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I'm Being Followed By A TSA Shadow - Broadcasting & Cable

I'm Being Followed By A TSA Shadow

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Once again, life is imitating the art of Boston Legal.

That's the wonderful ABC drama–frightful partisanship there–that is willing to tackle tough policial and social issues, doing more editorializing in its scripted pages than most broadcast news operations do even without a fairness doctrine. And, speaking of the fairness doctrine, if Dennis Kucinich gets his wish and the Democrats succeed in reimposing the fairness doctrine on broadcasters, ABC might have to come up with a new drama that supports curbing civil liberties in the name of national security.

In this case, the show's poliical prescience dealt with Denny Crane's problems with the no-fly list, that's the one that is supposed to keep hijackers off planes.

Denny, whose name has inadvertently gotten on the list because it is the same as a suspected terrorist, sues the government over the difficulties in extricating himself from said list. Much Homeland Security/Transportation Security Administration (TSA) mocking, or at least chiding, ensues, including a courtroom full of grounded Denny Cranes–from kids to seniors–standing up to illustrate the problems with the screening system.

Only days later came the real AP story that the Bush administration is checking the accuracy of the list, given complaints mirroring those of Denny.

My favorite, and one right in the old wheelhouse of communications–which could be manned by "Captain Tug" for those who still remember Metromedia in Washington–were the problems of Ted Stevens, vice chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, relayed in a hearing this week on the no-fly list, which is being cut in half.

Apparently, Stevens wife has been stopped at airports, though it wasn't clear whether she was prevented from flying, because her first name is Catherine, shortened to Cat.

You may recall that Yusaf Islam, the former Cat Stevens, is on the no-fly list.

Metro over to Capitol Hill: $1.35; Lunch out of a vending machine: $2.50; Having been there to see Stevens weigh in on his wife's vicissitudes–which sadly I wasn't: Priceless.

By John Eggerton

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