Censorship

“You are either for us or against us.”

What happens when media is controlled by just a few entities? What happens when the people in government are vindictive towards those who are disloyal? Corporate censorship happens.

Michael Moore has a new documentary, “Fahrenheit, 911”. The film’s $6 miilion cost was financed primarily by Miramax and Miramax was slated to distribute the film in the U.S.. But there is a catch. Disney owns Miramax and Disney has told Miramax that it can’t ditribute the movie. “Fahrenheit 911” deals with “financial connections between the Bush family and its associates and prominent Saudi Arabian families that go back three decades”. Michael Eisner is reportedly fearful that distribution of an “anti-BushCo” film will cause Disney to lose tax incentives that Disney gets in Florida.

That’s censorship folks. That is government censorship. In a free country people are supposed to be able to voice opinions against the government. That’s called dissent. Good democratic government does not operate in a vacuum. To their credit, the people at Miramax are opposing Disney, but what will happen remains unclear.

The Walt Disney Company is blocking its Miramax division from distributing a new documentary by Michael Moore that harshly criticizes President Bush, executives at both Disney and Miramax said Tuesday.

The film, “Fahrenheit 911,” links Mr. Bush and prominent Saudis — including the family of Osama bin Laden — and criticizes Mr. Bush’s actions before and after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Disney, which bought Miramax more than a decade ago, has a contractual agreement with the Miramax principals, Bob and Harvey Weinstein, allowing it to prevent the company from distributing films under certain circumstances, like an excessive budget or an NC-17 rating.

Executives at Miramax, who became principal investors in Mr. Moore’s project last spring, do not believe that this is one of those cases, people involved in the production of the film said. If a compromise is not reached, these people said, the matter could go to mediation, though neither side is said to want to travel that route.

Disney came under heavy criticism from conservatives last May after the disclosure that Miramax had agreed to finance the film when Icon Productions, Mel Gibson’s company, backed out.

Mr. Moore’s agent, Ari Emanuel, said Michael D. Eisner, Disney’s chief executive, asked him last spring to pull out of the deal with Miramax. Mr. Emanuel said Mr. Eisner expressed particular concern that it would endanger tax breaks Disney receives for its theme park, hotels and other ventures in Florida, where Mr. Bush’s brother, Jeb, is governor.

“Michael Eisner asked me not to sell this movie to Harvey Weinstein; that doesn’t mean I listened to him,” Mr. Emanuel said. “He definitely indicated there were tax incentives he was getting for the Disney corporation and that’s why he didn’t want me to sell it to Miramax. He didn’t want a Disney company involved.”
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“It’s not in the interest of any major corporation to be dragged into a highly charged partisan political battle,”
NYTimes

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