Thursday, March 8, 2012

On "Censoring" Republicans

I can't believe I'm actually having to say this, but it's time for a vocabulary lesson.  You see over the last month a bunch of conservatives have either lost their jobs, been suspended, or lost advertisers for saying racist, homophobic, or sexist things.  In each case the cry has gone out that they're being censored.

Here in Southern California, it's Sean Hannity claiming that the John and Ken Radio Show is being targetted after they were suspended for making racist jokes after Whitney Houston died.  Pat Buchanan blames a cadre of homosexuals and minorities for trying to blacklist him by going "after the network where you work, the newspapers that carry your column, the conventions that invite you to speak. If all else fails, they go after the advertisers."  And of course there is now a conservative movement to "Stand with Rush Limbaugh" against liberal censorship after he's lost more advertisers than I was actually aware he had in the first place.

Here's the the problem with that:  Absolutely no one is saying that the Rush Limbaugh's of the world don't have the right to spew hateful garbage.  Everyone has a right to freedom of speech in this country.  And no one is in fact trying to take that away from them.  The "right" that is being taken away from them is to be paid millions of dollars and be given a national platform from which to speak.  And guess what, no one actually has that right.

For people who express a love of capitalism, these right wing pundits seem to have forgotten that they've been hired to do a job.  And that job isn't to bash women, gays, and minorities.  It's not even to talk about politics per se.  They're being paid to get their viewers to watch the advertisements that go with their programs and increase their sponsors sales.  That's it.  And when their hateful rhetoric causes a backlash against those sponsors, they can and should be fired for failing to perform their job.

And that's not censorship, it's business.  Censorship would be if we stopped them ranting on street corners with all the other lunatics.  Until then, we'll keep exercising OUR right to free speech and they can live with the consequences.

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