Ken Burns's upcoming PBS documentary "The War," which has weathered complaints from Latinos about their World War II contributions being represented, is now prompting responses from another group: managers of public TV stations.Now, I have one question. What parent is going to allow their children to watch this and ONLY be concerned about the obscene words? They would have no problem allowing their children to see the obscenities of war? So, it is okay for their children to see people being killed brutally, but they have a problem with some bad words, which I am sure they have heard before, perhaps not on a regular basis?
The stations are concerned that four words of profanity in the 14 1/2 -hour documentary could subject them to hefty indecency fines from the Federal Communications Commission. Their worries have prompted Arlington-based PBS to take the unprecedented step of distributing two versions of "The War" for broadcast next month: Burns's original film and an FCC-friendly version from which the profanity has been removed.
Ken Burns agreed with PBS's decision to distribute two versions of "The War." Several stations, including WETA in Arlington and Maryland Public Television, say they will air both versions. WETA and MPT will carry the unedited "War" when the documentary begins its multi-night run during prime-time hours Sept. 23, and will switch to the "bleeped" version when they rebroadcast it during daytime hours the following weekend.
WHUT, operated by Howard University, will carried the scrubbed version only, a spokeswoman said.
WETA's decision is particularly notable given that the station is a co-producer of Burns's work. WETA and MPT offer the same rationale: Because children are more likely to be watching the film over the weekend, broadcasting "The War" with its profanities removed will respect community sensibilities and avert potential problems with the FCC.
Go figure the reasoning of some people!