The recent firing of a renowned journalist, Juan Williams from NPR has sent a chill down the spines of writers, commentators, television and radio personalities. That chill can have two effects. 1; it either stiffens the spine so the respondent becomes more resolute or, 2; the spine becomes brittle and breaks way to easily. Either way the industry itself becomes less of a trusted source for information as a whole. It was Walter Cronkite who said something to the effect that our Democracy depends on the free flow of information from its news organizations.
Speaking of Walt; I wonder if the graphic news reels from the front lines of Vietnam, that were broadcasted nightly, were censored. Would the outcome have been different? It is fact that, The Pentagon Papers, graphic scenes of our mangled soldiers and other exposures during that time altered the course of the war. We do not see those secnes today on the nightly news. The best source to see some really great video is a website from The Military Channel, military.com. Some are scenes of our soldiers performing bravely, some of them getting killed, blown up, graphic gun camera video of insurgents and Taliban getting cut to ribbons in full on no bullshit. The television decision makers will never air this. Not because they want to alter the course of the war, but because some one may complain.
That's right..Viewers may complain. Some one may be 'offended' and write an angry letter. Corporations for media tremble at this omni-present threat.
Since I am a contributing writer to this blog I have every right to (and I must) direct this conversation towards my own experiences while producing my radio program. I feel the examples over the past two days are relevant to my own situation.
I want to make a statement here:
I will stand shoulder to shoulder with anyone, even those I find reprehensible in their rhetoric to defend their right to say what they think.
There are standards we must oblige by. Don't swear, don't be openly racist, etc. But some one's opinion? Some one's thought on an issue? Some one's political convictions? Those, now, are tantamount to dismissal?
What really fries my fish is the level that some will lower to to demand that my voice be censored under the guise of "their values" or "the values we represent". What values are those? The values of a one sided conversation? The values of a set agenda (written or implied)? The value of, we don't want any other view point except our own, or the concept thereof.
I had responded to some comments on the content of my show. There is a 'Forums' page on the website WCUW.ORG. I post my show programming, I make comments, introduce guests. I, even, post something controversial in relation to the content of my show. This includes jpegs, etc.
The first time I was called on the carpet was for a political cartoon of Obama and the Statue of Liberty. The cartoon was removed by Management and I was told in an e-mail that I was spreading hate speech and something about interracial rape. It was nonsense. It was cartoon.What are we the Taliban? Publish a cartoon of Mohammed and a 'Fatwa' gets declared?
There was another time when I had a Congressional Candidate(Ind) on and a caller asked about the "illegal war in Iraq..etc". We had responded by saying that Congress did vote on the war. The argument turned into a case of semantics. An entire dissertation about the 10th Amendment followed from the caller on that 'Forums' page.
Lately, the issue of having the Tea Party on my show (for the um-teenth time) reared its ugly head. This is what is the crux of the problem now. I have been accused of having only "right wing" Candidates on my show. Even though I have submitted a list to Management on the guests since January, this moron demanded a list anyway. They are right there on this page for every one to see..Didn't matter. This idiot later claimed that he/she had only tuned into my show from time to time, but was convinced of the political slant. That made him/her very upset. Ounce of perception, pound of obscure.
After I pointed out that WCUW broadcasts many other politically charged shows, and no one says a word, (because they are Left leaning) that we also have spiritual and Christian broadcasts; this didn't satisfy the complainer. Instead, this Fascist Zealot wanted the content of the Christian shows and my show forcibly handed over to the Board of Directors. So much for one of the stations hallmark logos, "radio of the people, by the people and for the people."
I guess this individual is self appointing themself to be the one man committee of Decency and political correctness. I always thought these were the actions of 'right wingers'. Au' contraire mon ami.
The reality is it has always been the Left who engage in this behavior. The reality is; in the past, most of these 'concerned citizen' groups were card carrying Democrats. All these organizations have grown to such power that they now control content over Government policy and censorship in the media. Individuals engage in this behavior almost on a sub conscience level. They don't know they are stepping on the Constitution. Their own sense of self righteousness clouds this inconvenient truth. They are convinced they are doing "the right thing".
The truth is. These people are spreading hate, spreading intolerance, narrow-mindedness, a strict regiment to a stated doctrine and down right bigotry.
....And That Is The Diatribe....