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I must stick up for Jack Bauer and "24," the hit FOX show that has had America on the edge of its seat for a few years now.

This week in the season launch our hero Jack failed and the terrorists managed to set off a nuke bomb. A CNN piece had someone wondering if the episode was, in fact, a neocon sex fantasy. And MSNBC calls Jack and his suspense program right-wing propaganda.

So what has happened to NBC that it doesn't worry about terrorism anymore?

It's one thing to make the argument — as MSNBC does — that George Bush has carried the 9/11 reaction too far, that we didn't need to go to war against Saddam. But it's quite another thing for NBC to argue that we have nothing to worry about at all, and the idea of a nuke attack by terrorists against the U.S. is a subject for ridicule.

"24" is not a product of anybody's news department. It is not true to real life. It may be lifelike, and it obviously tries to use the backdrop of current events to conjure up suspense and drama and tragedy. That's what happens in entertainment. But I have to wonder if the people who run NBC are really not worried about terrorism at all, in fact so much that they won't allow portrayals of terrorism on their network.

If NBC believes that we live in a 9/10 world — a world in which terrorism is simply a fiction created by an evil president who wants to militarize the planet — then NBC is doing a disservice to the public. Any number of statements from overseas enemies of the United States back up the notion that we are a target for terrorism on a massive scale, and there is not a scintilla of evidence that it is all made up, or fiction, or the kind of stuff NBC should ignore or diminish in importance.

The other thing that makes NBC's reaction laughable is the notion that entertainment shouldn't involve a political point of view. This is the network that made millions with Aaron Sorkin's left-wing "West Wing" for years pushing a naked liberal agenda. Didn't bother NBC then, but the minute a conservative worries about the problem of terrorism the new rule emerges: No politics in entertainment shows.

For NBC, liberal politics are fine and get a free pass. Conservative politics, however, are off limits.

That's My Word.

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