Tuesday, February 21, 2012

It is Not a Violation of Free Speech for TV Networks to Boot Those Who Present Hateful and Bigoted Views – Pat Buchanan is Still Free to Speak Whenever and on Whatever He Wants

MSNBC Strikes a Blow for Freedom of Intelligent Speech

The Announcement that MSNBC has terminated its relationship with incendiary commentator Pat Buchanan is a welcome statement.  It is a statement that while diverse views should be presented on network news and commentary programs, there is no right to the airways for a person whose views promote racial and religious and ethnic prejudices and divisions.  Pat Buchanan can speak and write as he want, but he can no longer do so on MSNBC.

An interesting reaction to the firing of Mr. Buchanan has come from his colleagues. They support him.   Let’s look at this set of comments from a Democratic party leader who has worked with Mr. Buchanan and who opposed the decision by MSNBC to fire him.  Peter Fenn says this

In my view, MSNBC caved to pressure that was unjustified and has continued down the road toward "niche TV," lacking in true dialogue and opposing viewpoints. 

First of all, there was no pressure on MSNBC, heck hardly anybody even watches or cares about the network.  And as for MSNBC not wanting opposing views, Mr. Fenn is apparently not aware of the hours the network devotes to Joe Scarborough and his show, or the regular appearances of Michael Steele, a former Republican National Committee Chairman and others on the network. 

Pat was always willing to go the extra mile, the go-to person who would drop everything to run into the studio at a moment's notice, never angry, never complaining.

Obviously Mr. Fenn doesn’t really know of Mr. Buchanan.  He is one of the angriest commentators out there.  That’s the problem, he has anger at non-Caucasians, Jews and Gays just to name a few.

The powers-that-be at MSNBC did not treat him fairly in my view and his firing was not based on any views or opinions that he had not been espousing for years. 

On the contrary, Mr. Buchanan had been told many times that if he continued to publish his hate, his position at the network would be in jeopardy.  Mr. Buchanan did continue to proclaim his message of hate, which he has every right to do.  He just does not have the right to a regular TV appearance.

The point is not that Pat hasn't made statements that are insensitive or controversial, we all have.  But should his voice be silenced? Should it be banned?

This comment is ridiculous.  Mr. Buchanan is not silenced.  He is not banned from speaking or publishing his views.  His freedom has not been impinged.  He can and probably will continue to speak and write and spew his message.

Mr. Fenn was an adviser to the John Kerry campaign.  So now we have another insight as to how that candidate could lose to George W. Bush.

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