The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Sinclair Broadcasting is scrapping its efforts to air the Vietnam documentary, Stolen Honor . Further details notwithstanding, the perception is that company executives relented to the will of Liberal activist groups pressuring the company, its advertisers, and shareholders. The company says that it will be airing 'snippets' of the film, but it will no longer proceed with plans to air the entire piece next week, prior to the election. Even that is unlikely. Delivering selective portions of the film would yield even more indignation from critics who claim that the story - one of US prisoners tortured at the hands of their Vietnamese captors, for 'war crimes' charges leveled in 1971 by then Lt. Kerry (see: Winter Soldier) - might damage the presidential candidacy of Senator Kerry.
In this episode, one might recognize a parallel with the great climactic battle of The Fountainhead (preferably the novel, but the campy 1949 movie version will suffice) Recall that Gail Wynand, the great entrepreneurial media tycoon finally seized the banner of integrity from journalistic malfeasance in the form of the malevolent columnist, Ellsworth Toohey, who refused to relent, stating:
So you were a possessive man, Mr Wynand, and you loved your sense of property? Did you ever stop to think what it rested upon? Did you ever stop to secure the foundation? No, because you were a practical man. Practical men deal in bank accounts, real estate, advertising contracts, and gilt-edged securities. They leave the impractical intellectuals, like me, the amusements of putting the guilt edges through a chemical analysis to learn a few things about nature and the source of gold. They hang on to Kream-O Pudding, and leave us such trivia as the theater, the movies, the radio, the schools, the book reviews and the criticisms of architecture. Just a sop to keep us quiet if we care to waste our time playing with the inconsequentials of life, while you’re making money. Money is power. Is it, Mr. Wynand? So you were after power, Mr. Wynand? Power over men? You poor amateur. You never discovered the nature of your own ambition or you’d have known that you weren’t fit for it. You couldn’t use the methods required and wouldn’t want the results. You’ve never been enough of a scoundrel. I don’t mind handling you that, because I don’t know which is worse: to be a great scoundrel or a gigantic fool. (Ayn Rand, 1943)
Gail Wynand surrendered his defense of righteous conviction, under severe popular pressure fomented by EllsworthToohey in his relentless crusade to destroy the hero in form of Howard Roark. Wynand failed Roark and destroyed himself in the process - at first in terms of spirit, and after the perseverance of Roark, indeed he was destroyed in fact. Sinclair Broadcasting has apparently fallen into a similar amateur trap. They stood with their convictions yet with no will to remain firm. And they weren’t fit as scoundrels to fight on the Left’s terms.
So Sinclair has succomb to pressure. Granted, this is not censorship. The Kerry/Edwards Campaign did however, pursue that option when demanding the FCC forbid the private broadcast company from airing the film. For their part, the DNC petitioned the FEC to prevent the broadcast. A Kerry/Edwards campaign spokesman even went so far as to threaten Sinclair, should they (the Democrats) win the election (see: Mice and Morlocks, Part 2). Nevertheless, market pressure (market pressure? )is a legitimate method for action, even if said action stems from a questionable moral imperative. After all, the hypocrisy the Left exhibits with their indignation regarding Stolen Honor is a monumental testimony to their fundamental depravity. Over the last three years the Left has inundated the public perception with poisonous rhetoric and innuendo about the President, his life, and his administration. The Fahrenheit 911 mockumentary summer theatre blockbuster (and subsequent October Blockbuster DVD billboard) marked the crescendo of vitriolic propagandizing. Additionally, there have been over 75 books (Amazon.com); two CBS 60 Minutes scandals aimed at damaging the President (memogate, draftgate) and numerous appearances on that same program by several anti-Bush authors with no reciprocal appearance by the SwiftBoat Vets; plus numerous theatrical plays entertaining assassination, infidelity, and even homosexuality. The efforts by the Left to indulge the sleeziest efforts at smearing a candidate's character have shown no bottom limit to their abysmal descent. The MSM Has continued to follow them down. Any attempt, in fact, to resist the plunge is met with avid fury from the tooheyan malcontents as witness through their reprehensible reaction to the Swiftboat Vets for Truth, Stolen Honor, Unfit for Command, John O'neal and his veteran compatriots. The actions of Liberal activists in Philadelphia on Tuesday, forcibly closing a theatrical preview with threats of violence, further confirm that the Left is surely fit as scoundrels.
Heaven forbid, issues regarding someone’s judgment and leadership should be a question during a campaign. If the controversial issue is the timing, then let it be suggested that the historic analysis of Stolen Honor might have received a fair review by the MSM sometime over the past year that the depicted controversy has been circulating. No serious critic is disputing the facts of this particular period in history. Kerry was part of the Winter Soldier Investigation. His testimony before Congress in 1971 was recorded for posterity. And the men depicted in Stolen Honor are real and were imprisoned and tortured for war crimes by the North Vietnamese Army. Lt. Kerry gave testimony accusing those American troops of alleged war crimes and condemned the war and their behavior. What does it say about the Left that they fear the truth more than repression and violence? What does it say about a candidate that fears an honest review of his own resume so fervently that he would leverage tyrannical threats to have it suppressed? And what does it say about contemporary journalism that they would participate in the effort of one party to hide the truth from the American public? Sinclair shrugs... Toohey smiles.
Do let’s watch to see if the same sentiment will persist during these last two weeks of the election season when it comes to reciprocity.
UPDATE: You can now view the documentray, Stolen Honor online.