Everybody from Howard Kurtz to the Daily Kos is complaining that Fox censored Sally Field's Emmy speech Sunday night to suppress her anti-war views. Great conspiracy theory, but the fact is that the Fox censors didn't cut away from the speech until she used the word "goddamn." They did exactly the same thing earlier in the evening when Ray Romano used the F word and when Katherine Heigl mouthed an obscenity that I still haven't figured out. At a time when the FCC is more aggressive levying large fines for televised obscenity, yet still murky about defining just what that is, Fox was concerned not with politics but pocketbooks.
Could the network have just bleeped the words instead of cutting away altogether? Yes, and it should have -- as I wrote in my Sunday story, the Fox censors were clumsy. But they were just as clumsy at handling Romano and Heigl as they were with Field.
I'm also more than a little bored by the twin assumptions that Rupert Murdoch is personally involved every time somebody at one of his businesses sneezes, and that his business empire is a fascist monolith relentlessly pursuing right-wing political goals. Is The Simpsons a right-wing show? What's the right-wing purpose in the self-circumcisions and teenage three-ways on FX's Nip/Tuck? (And why has the Parents Television Council, which consistently labels Nip/Tuck the worst show on TV, not gotten the message?) What about The Day After Tomorrow, Fox's paranoid 2004 global-warming movie?
Murdoch's conservatism is incidental to his fundamental goal in life, which is to make ungodly amounts of money. He doesn't care that Sally Field denounced the war, only that she might have cost him some loot. If there really is a culprit here, it's not Murdoch but the FCC.
And for those who reallllly wanted to see it, here's her speech without any bleeps.