Censorship for the deaf

I was at the gym tonight, where my only viewing options from 5:30 to 6 were the NBC Nightly News and the CBS Evening News. CBS was slightly more directly in front of me, so that’s who I went with.

One of the main stories was on terrorism. Katie Couric displayed a poll showing 66% of Americans believing a terrorist attack on the U.S. was likely. This led into Where America Stands: Terrorism (you can read the story online). Everything seemed to going pretty normally until reporter Lara Logan got to this part:

There is no simple solution to America’s security in the 21st century, but Brennan believes, it begins with decimating al Qaeda’s leadership.

“We’re going to continue to relentlessly pursue Osama Bin Laden and Zawahiri and all the others at the senior leadership ranks,” Brennan said. “We do need to decapitate that organization and we will.”

This administration has certainly been trying. It has conducted more Predator missile strikes (61) inside Pakistan under Obama than President Bush did (48) during his entire presidency.

As the closed-captioning transcriber got midway through that last sentence, he or she stopped suddenly. When the transcription resumed, instead of completing that sentence, the caption read “— OPINION —” and the live transcription didn’t resume until the subject had moved on. A verifiable fact — one which arguably makes Obama look “tougher” on terrorism than Bush — was stricken from the transcript and replaced with an “Opinion” tag.

I called the KMTV newsroom to ask where the closed captioning originates. I was told that the transcription comes with the national feed. So somebody out there is taking it upon themselves to screen information in the CBS Evening News broadcasts. (Oddly enough, this vigilant speed-typist’s alarm was not triggered by Mitch McConnell’s suggestion earlier in the broadcast that the country’s deficit and debt problems are the result of the policies of the past 12 months.)

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