Delayed reaction

WGA rebuts congressman's 'Law' comments

The Writers Guild is taking exception to Rep. Tom DeLay’s recent broadsides against NBC’s “Law & Order,” calling the House majority leader’s comments nothing more than “a call for censorship.”

DeLay reacted angrily to last week’s episode of “L&O: Criminal Intent,” in which a character looking into the murder of two New York judges muses she “should put out an APB for somebody in a Tom DeLay T-shirt” (Daily Variety, May 27).

The congressman wrote an angry letter to NBC U TV Group topper Jeff Zucker attacking the net’s “brazen lack of judgment,” dubbing it “a failure of stewardship of our public airwaves and as much evidence as anyone needs for the embarrassing state of the mainstream media’s credibility.”

In a joint statement issued Thursday, the west and east coast branches of the WGA responded to DeLay’s remarks “shouldn’t be dismissed as taking exception to being the butt of a joke.”

“His deliberate, ominous words … should be understood for what they are: a call of censorship,” the WGA statement read.

“The First Amendment allows DeLay to speak out in his own way. That same Amendment allows the writers of ‘Law & Order’ to write the series their own way, regardless of the congressman’s views on the show,” the WGA statement continued. “Though DeLay is obviously entitled to his opinions, neither he, nor any other governmental official, should ever be allowed to inhibit writers from freely expressing themselves.”

NBC and Wolf both issued statements last week essentially dismissing DeLay’s complaint, but the congressman backer’s aren’t letting the issue die.

A conservative group calling itself the Free Enterprise Fund organized a Capitol Hill PR stunt Thursday by passing out T-shirts that read, “Who’s Afraid of Dick Wolf.” Group’s efforts managed to get airtime on CNN.

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