People are confused about free speech

info@islandpacket.comJanuary 9, 2014 

Several recent editorials compel me to remark on free speech, especially as it applies to the American media. Misconceptions propagated by reactionary pundits abound.

Consider the newfound martyrdom of farcically bucolic Phil Robertson, whose expression of dogmatic religious fundamentalism and unchecked racism has elicited censure from the LGBT community and the NAACP. It cannot be said emphatically enough: Robertson's First Amendment rights have not been violated. The First Amendment restricts the power of the government to persecute individuals who voice contraries opinions; it does not regulate the ability of a private organization to dismiss those employees who threaten viewership. Robertson is not exempted from the consequences of his actions, no matter his alleged piety.

There are those who lament that LGBT activists and other radicalized progressives have dominated American media and silenced conservative opinions. This is utter lunacy, bordering on the conspiratorial.

With the exception of increasing sexual liberty, the general media remains traditionalist and jingoistic, a bias evidenced by inexplicable popularity of the propaganda machine, Fox News, and our daily subjection to advertisements extolling the unassailable virtue of the U.S. military.

Could a celluloid masterpiece that disparages the wealthy class, such as "It's a Wonderful Life", be produced today without provoking conservative outrage and disgruntled shouts of class conflict?

The "war for America's soul" (a ridiculous designation courtesy of Pat Buchanan), with television as its most well-trod battleground, has only just begun.

Alex Reamy

Hilton Head Island

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