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Two Texas Stations Refuse to Run Hitler Miniseries

CBS affiliates will not show the movie, citing fears it might humanize the Nazi leader.

May 17, 2003|Dana Calvo | Special to The Times

HOUSTON — Two CBS affiliates in Texas are refusing to broadcast in prime time "Hitler: The Rise of Evil," a two-part network movie set to begin Sunday night, citing concerns that some young viewers might be drawn into the Nazi leader's message of hate.

"I felt that the humanization of Adolf Hitler was not appropriate," said Dale Remy, general manager of KZTV in Corpus Christi and KVTV in Laredo. "I worry about those kids on the fringe finding something in this persona to identify with and his philosophy. I would find that an untenable situation."

CBS has more than 210 affiliates across the country, but only the two Texas stations have rejected the miniseries, which concludes Tuesday, a network spokesman said.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate crimes and chronicles organizations promoting violence, there are no hate group chapters in Laredo or Corpus Christi.

It's not the first time an affiliate has refused to broadcast network fare. The management of the CBS affiliate in Providence, R.I., WPRI-TV, rejected a recent episode of "CSI: Miami" in which a nightclub caught fire, saying it would have been insensitive after a local nightclub fire that killed 100.

"The affiliate has the right to decide what to broadcast in their local market," said CBS spokesman Chris Ender.

The Hitler miniseries will be available to viewers in Corpus Christi via the local affiliate of UPN, also owned by CBS' parent, Viacom Inc. Though he called it unlikely, Remy said he had not ruled out airing the miniseries late at night.

Remy said the film was brought to his attention last year by Jewish leaders who were initially upset about the possible humanization of Hitler. The Anti-Defamation League since praised the film. Remy said he also was contacted by concerned viewers. He said he asked the network for a preview copy but was provided only a promotional clip.

"If it were a documentary or handled in an educational context that would be another story," he said.

The stations will air "Superman II" and "Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear" instead.

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