Censoring the news

It’s shocking — it’s downright obscene — that journalists acting as self-appointed nannies censored New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin’s angry speech demanding help for his city. The New York Times did it. TV did it. Journalists charged with reporting accurately bleeped “ass” and “goddamn” and they wouldn’t let him say “BS.” That is bullshit.

What makes them think they should tone down his anger? He said these words for a reason. These words need to be said. Anger is justified. Shock is needed. These words are part of the story. But in our nannified culture today, in the era of the FCC and the PTC thinking they should control our speech, in this age of offense, these people think they need to protect us from words — and thus from anger, from bluntness, from honesty. That is dishonest.

The word “bullshit” is not indecent. We are watching people die because our government has not gotten them water. That is indecent. That is obscene.

Go listen to Nagin’s interview without the bleeps and dashes. [via Winer] I can’t find transcript but here are excerpts:

It’s politics. They’re out there spinning. They’re spinning for the cameras…
I don’t know what they’re doing I mean the air conditioning must be good…
I keep hearing that it’s coning this is coming and that is coming. And my answer to that is BS. Where is the beef….
These Goddmaned ships that are coming, I don’t see them….
I told him [Bush] that we have an incredible crisis here and that his flying over in Airforce One does not do it justice….
They don’t have a clue what’s going on down here. They flew down here one time two days after the doggone event was over with TV cameras, AP reporters, all kinda goddamn — pardon my French, everybody in America, but I am pissed….
I need reinforcement, I need troops, man, I need 500 busses… This is a national disaster. Get every doggon Grayhound bus line in the country and get their asses moving to New Orleans. They’re thinking small, man. This is a major, major, major deal….
It’s awful down here, man….
God is looking down on all this. And if they are not doing everything in their power to save people, they are going to pay the price. Because every day that we delay people are dying. And they’re dying by the hundreds…
They’re feeding people a line of bull and they’re spinning and people are dying down here…
I’m probably going to get in a whole bunch of trouble… they probably won’t even want to deal with me after this interview is over. But we authorized $8 billion to go to Iraq lickity-quick…. You mean to tell me that a place where most of your oil is coming through, a place that is so unique… you mean to tell me… that we can’t figure out a way to authorize the resources we need? Come on, man….
I don’t know whether it’s the governor’s problem. I don’t know whether it’s the president’s problem. But somebody needs to get their ass on a plane and figure this out….
I don’t want ot see anybody do anymore goodammned press conferences… Don’t do another press conference until the resources are in this city and then come to this city and stand with us…
It’s ridiculous. It’s too doggone late. Get off your asses and let’s do something and let’s fix the biggest goddamn crisis in the history of this country….
People are dying. They don’t have homes. They don’t have jobs. The city of New Orleans will never be the same. And it’s time.

The interview ends with the mayor and his interviewers in silent tears.

: The Times-Picayune’s editorial on Nagin v. Bush:

But the sad truth remains that the federal government’s slow start has already proved fatal to some of the most vulnerable people in the New Orleans area. Water has killed hundreds, if not thousands, of people. A lack of water to drink is exacting its toll on others….

We applaud the mayor for giving voice to an entire city’s frustration. How could the most powerful and technologically advanced nation in the history of the world have responded so feebly to this crisis?

The president’s admission of his administration’s mistakes will mean nothing unless the promised help is deployed immediately. Each life is precious, and there isn’t a second chance to save a single one of them. No more talk of what’s going to happen. We only want to hear what is being done. The lives of our people depend on it.