I don't like Rush Limbaugh or the Dixie Chics, but...

For heaven’s sake, we’ve carried this PC thing Way too far! The current penalty for unpopular speech is, we fire you from your job, we boycott your records etc. Sometimes people come up with ideas that are unpopular at first, but end up becomming main stream politics. If we are to live in a free society, we need to learn to put up with speeches we don’t necessarily like. We have created a political culture where people are afraid to stand up and express contraversial ideas. Whether you are a liberal or a conservative, surely you must agree there are things that need to be said in our society that aren’t getting expressed for fear of what consequences may be leveled to the one who first expresses them.

Limbaugh was not fired. He quit.

Forgive me for replying to my own post, but the feeling I get is he was pressured to quit. In my view, compeling someone to resign rather than be fired is the same as being fired.

“Free speech” belongs to everyone. Assuming your conjecture (and that’s all it is) is correct, “free speech” in this case belongs to the the executives of the Disney Corporation and its ESPN subsidiary. If they, personally, do not wish to pay a guy on an entertainment show to say things that insult a lot of their customers, why is that such a terrible thing?

There are plenty of double standards around, however. For example, when Bill Maher lost his job for saying the U.S. was cowardly for attacking countries with cruise missiles, people came out of the woodwork to claim that his first amendment rights were violated, and when Ari Fleischer responded when asked about it, “I guess people should be a little careful in what they say at a time like this,” the usual suspects were running around claiming that the Bush Administration wanted to trample the first amendment into the ground.

But I hear a deafening silence from them over the Limbaugh affair. And in fact, Wesley Clark went so far as to write letters to both ABC and CBS, calling for ESPN to fire Rush. Where’s the outrage over THAT? Do you think it’s appropriate for a presidential candidate to do that?

So what are saying Sam?

The media tends to lean to the left?

Get the f- out of here.

I love it when people, mostly right leaning IMO, say “The first amendment only states that the government makes no laws inhibiting one’s speech.”

The above is true, but when your fellow citizens act to stifle speech that is not to their liking, it is an ill mark on society.

What does it matter that the government cannot inhibit speech, but saying your mind, gets you hostile reactions from the ones around you. They are inhibiting your speech, thus breaking you notion of freedom.

I agree with the OP that such actions are troubling, but other than a restructuring of current society, good luck fixing it.

Sam, I don’t see a double standard here, I see two different situations.

  1. Private citizen says something unpopular, other private citizens applaud/boo/threaten boycotts/call for heads on platters. It’s legal, everyone is well within their rights and as adults we all know when we’re saying stuff that is bound to piss others off, so we shouldn’t be surprised when it happens. This applies to the Dixie Chicks, Bill Maher and Rush Limbaugh just like it applies to you and me. No First Amendment issue.

  2. Private citizen says something unpopular and the White House tells him to watch what he says. This is now encroaching on the First Amendment - the government has no business telling you what you can and can’t say.

I understand that Fleischer may have been expressing his own personal opinion, and for the record I found Maher’s comment incredibly tasteless at best, however as the voice o’ the Pres, Fleischer damn well ought to know better - when he steps up to that mike he’s speaking on behalf of the administration.

Wes Clark is currently a private citizen and so he’s free to write all the letters that he wants urging the Rush be fired or promoted to CEO of ESPN. Now we have an idea of his views on the subject. If he gets elected then the exact same behavior would be totally inappropriate and I’ll stand beside you and say it to the President’s face.

I may think that people calling the Dixie Chicks traitors and refusing to buy their records are a bunch of idiotic chowderheads, but they’re exercising the same rights that allow me to opine that Rush is indeed a “big fat hypocritcal idiot” and refuse to buy his books or listen to his show.

There’s a big difference between declaring the obvious fact that Emperor Bush is not wearing any clothes, and being racist like Limbaugh was.

The pressure to resign did not come from ESPN. ESPN was in support of Rush.

If your notion of freedom is that you get to say what you want, but those who disagree with you are required to remain silent, then that’s a notion that rightly should be broken.

If you say something that insults me, or offends me, or provokes a strong reaction from me because I disagree with it so totally, then I, in turn, can exercise my right to free speech to say so, perhaps vehemently.

“Free speech” isn’t free in the sense of being free from consequences, and never has been.

No it’s not appropriate. He’s obviously has a very weak platform regarding any real issues to speak about. I can hear him now, “kicking Rush would get me noticed!”. Why else jump on this bandwagon?

It certainly appears that he’s desparate to need something, (anything) to hang his hat on. This is the WORST kind of simple minded pandering I’ve seen in a while.

There are a LOT of ill marks on society. Doesn’t mean that they’re all indicative of a violation of the Constitution.

Racist? What did he say, exactly, that was “racist”?

Here, let me clear up the double standard for you.

Remember when Atlanta Brave’s pitcher, John Rocker publicly expressed his personal opinion on the cultural climate of New York City? Every liberal, talking head pundit went into an absolute conniption fit over Rocker’s candidness. This selective display of moral outrage was a lesson for all to understand the objective of “political correctness”.

About ten years earlier, Basketball Hall of Famer, Isaiah Thomas, of the Detroit Pistons made the remark, “If Boston Celtics forward Larry Byrd, another Hall of Famer, were black, he would be considered just an average basketball player.”

Isaiah Thomas, an American of African decent, in his commentary on Larry Byrd, publicly insinuated that even the best white athletes have just the average ability of black athletes.

Why was it that no one demanded that Isaiah Thomas be fined and undergo psychological counseling, or re-education?

In his autobiography, Shaq Talks Back, Shaquille O’Neal wrote, “If you get dunked on by a white boy, you got to come home to your friends and hear it.”

In that statement, Shaq is basically saying that whites are inferior to blacks in the game of basketball. Now, if a white person were to say that, referring to a different sport or in job performance, the white would be condemned as a racist.

Last season Toronto Raptors star Vince Carter was being covered by the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Wally Szczerbiak. Carter turned to the Minnesota bench with a smile and said, “You better get this white guy off me, or I’m going to score 40.”

Most recently, Chicago Cubs manager Dusty Baker made a racist comment by stating that black and Hispanic players are better suited to playing in the sun and heat than white players.

Dusty Baker is still managing the Cubs, but what would happen if a swimming coach at a university made the assertion that blacks were not biologically suited to compete in swimming?

You know what would happen.

Yeah, I’m waiting for Blalron’s answer on that one too, but I ain’t holdin’ my breath.

Anyways, I’ve demonstrated where the real racism comes from, but for some strange reason, that racism is excused. Actually, it’s no strange reason at all. It’s something much more sinister.

The disease of “Political Correctness” that is infecting American society, is nothing less than institutionalized “thought control” designed specifically to be applied to conservative Americans, who still embrace the traditional American values of individualism, freedom and liberty. Its purpose is to silence their protests of the socialization and globalization of the last genuinely free country that remains in the world today.

Someone will be along with a defense that it’s okay to make racist comments about whites.

Well, minorities not only get away with racist statements against whites, but against other minorities. A few years ago, Reggie White said that Jews and Native Americans were sneaky. It blew over pretty quickly. No way say, Brett Favre could have gotten off that easy.

To be strictly fair to Shaq, that isn’t what he said. He said if a white player dunked on him, he’d have to deal with the taunts of his friends back home. That is most likely true, and it says more about Shaq’s friends than it does about Shaq himself.

(Of course, Shaq may well think whites are inherently inferior as basketball players; given his choice of friends back home that is likely the case. But the statement above doesn’t say that.)

And besides, I wouldn’t consider any of those statements to be necessarily racist.

Beliving in a stereotype does not make you a racist. We all have our stereotypes and they aren’t confined to race. Sometimes we say ignorant things. No one deserves to lose their job or be labelled a racist for making statements that are ignorant but not malicious.

I have yet to see one statement made by a public sports figure in recent years that was genuinely hateful.

“The disease of “Political Correctness” that is infecting American society, is nothing less than institutionalized “thought control” designed specifically to be applied to conservative Americans, who still embrace the traditional American values of individualism, freedom and liberty. Its purpose is to silence their protests of the socialization and globalization of the last genuinely free country that remains in the world today.”

You get a bulk discount on your tinfoil, don’t you?

That’s not Limbaugh tells it.

He said that his fellow cast members didn’t want to be caught up in this sort of controversy. They went to the management. Management went to Limbaugh. Limbaugh resigned out of consideration for his fellow cast members on the sports show.

You can take this however you like. It certainly can be seen as a face saving way of making a fella redundant.

Don’t look now, Mr. Sharp, but I don’t think anyone has figured out a way to actually control the thoughts of other people. But let’s look at what you just said. You don’t want people to criticize your language and yet you want to criticize theirs. Right? Does that mean you are wanting to control their thoughts? What kind of freedom is that?

Sam, I don’t think that Rush Limbaugh should have been hired by ESPN to begin with because I believe that he is an insult to the intelligence of the average football fan. (Yeah.)

I’ve wrestled with his resignation in my head for a couple of days and I don’t think that he should have been pressured into resigning if that is what happened. They knew who he was when they hired him.

I do, however, believe in self-censorship. If I don’t like someone’s opinions, I can boycott sponsors. That is also an American tradition. Or I can boycott ESPN altogether. And I can write letters.

I think this privilege should extend to every American including Presidential candidates and the Prez himself.

With all due respect, Rush Limbaugh is one of the most mean-spirited public figures that’s ever made my skin crawl.