Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Golden Opportunity Missed with Blag's Bleepin' Golden

Here's what may seem like a minor issue, regarding the Rod Blagojevich outrage, Patrick Fitzgerald's press conference about it yesterday, and the media's reporting of it.

Fitzgerald told us that he had a recording of the Illinois Governor, speaking of his duty to appoint someone to fill Barack Obama's Senate seat, saying, "I've got this thing, and it's bleepin' golden."

Now, we all know that Blagojevich never said "bleepin," he said "fucking" about the big money he might make from the Senate appointment, and "fuckin'," about many other things, all in the complaint transcript, easily available online. My question is: why could not Fitzgerald have quoted Blagojevich verbatim - are we all five year-old children, who can't take hearing that word?

It's not as if "bleepin'" didn't tell us exactly what Blagojevich said, anyway. So its advantage is, what? Our ears are not singed by the real word?

I know, the FCC doesn't care much for that word on television, and has been inclined to fine networks that broadcast that word on television millions of dollars - even though we have a First Amendment in this country. CNN is apparently so desirous not to offend, that it added a disclaimer at the top of the above mentioned transcript: "This document contains language that some readers may find objectionable." Fox and MSNBC, to their credit, posted just the transcript.

Not that there's really anything wrong about posting the disclaimer, except that it caters to a worry that media should not have. Print, broadcast, web media should put up the truth on the page and screen, just as it is.

In an ideal world, Fitzpatrick would have spoken just what Blagojevich said, and the media would have broadcast that. And what would the FCC have done, gone after Fitzgerald and thousands of media outlets around the country?

Just something to think about, for next time.

See also Of Asterisks, Black Swans, Thom Yorke, and D*ck
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