let a church say that! Too controversial.

Is democracy now advocacy?

Is human kindness now advocacy?

But, of course, that’s not the problem. The problem is that the networks fear a few people might complain.

So, once again, we are being governed not by a least common denominator — not by a common denominator at all — but instead by the least of us.

Three people write letters to complain about a whipped-cream gag and the government brings down its biggest broadcast fine in history.

A few people might complain and two networks won’t let a church talk about openness.

That’s where we are in this country: If a few people might complain, that draws the line in the sand that the rest of us are not allowed to cross. We can’t hear or speak or debate in this democracy — on our own public airwaves, I’ll add — because a few might complain.

This has become a culture of complaint, ruled by the tyranny of the fear of the few.

And the fault lies with the few fools who ignore the community as a whole and listen to those few complainers instead.

They have no courage. They have no balls. They have no principles.

Note that the oft-reviled Fox is airing the commercial. The oft-lionized Tiffany network, CBS, is not. The wildly rich NBC is not. And the Disney company, ABC, won’t even consider a commercial from a church.

Let me return my Thanksgiving turkey. I guess we no longer value religious tolerance in this nation. I guess we’re too damned scared of it.

And that scares me.

The only cure to this is to tell those executives at NBC and CBS that they are wrong. We need to tell them that the community as a whole — not the complainers, the few — believe in tolerance, discussion, debate, a marketplace of ideas, freedom to speak; we have nothing to fear from speech or ideas or gay people, either.

Oh, yes, networks have the right and responsibility to determine what goes on the air (albeit our air) that they manage. But we need to tell them that they should be more open about what they put there — or less concerned about protecting us from ideas; we’re a smart people; we’re not too stupid to disagree.

We need to give these cowardly executives cover so they can respond to the few complainers — whether they come from complaint factories or from the FCC — that they are trying to serve the community as a whole, not the few.

Go to this page for CBS. Sadly, I can find no similar page for NBC so call 212 664-4444 and ask for Alan Wurtzel. Tell them you’re not afraid of the few. You’re not afraid of discussion. You’re not afraid of openness. You’re not afraid of democracy. Why should they be?

: UPDATE: The coverage from the Cleveland Plain Dealer (where the UCC is based):

A naked actress jumping into the arms of a famous athlete on “Monday Night Football”? That’s OK.

Two burly bouncers appearing to exclude gays and lesbians from church? Not so fast.

Yeah, thanks for reminding me: Human kindness is controversial but four-hour erections are not? If you’re afraid of controversy, networks, you might want to get rid of commercials for fatty food, too. And pharmaceuticals. And SUVs. And beer. And…..