Monday, May 07, 2007


Ken Burns meets the most ethical Congress in history
Latino activists object that the 14-hour series - which traces the war's impact on four separate U.S. cities - contained no stories about Hispanic-Americans. They demanded that Burns - creator of such acclaimed documentaries as "The Civil War," "Baseball" and "Jazz" - re-edit the programs to include a Latino presence.

When PBS and Burns offered to run supplementary material about Latinos and Native Americans, rather than re-edit the work, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus rejected the offer - with Rep. Joe Baca (D-Calif.), the chairman, calling it "a knife in [our] heart."

The caucus then passed a resolution demanding that the film be re-edited; its members also threatened PBS with a funding cut and threatened to pressure the series' corporate sponsors.

PBS still insists the series will air without re-editing. But the network or Burns may have caved in: Filmmaker Victor Galan, who was hired to shoot added material, insisted to the newspaper Conexion that his footage "will be incorporated into the existing series," not presented separately.

Needless to say, there's pretty rank hypocrisy here in congressional liberals - who two years ago charged that Republican appointees were politically slanting PBS programming - now demanding a slant of their own.

Yet not a single cry of "censorship" or "chilling effect" is to be heard.

The last 12 years did seem funny. Finally, Congress is back to normal.

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