The American Left has never really believed in free speech. They champion free speech when they want to use it as a weapon, not as a principle. Yes, the right commits sins against free speech, but mostly by trying to exclude dirty words and pictures. The right really does believe in free political speech.
Random recent examples of leftist assaults on the first amendment:
- Barack Obama testily and repeatedly demands that his critics shut up while he “cleans up their mess.” Not that big a deal if it weren’t POTUS saying it.
- Obama’s FCC nominee saying the Fairness Doctrine didn’t go far enough, and applauding how Hugo Chavez treats the press.
- Obama opened this year’s state of the Union address by chastising the Supreme Court for restoring 1st Amendment rights to political speech to business people.
- Ridiculous event after event on college campuses controlled by leftists. Most recently, the screaming disruption of an Israeli speaker by Muslim students at UC Irvine. They went so far over the top they even got arrested, provoking a mild rebuke from university authorities. This happens all the time, and not just to Ann Coulter. Remember the Jeane Kirkpatrick incident? It’s been going on for decades. When was the last time the right did anything like that? (and don’t say Joe Wilson saying, You lie! during an Obama address to Congress. That just makes my point.)
- Running Trent Lott out of town on a rail for saying something that was not overtly racist, but might have had unintended racist subtext while excusing Harry Reid’s “Negro dialect” remarks.
Feminists have an especially horrid record of free speech violations. Most recently, NOW tried to suppress a tasteful, understated anti-abortion Superbowl ad. Tim Tebow, rising NFL star, is here because his mother overrode doctors’ advice that she might want to abort him for medical reasons.
NOW is the National Organization for Women, a gaggle of increasingly irritable and irrelevant bitter old battle-axes. They are to women’s issues what the NAACP is to civil rights: a disreputable bunch of single-issue cranks, whiners and geezers who get more respect than they deserve because they’ve been around so long.
Here’s the NOW press release, just begging for a fisking, my comments bracketed by /* and */, and the press release in italics.
Offender: CBS Executives
/* It’s obvious this is a template. NOW sends out a lot of press releases that start with Offender:
In 1620, they would have started with Witch: */
Media Outlet: CBS
The Offense: During the Feb. 7 telecast of the Super Bowl, CBS will air an anti-abortion commercial produced and paid for by the ultra-conservative group Focus on the Family.
/* Expressing a pro-life opinion, however subtly, is an offense. Not a legitimate disagreement or difference of opinion.
What are some synonyms for offense? Violation, trespass, breach, crime, transgression, wrong, insult, affront, aggression, assault, attack, battery, harm, hurt, injury, injustice, outrage. */
NOW’s Analysis: Focus on the Family has an aggressively anti-abortion, anti-LGBT, anti-woman agenda. This ad reportedly promotes the decision of one woman to go against her doctor’s advice to terminate an at-risk pregnancy. While NOW would never disparage any woman’s reproductive choice, we believe that all women should be free to make the decision that is right for them. We also believe that this ad could potentially put women’s health and lives at risk by promoting ideology over medicine.
/* NOW disparages the hell out of this woman but won’t admit that’s what they’re doing. In the NOW Code of Criminal Justice, disparaging is a Class 1 felony. Orwell called this doublespeak.
(I will admit that I’m often gleefully guilty of disparaging. Here’s a good disparaging thing to say as long as you have fast reflexes when heavy objects are thrown at you: “Oh, for Christ’s sake, are you serious or is that your tampon talking?”)
Anyhow, this mom’s choice to bear her child was obviously based on love, perhaps informed by ideology–by a belief that her decision to give up would end a human being before he or she had a chance to begin. But she had plenty of plausible outs to abort without guilt within the framework of her own ideology. It was a gutsy decision, and it turned out great. It could have gone badly wrong too. Does anyone who’s not an idiot think that she was reckless? Or was she showing some pioneer spirit and admirable spunk? (The biddies at NOW aren’t big fans of any kind of spunk either.)
Except to the harpies at NOW, it’s obvious this mom’s lived a decent, honorable, courageous life and earned the right for us to respectfully consider her opinion. Her opinion isn’t an offense.
Before moving on, I have to point out the last sentence in the above NOW paragraph. It’s a threat, make no mistake.
It could be pasted into a lawsuit or a petition to the FCC objecting to a station’s license renewal application. It’s a great tactic: just inject a whiff of legaleaze to let them know that you’re one of those litigious types.
I’ve done the same kind of thing when writing to companies that I have a dispute with. I don’t usually talk in legaleaze. I can turn it on and off depending on my audience, much like how Barack Obama turns on and off the Negro dialect. */
NOW President Terry O’Neil told the Associated Press that the planned ad is “extraordinarily offensive and demeaning.”
/* Really? If you didn’t see the ad, go find it on YouTube or something.
Unless you’d been following the controversy, you’d be wondering what the point was of the ad. It was mild to the point of meaninglessness. It could have been something done by the NFL as a “get to know one of the 7 NFL players who aren’t criminal dog-fighting thugs, really there are some good ones.” Is this how much we must tiptoe around harpy feminism now?
Those involved in making the ad smoothed off all sharp edges and made it cuddly and I really think they didn’t expect the sharp knives to come out. They thought they’d couched their message so inoffensively that nobody could possibly object. Boy, were they wrong.
Horrible people like Terry O’Neil, afflicted with feminist Tourette’s, involuntarily spew words like “disparaging,” “demeaning,” and “offensive.” These Terms of Aggrievance have lost all meaning to normal people. All these words do now is signal the slouching approach of a giant man-hating fascist beast. */
“That’s not being respectful of other people’s lives,” O’Neill said. “It is offensive to hold one way out as being a superior way over everybody else’s.”
/* In a lot of Islamic countries, Terry O’Neill would be clitless. I think it’s offensive, demeaning and disparaging to think that a country where Terry still has a clit is superior to one where she doesn’t. */
It’s important to note that the Super Bowl is the most watched television event each year, with a broad audience spanning all demographics. In the past, CBS has turned down other advocacy ads it deemed controversial, including ads from MoveOn.org and the progressive United Church of Christ.
/* And CBS changed their policy this year, not because they’re anti-abortion, but because of the economic downturn, and good on them. I welcome the PETA ad next year. I love PETA ads. */
Women are vastly under-represented in high-level decision making roles at the television networks (and pretty much all media outlets). Despite this disadvantage, NBC managed to make the right decision last year, refusing to run an anti-choice ad during the Super Bowl. Anti-abortion forces are on the offensive. They don’t want to help women make informed decisions — they want to, in the words of Focus on the Family, make abortion “both illegal and unthinkable.” We must stand up to their campaign to deny women their fundamental rights.
Thanks to our friends at the Women’s Media Center for alerting us to this outrageous move by CBS.
/* The ad is subtle to the point of gauzy incoherence. It’s the possibility that anyone might agree with or be inspired by the ideas behind the ad that NOW wants to suppress. These are exactly the same people who sneered at and trashed Sarah Palin for delivering and loving a Down’s Syndrome child. To use Romm Emmanual’s delicate phrasing, everyone at NOW are a bunch of fucking retards. */
Take Action: Write to CBS and tell them what you think about their decision to air the Focus on the Family ad.
/* do that, please!
The link above takes you to a NOW page that will let you send a message to Les Moonves at CBS. I sent this message:
I want to thank you for airing this ad.
I’m irredeemably pro-choice. I disagree with the message of the ad, and with Focus on the Family’s agenda.
But the Superbowl is the one time of year that Americans welcome TV commercials. I’m glad you let the pro-life side have their say. And they did it tastefully and with good-natured humor.
I hope next year that you’ll accept a similarly tasteful ad for the other side of the issue.
Lisa Bennett, NOW Communications Director, January 26, 2010
— end fascist communique —
A final few points:
- The above communique was composed and sent without the Harpy Patrol actually seeing the ad. I hope that was a sucker punch from Focus on the Family.
- After the ad aired, rather than be non-plussed by how sweet and inoffensive it was, NOW started bitching about how it encouraged violence against women. In the ad, as Tebow mere says “in this family you have to be tough!”, Tebow fils tackles mom. She bounces up a split second later and scolds him for interrupting her. Its. A. Joke. You. Stupid. Hairy. Feminazis.
- I happen to be irredeemably pro-choice, as I mentioned above. I once drove a 16-year-old girl several hundred miles across state lines to get her an abortion (no, I was not proximate cause, thanks for asking). I still consider this one of the best of several good deeds I’ve done in my life.
- Focus on the Family is one of the most rabid right-wing fundamentalist groups this side of Pat Robertson. Its founder James Dobson is high on my list of Great American Morons. I have some personal passion around this because my moronic parents used Dobson’s book Dare to Discpline to rationalize some of their child-abusing ways. Still, free speech is free speech.