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Stargate SG-1 on a Free Press

As many of you know, Nomi and I have been watching borrowed DVDs of the TV show Stargate SG-1 in order to catch up with what we've missed. We're in the middle of season seven now, and we just watched the two-part episode "Heroes," in which a documentary filmmaker visits Stargate Command to make a historical record for the future.

The character, Bregman, is played by the actor Saul Rubinek. I've seen Rubinek in a few guest-starring spots, usually playing very sleazy characters (quite well, I should note). Bergman was set up to come off as a sleazy person at the start of the episode, but as the story unfolded, it became clear that he really believed in the ideals behind a free press. The second part of the story opens with Bergman editing his interviews, clearly intent on staying true to the material but also wanting to make sure the people he has interviewed are portrayed in the best light.

In the middle of the second hour, as soldiers return from a major battle on another world, Bregman gets upset at his military handlers. They wouldn't let him accompany the soldiers, and they won't let him film their return. The military cameraman turns off the camera even though Bregman told him to keep filming, because one of the military handlers ordered the cameraman to turn the camera off. And Bregman proceeds to chastise his handlers, with words that I'm sure resonated very strongly when this episode was first broadcast in 2004, and still carry meaning today:


Why is that camera off? You don't know what you're doing here...maybe I know what I'm doing here! These people are risking their lives for us! I want to see what they're going through even if they don't want us to and I want other people to see it. What do you think they're doing out there...protecting and defending secrecy? That's the world of Mao, the world of Stalin, the world of secret police, secret trials...secret...secret deaths. You force the press into the cold and all you will get is lies and innuendo! And nothing, nothing is worse for a free society than a press that is in service to the...to the military and the politicians! Nothing! You turn that camera off when I tell you to turn it off! You think I give a damn what you think about me? You serve the people? So do I!

(words by Robert C. Cooper)

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