NBC censored comedian Sam Kinison on "Saturday Night Live" by blanking out portions of its West Coast broadcast ("NBC Censors Comedian's 'Live' Jokes," by David T. Friendly, Oct. 21). The material deleted was a joke that referred to marijuana in a way not sufficiently negative to meet NBC censorship standards.
How dare a broadcaster using the public airwaves arrogate to itself the right to decide what views the public may hear? The issue of drug prohibition is a matter of public controversy and the public is entitled to hear from all sides whether the views are expressed by "serious" newscommentators or comedians. Yet NBC now imposes a party line and decides what views must be suppressed: "The only reference to drugs must be negative."
How do you change bad laws if they cannot be talked about on television?
If national broadcasters may indulge in prior censorship, please spare us any more cant about the existence of a free press.