Politcally Incorrect was taken off the air by Sinclair Broadcasting
September 21, 2001 11:05 AM   Subscribe

Politcally Incorrect was taken off the air by Sinclair Broadcasting I called their corparate headquarters and of course was directed to some fools voice mail. Has anyone seen a story about this anywhere?
posted by jbou (50 comments total)
This ain't Rumorfilter, dude. Is this something you heard? or read? or what?
posted by jpoulos at 11:25 AM on September 21, 2001

Man, you gotta post a better link than this.
posted by Doug at 11:25 AM on September 21, 2001

good, bill maher is a prick commie.
posted by catatonic at 11:27 AM on September 21, 2001

It is not a rumor his show has been taken off the network affilates that Sinclair Broadcastin owns. I was all set to watch the show last night and It was pre empted by reruns of some sitcom and I called my local station today and they told me it was Sinclair that took PI off the air
posted by jbou at 11:33 AM on September 21, 2001

It was on last night.
posted by timothompson at 11:39 AM on September 21, 2001

I have no information on whether it was pulled or not. But he did clarify his statements through this press release.
posted by mgoyer at 11:39 AM on September 21, 2001

catatonic: prick commie? Have you ever watched the show? I disagree often with Maher, but neither of those terms apply. If you're just trolling, please do it elsewhere.
posted by MrBaliHai at 11:39 AM on September 21, 2001

It was taken off the air in Iowa, but the staion is not owned by Sinclair.
posted by cell divide at 11:41 AM on September 21, 2001

Good. I can’t stand Bill Maher’s brand of "highbrow for the working class" shtick. Same thing goes for Dennis Miller. When people like that are known as “thinkers” we're all in trouble.
posted by Instant Enemy at 11:58 AM on September 21, 2001

Politically Incorrect is one of the few broadcast venues where media messages are questioned, corporate PR is questioned, government is questioned and mob mentality and group think are questioned and real people discuss issues. It advocates critical thinking instead of blind mass media consumption. I guess corporations have realized any thought besides their own is a dangerous precedent to set.
posted by fleener at 12:09 PM on September 21, 2001

it may be because of this (near the bottom):
posted by patricking at 12:15 PM on September 21, 2001

Bill Maher doesn't question mob mentality, he incites it. And real people don't discuss real issues on his show, people with high Q ratings discuss issues that likely don't effect them much, like homelessness, or the economic downturn, or a score of other societal afflictions that don't decimate the wealthy the way they do the middle class.
posted by kristin at 12:16 PM on September 21, 2001

Kristin-have u watched his show he usally goes against the mainstream he was the only media whore to come out and endorse Nader. Maher gets people on his show that r mainstream and then pokes holes in their ideas. I may not always agree with Bill but he is not your typical media whore.
posted by jbou at 12:23 PM on September 21, 2001

The DC affiliate pulled Maher too.
posted by owillis at 12:27 PM on September 21, 2001

How can you state that Maher and his ilk question anything? It was designed so John Q. Public can fell liberated while being subjected to commercials ever 10 minutes. Don't fool yourself. Do you think Ben Folds and Jamie Fox have anything worth contributing to a political conversation? I think not.
posted by Instant Enemy at 12:34 PM on September 21, 2001

God Bless America. If you don't agree with someone, have their idea suppressed. Some of the idiots that caused this to happen are waving flags right now. That's kinda funny to me.
posted by Doug at 12:37 PM on September 21, 2001

It was on last night in Atlanta, but a significant portion of the show was spent talking about the fact that the show may be over and done with, and Maher defending and explaining his position. Yes, what he said was poorly phrased and unsensitive, but no, I don't believe he meant it the way it came out, and no, I don't believe cancelling the show is warranted or will even do anyone any good at all. The station in Des Moines pulled the show because they got fifty phone calls. Fifty phone calls?!?!? Come on...
posted by spilon at 12:39 PM on September 21, 2001

How do we know that the person receiving the voice mail is a fool?
posted by websavvy at 12:45 PM on September 21, 2001

Maher said: " My criticism was meant for politicians who, fearing public reaction, have not allowed our military to do the job they are obviously ready, willing and able to do, and who now will, I'm certain, as they always have, get it done."

Wow. That reads like water running down a staircase.
posted by jragon at 12:46 PM on September 21, 2001

Jesus, owillis is right. I called WJLA in DC and asked if they'd taken it off the air; they said "Just for a couple of days". Just until that commie bastard toes the line with the rest of us, more like. I left an irate message with their programming department. Also wrote ABC corporate to tell them how I feel; so far they are supporting him but who knows: if another week goes by and we haven't bombed the shit out of some starving Middle Easterners someplace, things here at home will get uglier yet :>
posted by Sapphireblue at 12:49 PM on September 21, 2001

I watch the show a lot. Mostly because, you get to see who's actually got a brain and who doesn't. Very few shows like that around. But Liking or disliking the show is not the issue. He made an off-the-cuff remark that people are having an insanely large knee-jerk reaction to. People need to lighten up. There are bigger fish to fry.
posted by srw12 at 12:53 PM on September 21, 2001

ON a related late night tv talk subject: Letterman last night had Walter Kronkite on. Did anyone watch? FIrst let me say that I LOVE Dave, So I might be biased. I feel that the Letterman people have done an awesome job of getting great guests and doing more that a one day 'weepy weepy - now more comedy' (see Kilborn).

Kronkite was preaching peace. And dave, asked some great questions in the form of the angry but generally peaceloving everyman. Compare that to the more 'traditional' news shows full of saber-rattling 'america strikes back'.

I guess I'm just saying Letterman has definatetly locked up his emmy again for this year. And Thanks Dave.

posted by darkpony at 12:54 PM on September 21, 2001


Love that retro slang.

"commie bastard", heh!

Too bad about Carroll O'Connor dying, eh?
posted by websavvy at 12:56 PM on September 21, 2001

I think Falwell and Roberson's quotes and opinions were FAR more offensive then Maher's remark.

How come no one dropping the 700 club? hmmmmm.
posted by Qambient at 1:08 PM on September 21, 2001

Kronkite made more sense in a few minutes on Letterman last night than any politician ever will.

I wish there were a place on-line that had the text of what he said so everyone could read it now.

He wasn't just "preaching peace", he said we should strike back but his additional comments were truly refreshing to hear in this warmongering climate we're in right now.

It was certainly more interesting than watching Dan Rather cry.

As for Maher's show being pulled, that's what I tried to point out in the thread I started on Wed, but all the people wanted to talk about was FedEx and Sears.
posted by BarneyFifesBullet at 1:11 PM on September 21, 2001

First hard news here
posted by bitdamaged at 1:17 PM on September 21, 2001

Actually, when you think about it, its kind of funny, maybe even ironic in an Alanis Morisette sort of way. When you get to what Maher meant, it sort of echoes the "we should've killed that sum' bitch when we had that chance" mentality that I've heard a lot out of gung-ho military types ever since the Gulf War. Yet those are the folks seemingly most upset at him. Its all in the connotation, I guess.

...BTW, nobody's dropping the 700 club because nobody watches it anyway
posted by srw12 at 1:19 PM on September 21, 2001

websavvy: retro? you never lived in the South, did you.

(note, lest this thread turn into another redneck-bashing fest: I am a Southerner and therefore I'm allowed to say that.)
posted by Sapphireblue at 1:21 PM on September 21, 2001

aye Barney,

you are right...preaching peace doesn't cover it. If you run across a transcript please let me know.

oh..and I been meaning to mention this for a while...I think that Rather went over the deep end ages ago...'whats the frequency kenneth?' should have tipped us off. The election, what WAS he talkin about?
posted by darkpony at 1:21 PM on September 21, 2001

Too bad about Carroll O'Connor dying, eh?

Actually, yes. The man helped expose racial and sexual bigotry through the character of Archie Bunker - and helped many people see it for what it really is - stupidity on parade. You do realize that he was the recipient of the 1990 and 1991 NAACP Image Award for "contributing positive portrayals of African Americans in a prime time television series?" Yeah, we need less people like him in the world.
posted by RevGreg at 1:32 PM on September 21, 2001

God Bless America. If you don't agree with someone, have their idea suppressed. Some of the idiots that caused this to happen are waving flags right now. That's kinda funny to me.

Yeah, I can't think of anything that would represent American values more than forcing TV stations to carry programming they don't want to air.
posted by aaron at 1:56 PM on September 21, 2001

Yeah, I can't think of anything that would represent American values more than forcing TV stations to carry programming they don't want to air.

I can--forcing TV stations not to carry programming that they do want to air.

Don't agree with Bill Maher? Don't watch him.

The same goes for Married...With Children, South Park, or any other television shows you see unfit for everyone else's viewing.
posted by dogmatic at 2:06 PM on September 21, 2001

Bill Maher made the mistake of touching an extremely raw nerve at a bad time. That is, however, part of his job.

Like him or not, if everyone here who automatically came to the conclusion of 'serves him right, commie bastard' would stand back and let him explain himself, he might be better able to actually make the point he was trying to make.

And maybe he's actually willing to discuss the pros and cons of the issue, and advance the discourse on these things a little bit. That is what his show is allegedly about, after all.

He gets a half-dozen short soundbites a day on the air between the rants of his guests, and they have to be as funny as he can get them. There's not much leeway. I may not agree with him all the time, but I do admit he's got a tough (and, in this atmosphere especially, necessary) gig.

I don't see anyone else filling the niche that he is, and I don't see the treason in his words. What I do see, here and in the programming offices of these stations, is a lot of people taking an opportunity to shut up someone they happen to not agree with.
posted by chicobangs at 2:57 PM on September 21, 2001

speak you mind, lose your show.

get with the ticket, or the Ministry of Love will have to step in.
posted by hotdoughnutsnow at 3:09 PM on September 21, 2001

MrBaliHai, catatonic: while I'm not sure Maher is an officially registered prick commie, he is most certainly confusing. he always seems to do this little dance where he pays lip service to quasi-libertarian views in the macro, but consistently tilts left when it comes down to the micro.
posted by justkurt at 3:13 PM on September 21, 2001


This pisses me off, not so much because I think it's wrong, but because I wanted to watch the show I'd been meaning to see it, just to see what was going on... with all the Hype going around, but WOI killed it in my area.

I can't belive people could be so fucking sensitive, not to mention the fact that while what he said was pretty course, it wasn't innacurite.

It's really dissapointing that 50 oversensitive pricks and a Cowardly or oversensitive corporate manager can suppress someone because someone said something "unamerican". asdfl;jk
posted by delmoi at 3:40 PM on September 21, 2001

Like him or not, Maher's job is to incite his guests into conversation and when people are too agreeable (boring), sometimes a little hyperbole or playing devil's advocate is required.
posted by roboto at 3:45 PM on September 21, 2001

Those of you who are thinking that Bill Maher is "having his ideas supressed" by having is show canceled are forgetting that the telivision networks are BUSINESSES. If what someone says on their show really offends viewers enough to make them stop watching, then it's no surprise at all that they get shut down.

This IS America, however, and Bill Maher can continue to express his ideas as much as he wants to--he just may not be able to blab his mouth to such a large audience anymore. Maybe he'll get on Metafilter. He'd fit right in.
posted by dr_emory at 3:55 PM on September 21, 2001

Well, in his defense he has crossed the fourth wall to call Americans stupid, suggesting on numerous occasions that "the American people aren't wise, they're stupid, that's why ...". In other words, while often his rhetoric is uninformed blather- likewise with many of his guests- he isn't afraid to challenge those "incontrovertible truths" that otherwise get hollow lip service on the typical news programs.

I don't look to PI for brilliant and insightful commentary; but I think, much like the Daily Show on Comedy Central, it's role isn't so much to inform as it is to rip the veil from pompous, self-important "serious" news and punditry programs. Truth is, the words of actress Laura Innes last night were more thoughtful and informed and sincere than almost anything you'll hear on CNN, FOX, etc. Truth is, the self-appointed punditry, those clamoring whores of TV and print looking only for that one shallow bon mot or reputation for "witty" and incisive speech- to say nothing of actual, reasoned analysis- that will bring them 5-figure speaking engagement fees and six or seven figure talk show salaries, don't have anything to offer us. Nothing. Ann Coulter? George Will? Michael Moore? Who are these people, and why should we care what they have to say?

Of course, we shouldn't care what they have to say, and PI shows us that- we see about the same spectrum of thoughtfulness and reason and understanding from an amalgam of tv, film, and sports stars that we do from pin-striped yahoos and former gov't knuckleheads.
posted by hincandenza at 4:21 PM on September 21, 2001

But here is the real question...what kind of moron writes to his local tv station and asks for a program to be removed because he disagrees with an opinion stated on that show? People have to grow up and realize that not everybody is always going to agree with them.
But until that time we will live in a world dictated by the crazy people who write letters to their local television affiliates. Nice.
posted by Doug at 4:53 PM on September 21, 2001

Doug: you have a point -- perhaps you should share it with the folks who made it their life's work to get dr laura off the air.
posted by justkurt at 5:58 PM on September 21, 2001

I watch PI, I also catch Dr. Laura sometimes, I think they are both hilarious. I love to see them both make fools of themselves on different ends of the spectrum.
posted by bjgeiger at 6:12 PM on September 21, 2001

The following scene was taken from Paddy Chayefsky's screenplay for the 1976 film "Network". In the film, Howard Beale (Peter Finch) plays a character similar to Bill Maher, in that he raves nightly against the "establishment", keeps ratings high, and keeps the ad revenue rolling in.

On the night the following scene takes place, Beale has just ordered his viewers to flood the White House with telegrams protesting a business deal with an Arabic oil entity that was to be very profitable for the Network's parent company, a multinational conglomorate. Beale is called into an ominously lit conference room, where, at the head of a long table, stands the CEO of the multinational, Arthur Jensen (Ned Beatty). He is livid. He begins addressing a terrified Beale.

Jensen: You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, Mr. Beale, and I won't have it, is that clear?! You think you have merely stopped a business deal -- that is not the case! The Arabs have taken billions of dollars out of this country, and now they must put it back. It is ebb and flow, tidal gravity, it is ecological balance! You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations! There are no peoples! There are no Russians. There are no Arabs! There are no third worlds! There is no West! There is only one holistic system of systems, one vast and immane, interwoven, interacting, multi-variate, multi-national dominion of dollars! petro-dollars, electro-dollars, multi-dollars!, Reichmarks, rubles, rin, pounds and shekels! It is the international system of currency that determines the totality of life on this planet! That is the natural order of things today! That is the atomic, subatomic and galactic structure of things today! And you have meddled with the primal forces of nature, and you will atone! Am I getting through to you, Mr. Beale? (pause) You get up on your little twenty-one inch screen, and howl about America and democracy. There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM and ITT and AT&T and Dupont, Dow, Union Carbide and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today. What do you think the Russians talk about in their councils of state -- Karl Marx? They pull out their linear programming charts, statistical decision theories and minimax solutions and compute the price-cost probabilities of their transactions and investments just like we do.
We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies, Mr. Beale. The world is a college of corporations, inexorably deter- mined by the immutable by-laws of business. The world is a business, Mr. Beale! It has been since man crawled out of the slime, and our children, Mr.Beale, will live to see that perfect world in which there is no war and famine, oppression and brutality --one vast and ecumenical holding company, for whom all men will work to serve a common profit, in which all men will hold a share of stock, all necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused. And I have chosen you to preach this evangel, Mr. Beale.

Howard: (humble whisper) Why me?

Jensen: Because you're on television, dummy. Sixty million people watch you every night of the week, Monday through Friday

Howard: (voice quivering) I have seen the face of God.

Jensen: You may just be right, Mr. Beale.
posted by Optamystic at 6:25 PM on September 21, 2001

this just in .... rush limbaugh is taking over his time slot ... I'm joking of course. I'm not really sure what the fuss is about, sounds like censorship to me. who cares who he has on the show, he gets people to talk, argue, debate ... who really cares what he says, obviously someone does and wants him off the air for it ... it makes one wonder why?
posted by jasonspaceman at 6:43 PM on September 21, 2001

I can--forcing TV stations not to carry programming that they do want to air.

Don't agree with Bill Maher? Don't watch him.

Well said.
posted by rushmc at 6:58 PM on September 21, 2001

Right on, Optamystic- actually, that's been my criticism of Maher at times: that he's nothing more than a Beale character, pretending to rage against the machine but always in very safe, very controlled ways that don't really rock the boat (to make the metaphor complete, though, Maher would have to be on Fox- if Rupert Murdoch is not a modern day Arthur Jensen, I don't know who is).

Oddly, no less an insipid whore than Pat Caddell said on PI a few weeks ago, talking about the stem cells, that it was actually a fluff topic: that stem cells aren't an ethical dilemma or even an important one: they're just a convenient ruse to divert attention from the real dilemmas, such as patenting people's own genetic traits, or of concentrating the knowledge of life and health into the hands of purely private, for-profit businesses. But rather than discuss that, we the people were presented with this silly little stem-cell thing to get us all up in arms, make us feel like we were having a national debate and that democracy was "in action", while more important medical issues were quietly resolved out of sight. Like I said, it was stunning that Caddell of all people would posit this. Go figure- maybe Chris Matthews brings out the worst in him, and we were finally seeing the real Pat Caddell.

Regardless, "Network" is an astonishingly brilliant movie, and every time I re-view it I am stunned at how insightful and prescient it was way back in 1976. No discussion of modern media and business could ever be complete without some reference to that amazing movie...
posted by hincandenza at 9:11 PM on September 21, 2001


The problem is I can't watch Bill Maher.
posted by delmoi at 9:40 PM on September 21, 2001

But until that time we will live in a world dictated by the crazy people who write letters to their local television affiliates. Nice.

I think some mentioned being a party to this earlier in the thread..... (ducking)
posted by nwduffer at 9:56 PM on September 21, 2001


The problem is I can't watch Bill Maher.

I agree. I think that's what the first line I quoted was indicating.
posted by rushmc at 10:26 AM on September 22, 2001

I'll never forget this excerpt on how Bill describes the mentally handicapped. It's hard to take him seriously after something like that. But the show is mearly what's in the title, politically incorrect....and oddly, the stations are shocked when it actually lives up to it's name.
posted by samsara at 1:39 PM on September 22, 2001

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