CNN Censors Larry King Transcript

This is worth a reference and a mention. On Larry King Live this past weekend, Bill Maher outed Ken Melhman as a gay man. The Huffington Post has the full video posted here, but I’m not sure how long it will be there. CNN has altered the official transcripts of to remove Maher’s mentioning of Mehlman’s name, removing about 8-10 seconds of speech, both from Maher and King. John in DC has a post on Americablog with a cease and desist order from CNN ordering YouTube to remove a video of the Larry King exchange he had posted there.

I don’t have digital copies of the actual video here (though as I said its still available from Huffington Post at the time of this post), but I will repost the original transcript and the altered transcript, as reported by Huffington Post:

Original Version

Partial transcript of Bill Maher’s Live appearance on Larry King Live:

BM: A lot of the chiefs of staff, the people who really run the underpinnings of the Republican Party, are gay. I don’t want to mention names, but I will Friday night…

LK:You will Friday night?

BM: Well, there’s a couple of big people who I think everyone in Washington knows who run the Republican…

LK: You will name them?

BM: Well, I wouldn’t be the first. I’d get sued if I was the first. Ken Mehlman. Ok, there’s one I think people have talked about. I don’t think he’s denied it when he’s been, people have suggested, he doesn’t say…

LK: I never heard that. I’m walking around in a fog. I never…Ken Mehlman? I never heard that. But the question is…

BM: Maybe you don’t go to the same bathhouse I do, Larry.

Altered Version:

Partial transcript of Bill Maher’s re-aired appearance on Larry King Live:

BM: A lot of the chiefs of staff, the people who really run the underpinnings of the Republican Party, are gay. I don’t want to mention names, but I will Friday night…

LK:You will Friday night?

BM: Well, there’s a couple of big people who I think everyone in Washington knows who run the Republican…

LK: You will name them?

BM: Well, I wouldn’t be the first. I’d get sued if I was the first.

LKL: But the question is…

BM: Maybe you don’t go to the same bathhouse I do, Larry.

I’m not so big on forcibly outing gay people who’d rather stay in the closet, but this post is more about the interests of truth in reporting. Bill Maher made a public statement, and rather than suppressing that statement, it should stand and be dealt with on its face. Any act of censorship is an assault on everyone’s freedom of thought, because the very foundation of freedom of thought is the accuracy and completeness of information … when we can no longer assume a basic level of completeness, when certain things are expunged from the record seemingly at random, the freedom to form our own opinions is seriously impinged.

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3 Responses

  1. It’s sad that there’s this open-secret mentality about celebrities private lives. What if Melhman is gay? He can’t sue Maher or CNN because truth is the ultimate defense against defamation. Take this one step further. What if Anderson Cooper really is gay and Maher outed him? Again what’s the response? If it’s true he can’t sue. However it could seriously affect Cooper’s ability to do his job (mostly overseas where being gay in some countries is illegal).

  2. Well, in general I agree with the idea of private lives being private. But I also agree with Maher’s reasoning here … Melhman makes his private sexuality an issue by working for one of the leading opponents to gay causes. If Richard Dawkins were trying to hide his atheism so he could work for the Catholic Church, I would feel NO compunction ‘outing’ him as an atheist because by working for an organization directly opposed to the atheist agenda, he would be publicly damaging the cause he privately supports.

    Ken Mehlman is free to be a hypocrite on his own time … in his private life, he is free to support policy against gays while hiding his own gay secret. Were he a clerk at the local video store, or a middle manager and “Compuware USA” I wouldn’t give a crap about who he slept with or who he told about it. But he’s not a video store clerk or a middle manager … he was, until this week, the RNC chairman, and as such he has a responsibility to full disclosure on his personal position on issues under discussion. If the RNC wants to drop gay rights as an issue for them, then I’d support Mehlman’s right to privacy … as long as they speak on gay rights issues, and Mehlman holds the job of chairman, he has no privacy on this issue.

  3. […] comments related to Ron Paul.  This isn’t the first time they’ve indulged in some censorship.  While some of it ranges from the tepid but expected restriction of naughty words, some of their […]

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