It's often said that unpopular speech is the type that needs to be defended, since popular speech will rarely face a meaningful threat. Speech that is disagreeable and persuasive will probably seem less appealing than speech that is disagreeable but unlikely to sway anyone to its cause.
It is telling, then, that the New York Times and Washington Post editorial pages vociferously opposed last year's "Citizens United" Supreme Court ruling, but defended the court's decision on Wednesday to preserve the right of the Westboro Baptist Church to protest the funerals of those who die defending that right.
Apparently, someone who broke his vows and trashed his former church is a worthy guest, in CNN's eyes, for a discussion on the Supreme Court, as on Thursday's Newsroom, anchor Don Lemon turned to "Padre Alberto" Cutie for his take on the Court's recent decision in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church. Cutie took issue with the ruling: "I don't think the First Amendment should protect hatred in the public forum, and I think that's where the law makes its biggest mistake....Nobody has the right in the 21st century to propagate hate."
Lemon brought on the Episcopalian pastor, along with CNN senior legal analyst Jeff Toobin and John Ellsworth of Military Families United, for a panel discussion segment 51 minutes into the 2 pm Eastern hour. After asking Ellsworth for his response to the Supreme Court ruling, the anchor raised Westboro's extreme beliefs with Cutie: "So Father, listen, do you consider Westboro- most people don't consider it a legitimate church, okay? But is this- aren't they saying the same thing that's reinforced by religion that's being preached from the pulpit in many churches on Sunday?"
CNN's Carol Costello re-aired a biased report she did in 2009 about liberal efforts to push localism to limit the influence of conservative talk radio. During the report, Costello omitted the left-of-center source of a statistic she used, that 91% of talk radio is apparently conservative. She also tilted towards localism by playing three sound bites in favor of the proposal, versus two against it.
The CNN anchor introduced her report, which originally aired on the October 21, 2009 edition of American Morning, by noting that "House Speaker John Boehner told the National Religious Broadcasters Convention he and other Republicans are working on a bill that ensures the Fairness Doctrine will not be revived, ever. Boehner says it's important because the Fairness Doctrine silences ideas and voices."
Costello then gave only two brief indications that her report was over a year old. She stated that "The controversy over the Fairness Doctrine, or as some like to call it, localism, boiled over a few years ago as progressives fought for what they call a fighting chance to have their voices heard." Actually, the Fairness Doctrine and localism are two separate issues, something she actually acknowledged during her original introduction to the report: "It’s unlikely the Fairness Doctrine will return, but there is something else many liberal talkers are fighting for: localism." In addition to this, a graphic flashed on the screen for only seven seconds: "Original Airdate 2009" (see below).
A Texas group put up a pro-life billboard with a provocative message showing a black girl under the words “The most dangerous place for an African American is in the womb.” The billboard was taken down a week later after pressure was applied by influential city officials.
Haberman hit out at the city’s phony facade of tolerance.
New York, never at a loss for self-congratulatory words, regards itself as the most tolerant of cities, a place where one may express any thought freely. It is true. In New York, one may articulate any idea whatsoever -- as long as that idea parallels popular opinion.
Stray too far from generally accepted wisdom, though, and you are asking for trouble.
On Thursday, National Public Radio's Morning Edition decided to revisit the censorship controversy over the National Portrait Gallery removing a video image of ants crawling on a crucifix in an ideological exhibit promoting homosexuality. (The show closes Sunday.) The irony or the outrage in this story is that the "villains" of this piece -- conservative Christians and Republican politicians -- were not allowed to speak. NPR reporter Neda Ulaby quoted only the two left-wing curators of the exhibit, a left-wing critic for the Village Voice, and a left-wing man protesting the apparently ruined exhibit.
The most outrageous part was this soundbite of co-curator Jonathan Katz: "It's no longer the same game that it was 15, 20 years ago, where you simply had to point out the homo and yell 'Kill it!'And the mob attacked. Now, you have to clothe your homophobia in something else."
A story this biased makes it worth pointing out that Neda Ulaby is a lesbian journalist and activist who found this NPR job through the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. The Advocate celebrated a list of openly gay people with cool careers and explained:
Al Sharpton appeared on MSNBC's "The Ed Show" Monday night to once again demand that the federal government censor Rush Limbaugh. As he always does, Sharpton couched his clear political agenda in the language of racial righteousness. He cited Rush Limbaugh's satirical mocking of Chinese president Hu Jintao as evidence of "why we must have standards" for radio and television broadcasters.
Of course Sharpton isn't actually concerned about "civility" or "standards" for broadcasters. But this is a golden opportunity for him to advance his "silence Rush Limbaugh" campaign (video below the fold).
ABC News prominently featured the anti-American television network Al Jazeera on "This Week" Sunday.
Not only was the network's Washington bureau chief afforded a good amount of time during the Roundtable segment to sing Al Jazeera's praises, but as the show neared its conclusion, Sam Donaldson actually thanked the organization (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Anyone who’s read Big Hollywood for any period of time knows I’m no Jon Stewart fan. On his best days, I find him smug and disingenuous. “But he attacks the Left!”, my friends tell me. Yeah, when they’re not liberal enough or like the ACLU taking a righteous case every now and again, as cover so people will say, “But he attacks the Left!” Sorry, no sale here, and Stewart’s increasingly strange obsession with controlling the way we speak only confirms that decision.
Stewart’s unnatural preoccupation with regulating speech, especially political speech, is not only borderline un-American, but you can tell he loses sleep over the frustration he feels when people don’t speak the way he thinks they should. The best example of this occurred just a few months ago at his anti-Beck “Rally to Restore Sanity.” In order to point his sanctimonious finger at the rest of us and wag it like the Church Lady so he could tell everyone else how they should and should not conduct themselves, he puts on this HUGE rally in DC. I’m sorry, but this is not normal behavior.
Despite the complete and thorough debunking of the media’s attempt to link common political discourse with the actions of a deranged lunatic in Tucson, one Congresswoman is taking politically correct rhetoric to ridiculous lows (h/t Michelle Malkin).
Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) took to the Huffington Post to voice her opinion on the Gabrielle Giffords assassination attempt. She starts harmlessly enough admitting that, “We don’t know what prompted the shooter … to kill innocent people.” Even though we don’t know the motivation, Pingree says, it’s important “that we do everything we can to prevent it from happening again.”
Then, echoing the prevailing liberal sentiment, she offers the preventative solution – cranking down the rhetoric. The first step?
On Dec. 14, 2010, the Culture and Media Institute reported that the Society for Professional Journalists (SPJ)’s Diversity Committee announced a year-long campaign to “educate journalists about the hurtfulness of phrases like ‘illegal immigrant,’ which is the term currently preferred by the influential AP Stylebook.”
After the Daily Caller picked up the story, the Fox News Channel followed suit. On Jan. 3, “Fox & Friends’” host Steve Doocy interviewed Leo Laurence, a member of SPJ’s Diversity Committee, who couched the society’s advocacy as a constitutional issue.
In movies like "Fahrenheit 451" and "1984," neighbors inform the police about serious crimes against the State like subversion and book possession. In real America, people call 911 because McDonald’s has run out of McNuggets.
Liberal newspapers may claim that taxpayer-funded art galleries should take “public sensitivities” into account, but in reality, they don’t want members of Congress actually representing the insulted public by speaking out against anti-Christian exhibits.
Friday’s Washington Post led their editorial page with the headline “The censors arrive: Do Republicans really want to ride into power with a burst of small-minded intolerance?” That’s funny: Christians might find the “small-minded intolerance” coming from artists who think that modern-day Christianity is an oppressive, Jesus-betraying force – as represented by ants crawling all over Jesus on a crucifix. Here’s the key passage:
Public sensibilities must be taken into account when taxpayer funds are in play, but the use of public dollars does not give lawmakers the right to micromanage or censor displays. Nor should the occasional dust-up be justification for threatened retribution against these valuable national assets. We hope Mr. Cantor's threats prompt many additional Washingtonians to visit the exhibit and judge for themselves.
The curator elites at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery were happily abusing the trust of the American taxpayer, with radical gay activists pushing a gay agenda, replete with the religiously bigoted, sadomasochistic and homoerotic fare, all under the auspices of “art.” Then something happened. The public complained. Now these radicals are shocked – shocked! – that the “censors” are out to destroy their “artistic freedom.”
It’s like a bad rendition of “Groundhog Day.” How many times must we relive this foolishness?
The sponsors tell us that “Hide/Seek” is “the first major exhibition to examine the influence of gay and lesbian artists in creating modern American portraiture," and how these gay and lesbian artists have made “essential contributions to both the art of portraiture and to the creation of modern American culture."
But that isn’t enough. Theirs is a political message as part of a political agenda. To quote from their program, they want to strike a blow for “the struggle for justice, so that people and groups can claim their full inheritance in America’s promise of equality, inclusion, and social dignity.”
Washington Post art critic Blake Gopnik is hopping mad that the National Portrait Gallery pulled a video from its "Hide/Seek" exhibit on homosexual imagery, insisting: "Now the NPG, and the Smithsonian Institution it is part of, look set to come off as cowards." Gopnik insisted the ant-covered Jesus in the video was inconsequential, and that if he played censor, he'd keep the insect-covered Christ and scrap the Norman Rockwell:
Norman Rockwell would get the boot, too, if I believed in pulling everything that I'm offended by: I can't stand the view of America that he presents, which I feel insults a huge number of us non-mainstream folks. But I didn't call for the Smithsonian American Art Museum to pull the Rockwell show that runs through Jan. 2, just down the hall from "Hide/Seek." Rockwell and his admirers got to have their say, and his detractors, including me, got to rant about how much they hated his art. Censorship would have prevented that discussion, and that's why we don't allow it.
An audio clip from about two months ago has been uncovered by The Blaze which clearly demonstrates that, even with all of his opining and public speaking skills, there is a reason that Howard Dean’s most notable quote will always remain a timelessly incoherent scream. Despite being a one-word definition of ignorance, Dean doesn’t mind discussing how to control the media in an effort to educate what he considers to be the ignorant masses – Americans.
What would he do about the media?
“I would bring back the Fairness Doctrine so you couldn’t have a spectacle of a Fox Flooze, which just makes stuff up and is a propaganda outlet. You would actually have to have some sanctioned human beings talking to the other side. And MSNBC would have to do the same. They would have to have some conservatives on there too. I think that’s much better for the country.”
Why does he want the government to control media?
“Americans don’t know what’s going on and therefore the media can have their way with them intellectually.”
If Dean is so concerned about propaganda outlets making stuff up, then perhaps he should be fact-checking his own statements. Such as…
Media Research Center Vice President of Business and Culture Dan Gainor appeared on Fox Business Channel’s ‘Varney & Co’ Nov. 19 to discuss Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s stated wish to shut down both Fox News and MSNBC.
The West Virginia Democrat recently said, “There’s a little bug inside of me which wants to get the FCC to say to Fox and to MSNBC: ‘Out. Off. End. Goodbye.’ It would be a big favor to political discourse.”
On Wednesday’s Countdown show, Keith Olbermann featured a "Worst Person" segment for the first time since indefinitely suspending it over two weeks ago as the MSNBC host decided to go after Pamela Geller, whom he called a "buffoon"; Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller, who committed the sin of lumping MSNBC in with FNC while criticizing cable news; and frequent target FNC’s Roger Ailes.
In awarding the first place dishonor to Geller, he linked her opposition to the Ground Zero Mosque the bombing of a mosque in Jacksonville, Florida. Olbermann: "But our winner, Pam Geller. If anybody committed the original sin of stirring up the blind, stupid anger that is religious hatred in this country, it’s this buffoon."
He soon added: "Well, there is a problem with the two minutes hate:You may lose control of it, and it may come back to attack you. It spread from a proposed Islamic center in New York to an actual mosque bombing in Jacksonville to protests in Tennessee to this moronic anti-Sharia law law in Oklahoma and now Phoenix."
MSNBC suspended Keith Olbermann indefinitely … after news broke that he had given the maximum allowable contribution to three Democrats without disclosing it to his employers.
With Olbermann out, MSNBC needed a fill-in, so in steps Chris Hayes, editor of the liberal magazine, The Nation. MSNBC pegged Hayes to fill in for the suspended Countdown host on Friday. His gig was short-lived however.
Several hours after the announcement, Hayes had been dropped. (h/t Weasel Zippers)
For a series of donations to Democratic campaigns in recent years.
Perhaps there is a bit of witchcraft to be found amongst the Christine O’Donnell camp after all. Problem is, it appears to have generated from an independent television station in Delaware, who somehow managed to make the Republican Senate candidate’s 30-minute television advertisement disappear.
The Washington Post reports that O’Donnell, running short on time to have her ad aired on networks in the Philadelphia and Delaware markets, turned to public television as an outlet. She urged supporters at a Tea Party Express rally to tune in to her ad on Sunday night. Just prior to the airing, O’Donnell excitedly tweeted to her followers, “1 minute until the premiere of our 30 minute feature. Tune in to meet all the heartwarming people I've met on the campaign trail. Ch. 28.”
But alas, it was not to be.
On Monday, the O’Donnell camp issued a press release stating the ad would appear again that morning. It did not.
Tim Qualls, Executive Producer at Delaware Channel 28, claims that the ad did not air because O’Donnell’s campaign failed to deliver the video by an agreed upon deadline. But at least one source at the station claimed that they simply “forgot to air it.”
Liberals are never so alive as when they’re speaking out against anachronistic straw men. That’s why, in their estimation, the Tea Parties are racist lynch mobs and conservatives who wonder about President Obama’s ties to anti-American radicals are sinister McCarthyites.
So it’s not surprising that The Huffington Post is making a big deal of “Banned Books Week.” The house organ for the self-important Hollywood left – you know, all those “artists” constantly threatened by censorship – featured a string of articles on various aspects of the banned book topic. The week, according to contributor Jonathon Kim, “celebrates the wonderful freedom of being able to read whatever one likes, and reminding us that it's a freedom that must be fought for constantly.”Kim’s article had to do with a new movie about the 1950s obscenity trial of beat poet Allen Ginsburg’s work, “Howl.” (To their sorrow, an awful lot of English majors know first-hand that Ginsburg won.) Elsewhere, HuffPo linked to a New York Times article that suggested “Ten Ways to Celebrate Banned Books Week.” These are for readers to do “with your students, your children and anyone who believes in having ‘the freedom to read.’”Readers can adopt a “challenged” book (one that parents or civic groups have demanded be removed from school or public libraries). They can “create a map of challenges to demonstrate that book bans and challenges are not isolated phenomena, even in the United States.” (In other words, even parents who don’t live in jerkwater conservative areas care what their kids read.)
There is a conservative student group at our sacred campus club rush. Remove them immediately!
Such was the attitude of Palm Beach State College administrator Olivia Ford-Morris at the sight of a Young Americans for Freedom table. You can see and hear the extreme urgency in the attitude and voice of Ms Ford-Morris accompanied by campus security guards in this video as she demands the students at the YAF table "Pull it up!" Although Ford-Morris claimed she didn't remember receiving either an e-mail or a phone call from YAF about getting a table for club rush, evidence is now contradicting that claim (below the fold).
So this is obviously a great story of campus censorship that the Palm Beach Post would love to cover since it happened locally? Wrong. The only comment from the Palm Beach Post on this incident is the sound of crickets chirping. To get information on what happened at Palm Beach State College you would need to check sites on the blogosphere such as Orlando Political Press:
(Lake Worth, FL) On Tuesday September 7, 2010 at around 11:00am one Palm Beach State College (PBSC) student and two Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) members, state chairman Daniel P. Diaz and state vice chairman Eddie Shaffer, were shut down and had campus police called on them after tabling and recruiting during club rush at the College. The PBSC student, Christina Beattie, had received prior permission from college administrator Olivia Ford-Morris to promote her organization on campus via telephone and email communication.
Adopting language and tactics more typical of tyrants, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius yesterday sent a public letter to the head of a health insurance industry group demanding that carriers stop "falsely blaming premium increases for 2011 on the patient protections in the Affordable Care Act," and that "that there will be zero tolerance for this type of misinformation and unjustified rate increases."
She reinforced her short-term threat with a longer-term one:
We will also keep track of insurers with a record of unjustified rate increases: those plans may be excluded from health insurance Exchanges in 2014. Simply stated, we will not stand idly by as insurers blame their premium hikes and increased profits on the requirement that they provide consumers with basic protections.
When Sebelius threatens exclusion from the "Exchanges," she is really saying: "Shut up and eat your costs, or you'll be out of business in a few years."
Over at stopnetregulation.org, Seton Motley reports that if the Democrats can't ban books, they'll try to ban book promotion. Democrats are furious that the conservative Threshhold imprint of Simon & Schuster (a corporate cousin of CBS) published a book by three House Republicans titled "Young Guns," and included a promotional video:
That was too much free speech for the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), which lawyered up and sent the publishing house an ominous letter intimating it may be in violation of several campaign finance laws - claiming the video was an in-kind contribution to Republicans. This despite the fact that...
Corporations are permitted to make independent expenditures with no coordination with candidates...
Or the simple possibility that Simon & Schuster has printed tens of thousands of copies and would now like to, you know, sell them.
Hugh Hefner, America's most celebrated and legendary pornographer, has less and less reason to celebrate. His Playboy magazine empire is crumbling — he may even be bought out by competitors — and his prototypical leering pose with girls young enough to be his great-granddaughters is now just plain creepy. His 2009 Christmas card featured 83-year-old Hefner standing between two 20-year-old twins who are his newest live-in girlfriends. Each was wearing a pink tank top with "Hef" painted on it in white. Hefner's women are forever the plastic toys under his tree.
Into this sad picture comes documentary filmmaker Brigitte Berman with a gushy new two-hour infomercial titled "Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel." How gushy is it? Washington Post critic Michael O'Sullivan found "the Hugh Hefner in this movie is Thomas Paine, Martin Luther King Jr., Mohandas Gandhi and William Kunstler all rolled into one."
In fact, Berman is so in love with her subject's cultural and political influence, she told one interviewer that when the news came out that Martin Luther King Jr. had cheated on his wife, Coretta, "that never affected 'I have a dream,' so I found it really curious" that Hefner couldn't be seen more as a civil rights hero and less as a seedy porn king.
It seems that not even the truth can possibly overturn the narrative that President Obama and the Democrats in Congress have brought transparency to Washington.
Last Wednesday I wrote about how the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory bill Obama signed into law last month contains a provision exempting the Securities and Exchange Commission from Freedom of Information Act requests. Such an exemption would surely have been grounds for a media outcry during the Bush administration, yet apart from The Wall Street Journal and CNN, only blogs have been following the developments. The latter opted simply to parrot the administration's claims without challenge.
Other media ouetlets, such as National Public Radio and MSNBC, completely ignored the controversy, in stark contrast to their extensive coverage of the Bush administration's attempts to curtail the scope of the Freedom of Information Act. NPR's Don Gonyea said "When conflicts arise over what should or should not be open, the administration does not hesitate to invoke the memory of 9/11. And while it's true that 9/11 changed the security landscape, it's also true that the administration was tightening the control of information much earlier . . ."
Should there be a "gatekeeper" regulating internet bloggers? In the aftermath of the Shirley Sherrod incident, that's what CNN promoted on July 23.
Anchors Kyra Phillips and John Roberts discussed the "mixed blessing of the internet," and agreed that there should be a crackdown on anonymous bloggers who disparage others on the internet.
"There are so many great things that the internet does and has to offer, but at the same time, Kyra, as you know, there is this dark side," Roberts said. "Imagine what would have happened if we hadn't taken a look at what happened with Shirley Sherrod and plumbed the depths further and found out that what had been posted on the internet was not in fact reflective of what she said."
Time magazine's Michael Scherer, who has been revealed by the Daily Caller as expressing a deep dislike of Fox News, has the power to really annoy them.
"Ailes understands," Scherer said in an email on the much-maligned JournoList, "that his job is to build a tribal identity, not a news organization. You can't hurt Fox by saying it gets it wrong . . ." Though Scherer clearly has a bone to pick with the channel, he and Time have vehemently denied claims that he would silence Fox News.
Ironically, according to Politics Daily's Matt Lewis, Scherer "may actually be in a position to hurt Fox" by denying the cable network the front-row seat in the White House briefing room left vacant by Helen Thomas. Scherer sits on the Board of Directors of the White House Correspondents' Association, which controls access to White House press conferences.
It has become clear that the Democratic establishment does not have as much of an interest in press freedom as they would have the public believe. But what is even more telling is the media's spotty response to censorship efforts in the Gulf of Mexico.
On Wednesday, House Natural Resouces Democrats rejected an amendment that would ensure press transparency in the Gulf. The amendment came mere days after the Coast Guard rescinded a policy keeping journalists at least 65 feet from "essential recovery efforts."
Offered by Rep. Paul Broun, pictured right, the amendment stated: "Except in cases of imminent harm to human life, federal officials shall allow free and open access to the media of oil spill clean up activity occurring on public lands or public shorelines, including the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.”
Since the amendment's defeat, the response from the mainstream press has been a deafening silence.
The Islamists mean to censor us one way or another: if not from fear of retaliation, then by retaliation. Shut your mouth, still your pens, stop thinking, or we will do it for you. Permanently.
Molly Norris, mild-mannered cartoonist, started a fire she cannot put out. As Rick Santelli’s “rant” on TV from the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade fueled the Tea Party, Norris inspired thousands revolt against Islam. In a desiderative whim, she drew innocuous, refrigerator-door magnet caliber pictures which she claimed were images of
Mohammad: a spool of thread, a teacup, a spoon, and other mundane things. Overall, they looked more like idle doodles than passionate expressions of the freedom of speech. She posted them in protest of Viacom’s Comedy Central forbidding its cartoon show, “South Park,“ to depict Mohammad in a bear suit.
UPDATE - 7/13, 1:30 pm: In the face of criticism, the Coast Guard just rescinded this policy, allowing reporters free access to Gulf spill recovery efforts. Details below.
Effectively reporting on the Gulf oil spill is now a Class D felony, punishable by a fine of up to $40,000.
That's right, the most transparent administration in history has made it a felony, effective July 1, to get within 65 feet of what the Coast Guard determines are essential recovery efforts. According to Anderson Cooper, officials tried to up that number to 300 feet.
Cooper, who claimed federal officials prevented CNN on two occasions from taking photographs in the gulf, seemed frustrated when he reported on the new laws the day they went into effect. The press is "not the enemy here" he pleaded. The new policies, he said, make it "very easy to hide failure, and hide incompetence."
Cooper also let loose this zinger: "Transparency is apparently not a priority with [Coast Guard Commandant] Thad Allen these days." Ouch (full video and transcript below the fold - h/t Ron Robinson).