A few posts ago I blogged the story of a liberal group who was outraged at the “dominance” of conservatives on talk radio. They proposed using government policy to change this dominance by (among other things) fining stations that did not have enough liberals or had too many conservatives.
At the time I tried to explain to any liberal reading what this meant…
“In other words, Censorship. – Contrary to what the “progressives” claim, private citizens smashing Dixie Chicks CDs is not censorship. Having the government regulate political speech is.
It would seem simple… But of course not to our resident house troll Lee Ward who stepped in several times to -well- be a troll. But this time was different. He so annoyed me that I decided go to google and see what Lee had said in the past about censorship and the Dixie Chicks. It took exactly 2 hits for the quotes to start rolling in:
# Choosing to apply economic pressure against your fellow Americans who dare speak up against Bush is a despicable attempt at censorship. Note again the word “attempt” – it always backfires
So according to Lee, people not buying Dixie Chicks CDs is not only censorship, it’s despicable. Having the government control the content of talk radio however, is not censorship. mantis tried to explain that “Censorship is something governments do, not consumers.“
Lee was having no part of it and even whipped out a Wikipedia quote:
# Sorry, mantis, but you’re wrong.
Censorship is the removal of information from the public, or the prevention of circulation of information, where it is desired or felt best by some controlling group or body that others are not allowed to access the information which is being censored. Typically censorship is undertaken by governments, or by established bodies (religions or the mass media), although self-censorship and other forms also exist. Censorship of some forms of sensitive information, such as commercial secrets and intellectual property, official secrets, and legal privilege, are not usually described as censorship, provided that they remain within bounds which are recognised in general as being reasonable. For this reason, the term “censorship” often carries with it a sense of untoward, inappropriate or repressive secrecy as opposed to a reasonable and expected level.
Censorship is closely tied in as a concept with freedom of speech and other forms of human expression, and when tightly exerted is often allied with human rights abuse, dictatorship and repression.
If you hold a loaded gun to my head, mantis, and make it very clear that you object to me speaking out against Bush, are you attempting to censor my free speech? …
The economic boycott launched by the right is exactly the same form of censorship.
Not buying Dixie Chic’s CDs is the same as putting a gun to someone’s head. Ok… He continues but this time he whips out the bold tag.
#Their livelihood and careers as recording artists were both threatened by the right as a result fo their free speech, so yes… it was an attempt at censorship, yes.
Then it got funny…
An economic boycott applied against someone who is exercising their right to free speech, and in an attempt to do them some harm if they continue saying those things, to is a form of censorship
At this point I had a thought… Don’t liberals boycott talk radio? By Lee’s logic (don’t try using Lee logic at home, it will hurt your brain, I’m a trained professional) if liberals don’t listen to conservative talk radio isn’t that censorship?
He continues to prattle on, you can go read it if you have the stomach, but I’ll give you just one more because he attempts to distill his point and I think that’s of value..
…what I said was that an organized economic boycott aimed at threatening the Dixie Chicks livelihood launched specifically in response to a political view the Dixie Chicks expressed is an attempt at censorship.
So there you have it. If a bunch of private citizens all announce they are not going to give the Dixie Chicks money, that is considered censorship. Having the government decide who gets to be on talk radio based on their political belief isn’t.
Sorry Lee, you can’t have it both ways.
Jay Tea adds: Lee also didn’t think it was such a big deal when several leading Democratic congressmen threatened to pull ABC’s broadcast licenses for the TV stations it owns over their airing of “The Path To 9/11.”