Barbra Streisand has become an essential voice in public affairs. Today she comments on the CBS cancellation of “The Reagans” with the full Daschle effect: “I am deeply disappointed that CBS, the network that in 1964 gave me complete artistic control in creating television specials, now caved in to right wing Republican pressure to cancel the network broadcast of the movie The Reagans.” It’s been a long downhill slide from “Color Me Barbra” to George Bush’s America.
Ms. Streisand uses the occasion to provide a combined lesson in history and law: “Due to their experience with the restrictive English government, the framers of our constitution specifically included a ban on prior restraint in the First Amendment [Ed. note: Not in my copy of the First Amendment], which is an attempt to stop information from getting out there before the public has a chance to see it at all – exactly what is going on in this case. Of course, CBS as a company has the legal right to make decisions about what they do and do not air [Ed. note: Query internal consistency]. However, these important decisions should be based on artistic integrity [Ed. note: As with “Color Me Barbra”] rather than an attempt to appease a small group of vocal dissidents. Indeed, today marks a sad day for artistic freedom – one of the most important elements of an open and democratic society [Ed. note: As the work of both Ms. Streisand and James Brolin has long demonstrated].”
HINDROCKET adds: Speaking of history, defamation has historically been considered a bad thing. “Artistic freedom” isn’t normally construed as the freedom to lie about other people; certainly the First Amendment does not so construe it. However one views the role of the networks, it is hard to argue that part of their duty is to publish falsehoods about anyone, living or dead, public figure or not. “Artistic integrity” is a concept that applies to fiction; when one is broadcasting a documentary about actual people, the threshold requirement is that the documentary be true. The fact that the left openly regrets CBS’s decision not to air a broadcast that flunked the elementary test of truth shows how far the Democrats have fallen.
BIG TRUNK adds: Edward Morrissey does a nice job of responding to the “argument” here in “Barbra Streisand decries right wing ‘censorship'” over at Captain’s Quarters.
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