Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Trouble in the Heart of Dixie

Debate rages through the ‘land of the free’ as a new documentary film examines the aftermath of one anti-Bush comment by country singer Natalie Maines.

She is one of the members of The Dixie Chicks, the trio that sparked controversy in 2003 when Natalie remarked during a London gig that she was ashamed that President Bush was from her home state of Texas.

The pro-Bush backlash looked set to damage their career, especially in the Republican south where radio stations banned them from playlists and invited the public to dump their Dixie Chicks CDs in garbage cans.

Now the movie, Shut Up And Sing, looks set to add further fuel to the fire with NBC and the CW refusing to broadcast the trailer ad. At this moment, ABC and Fox haven’t decided either way while CBS has agreed to run the ad.

This information comes courtesy of the film’s distributors, Weinstein prompting an NBC spokesperson to accuse them of turning it into a news story to drum up publicity. PR stunt or not, NBC’s policy is quoted by USA Today as ‘not to accept ads on issues of public controversy — like abortion or the war’.

The premiere of the movie in New York and Los Angeles coincides with the run-up to the mid-term elections in which falling support for US involvement in Iraq is proving a headache for the Republicans.

Reaction by radio stations and TV networks to the Dixie Chick’s ‘unpatriotic’ stance illustrates how some Western media organisations fall back on the ‘market’ as the mechanism that controls information in the public domain. The excuse for banning their music is that it would be commercial suicide to broadcast it in the light of public opinion. Perhaps, with Bush’s popularity now apparently slipping, this would be a good time to air their songs and plug their movie…?

Discussion about the movie, plus clips and the trailer, can be seen on this MySpace site.

Filed under:
Dixie Chicks   President Bush   Republican Party   music promotion   NBC

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