'It would be deeply troubling if a partisan broadcaster could suppress information on the public airwaves'...
By Brad Friedman on 2/27/2008, 2:47pm PT  

As you'll recall, a local Alabama affiliate blacked out last Sunday's 60 Minutes report on the railroading of former AL Gov. Don Siegelman, who still sits in jail today (even if The BRAD BLOG has proof that Karl Rove, who evidence suggests helped put him there, now wants him "Free"!) The only segment of the show that didn't make it to the AL viewers, when 60 Minutes originally aired Sunday, was the Siegelman segment. The local station then lied about the reasons for the blackout, initially claiming a "transmission problem" from CBS. The network has denied it, and the local station has recanted that explanation and come up with something equally thin. (We covered it all in detail, along with the full video of the 60M report, back here.)

The following interesting point comes from a New York Times editorial today covering the boondoggle...

In 1955, when WLBT-TV, the NBC affiliate in Jackson, Miss., did not want to run a network report about racial desegregation, it famously hung up the sign: “Sorry, Cable Trouble.” Audiences in northern Alabama might have suspected the same tactics when WHNT-TV, the CBS affiliate, went dark Sunday evening during a “60 minutes” segment that strongly suggested that Don Siegelman, Alabama’s former Democratic governor, was wrongly convicted of corruption last year.
...
WHNT is owned by Oak Hill Capital Partners, a private equity firm whose lead investor is one of the Bass brothers of Texas. The brothers are former business partners of George W. Bush and generous contributors to Republican causes.

In 1969, the F.C.C. revoked the license of WLBT in Jackson after the commission established a systematic effort by the broadcaster to suppress information about the civil rights movement. Today, broadcast rules have changed, giving stations more leeway to decide what to air. Dropping a single report is unlikely to set the regulators in motion. Still, it would be deeply troubling if a partisan broadcaster could suppress information on the public airwaves and hide behind a technical fig leaf.

Yeah, imagine if they "could" do that. Wouldn't that be terrible? Luckily, we'd never see anything like that in America in 2008.