Here’s yet another reason why the FCC needs to crack down on Big Media so it can’t become Monstrous Media. First it was Fox, CNN and NPR refusing to run ads for the Newmarket film Death of a President (opens this weekend) showing the fictional assassination of Dubya. Now, it’s NBC refusing to air ads for a Dixie Chicks’ documentary on, irony of ironies, freedom of speech. The cynical among us might see this as a novel promotional campaign in that today’s news helps the film get publicity before it opens this weekend. But this political vetting of movie ads by the Big Media who decide what we see on TV is also rapidly becoming a new and alarming trend. The Weinstein Group told the media today that “NBC claims that the network ‘cannot accept these spots as they are disparaging to President Bush.” The new documentary is a behind-the-scenes look at the incredible 2003 political and media fallout after Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines said she was “ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas.” The film opens in theaters in NY and Los Angeles on Friday, and in theaters nationwide on November 10th, from The Weinstein Company. Co-chairman Harvey Weinstein issued this statement to the Drudge Report: “It’s a sad commentary about the level of fear in our society that a movie about a group of courageous entertainers who were blacklisted for exercising their right of free speech is now itself being blacklisted by corporate America. The idea that anyone should be penalized for criticizing the president is sad and profoundly un-American.” The Drudge Report says The Weinstein Company is “exploring taking legal action.” The rejected commercials for “Shut Up & Post” can be viewed at http://www.shutupandpost.com.
Drudge Report also posted tonight that The CW nixed the promos for Shut Up & Sing as well. But Variety quotes CW flack Paul McGuire as saying, “That’s not true. The spot was not declined. In fact, we were told they were not going to make a national spot buy on CW.” An email exchange obtained by Variety between a media buyer for TWC and a CW standards and practices rep seemed to back that up.