"There are things in life worth fighting and dying for and one of ‘em is making sure Nancy Pelosi doesn’t become the [House] speaker." — Sean Hannity
These media bottom-dwellers have been flourishing since the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine twenty plus years ago relieved media outlets of the requirement to present both sides of an issue. As far as I know this is the first time anyone has acted on their hate. But is it any wonder that someone finally carried out the rants of the far right? This kind of smut and filth passes for journalism in some circles. The airwaves are crowded with self-proclaimed conservative commentators who are really nothing more than self-important windbags and loud-mouthed know-it-alls who make a living doing nothing but trash talking an entire class of people (liberals and democrats) all the while whining about how liberal the media is. Is it comedic, vaudevillian, Don Ricklesesque humor? Or is it not unlike the tactics Hitler used in Nazi Germany to stir up hatred for Jews by blaming all the countries ailments on that group of people. It’s designed to whip their audiences into a frenzy and spur action. Unfortunately for two members of the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, it worked on Jim Adkisson.
The foundation for the confrontation between liberals and conservatives can be found in the definition of the word liberal. From Columbia encyclopedia:
“Liberalism: philosophy or movement that has as its aim the development of individual freedom…Often opposed to liberalism is the doctrine of conservatism, which, simply stated, supports the maintenance of the status quo. Liberalism, which seeks what it considers to be improvement or progress, necessarily desires to change the existing order.”
Conservative blogger, Justin Quinn, wrote:
“People outside the conservative movement should be aware that the despicable actions allegedly carried out by Adkisson in no way reflect any conservative ideology, nor does this murderous rampage represent the kind of protest advocated by even the most angry of conservative intellectuals… In the end, Adkisson's alleged rampage should be seen not as a conservative protest, but as the erratic actions of a deranged man, unable to cope with his personal circumstances and unwilling to take responsibility for what his life had become.”
Did he really say “allegedly”? How he can say Mr. Adkisson allegedly carried out those actions? And “conservative intellectuals”? (an oxymoron?) It’s conservatives who have demonized intellectuals as well as liberals. Unless Mr. Quinn is willing to disown all of the above mentioned conservative commentators his words ring quite hollow.
Freedom of Speech?
Free speech is not unlimited. For example, you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater when you know there isn’t one and not suffer any consequences. Public safety can trump free speech. Should this standard be applied to the kind of vicious commentary that flies so freely on AM radio and some TV shows? Think about it. Is it that much of a stretch to say that Adkisson was instructed to kill in much the same way that those same talk show hosts would say that young terrorists are instructed to kill in Muslim madrasas? If this kind of hate crime against liberals rears its ugly head again should there be consideration for holding these talk show hosts liable? Wouldn’t they be accessories to a crime for promoting that kind of behavior? Perhaps it's appropriate to consider even now. Could it be more clear than in this case?
As disturbing as Mr. Adkisson’s motive is, the source of his motive is just as disturbing. Is it time to place some accountability and responsibility on those who spew hate on the public airwaves for the actions of their listeners? Charles Manson did not commit any of the murders himself for which he is serving time. His followers murdered those people at his instructions. At a minimum let’s enforce the concept that public safety can trump free speech and get the FCC to punish those who promote physical violence on the airwaves. It’s something to think and talk about for everyone’s safety. Who will be targeted next?