I have a question for Moveon.org and the DailyKos:

July 27th, 2007

Since when are liberals in the business of trying to suppress speech they don’t agree with?

Entry Filed under: Politics

21 Comments Add your own

  • 1. happygael  |  July 28th, 2007 at 1:20 pm

    Present day liberals will always try to suppress the truth. Liberal is a misnomer where they are concerned

  • 2. Billiam  |  July 28th, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    Why would you be surprised by this Eliiot? Almost every infringment of free speech has come from these types(Soros, et al) They wish to stifle that with which they disagree rather than allow the other side out there. Pick any far left cause celebre’, those who believe differently are demonized or called dumb, ie; man-caused global warming.

  • 3. capper  |  July 28th, 2007 at 7:03 pm

    May I respectfully point out that this is a double-edged sword. I remember many attempts at alienation, character assassination, suppression, and the such from the right. Such as when one would question the wisdom of going into Iraq, and being called unAmerican. Having calls to put pressure on the sponsors of shows that took a less than conservative approach to hot topics, such as abortion, gay marriage, Bush, etc.

    Best not to call out the color of the kettle without checking the color of your pot.

  • 4. Elliot  |  July 28th, 2007 at 7:15 pm

    Ahh, but the Right has not traditionally been the champions of free speech. The Left has.

    The change in their attitude towards free speech is why I will probably never again call myself a liberal (which I did for a while long ago).

    And I’m still more libertarian than anything else. For the time being, those attitudes seem to fit in better with the Right. (Yeah, I’m surprised, too.) ;)

  • 5. repsac3  |  July 28th, 2007 at 8:10 pm

    “Ahh, but the Right has not traditionally been the champions of free speech.”

    I’d think that folks on the right would be offended by that…

    Personally, I think it’s just a cop-out to explain away the fact that folks all along the political spectrum boycott sponsors & write letters to the media about all kinds of offenses, real and otherwise…

    Saying something offends you and that you won’t support it with your consumer dollar is not an affront to free speech. It’s the free market.

  • 6. Elliot  |  July 28th, 2007 at 9:41 pm

    Yes, boycotts are a tool of the free market.

    But that doesn’t mean they can’t also be a tool of suppression.

  • 7. capper  |  July 28th, 2007 at 11:49 pm


    The right may not have been traditionally the champions of free speech, but over the last several years, they have been playing that card a lot. This has ramped up to unbelievable levels with the fear-mongering about the Fairness Doctrine. It’s as if the right believes in free speech, but only for them, even when they have to use straw men tactics in an effort to make it believable.

  • 8. Clifton Buck-Kauffman  |  July 29th, 2007 at 3:08 am

    You are correct about the fascist goals of the “right” include diminishing or eliminating meaningful “free speech”. You are wrong about this educational effort having anything to do with “limiting free speech”. O’Reilly (of all people!) has been calling those he disagrees with Nazis and KKK. Those companies, large and small, that are using Faux News to promote themselves are being apprised of this inflammatory name calling so they can decide whether this is consistant with their values. Only an ideologue unconcerned with this egregious misuse of the peoples airwaves would be complacent about these odious, calumnious aspersions perpetrated by O’Reilly, who’s whole shtick is hate and intolerance.

  • 9. grumps  |  July 29th, 2007 at 8:23 am

    This has nothing to do with supression. It has everything to do with showing business which side their bread is buttered on.

    The Rev Wildmon has used tactics like this for decades to try to change what is shown on TV.

    Sauce for the goose makes fine sauce for the gander. I don’t have to spend money at Home Depot that will be spent to allow O’Reilly airtime if I have a choice. Home Depot needs to know that I am willing to make that distinction.

    Sponsorship dollars are spent to attract business. It’s only fair to let a retailer know that his advertising spend is having the opposite effect.

  • 10. Elliot  |  July 29th, 2007 at 11:13 am

    So, Grumps, you’re endorsing suppressing speech? Whatever happened to “I don’t agree with what you say, but I’ll fight to the death for your right to say it.”

    I guess now it’s “I don’t agree with what you say, so I’ll do my best to intimidate your sponsors to keep you from saying it?”

    Very nice.

    (And the religious folks who do it on the right are just as wrong, but they never styled themselves as the champions of free speech.)

  • 11. Elliot  |  July 29th, 2007 at 11:17 am

    By the way, I had this same argument on a bunch of conservative blogs around six months ago. I suppose it’s nice that the one thing the Left and the Right can seem to agree on nowadays is that suppressing speech you don’t like is perfectly reasonable (as long as you do it by intimidating the people who enable the speech). In the marketplace of ideas, you used to have to come up with more persuasive arguments. Now you just have to have more thugs on your side.

  • 12. Elliot  |  July 29th, 2007 at 11:21 am

    And to Clifton, maybe you’re too young to remember the ACLU defending the right of NAZIs to march in Skokie. You want to talk about people’s shtick being hate and intolerance?

    Liberals used to understand that the speech we hate is the speech that is the most important to protect.

    It sickens me that I should have to be explaining this to my fellow Americans.

  • 13. James  |  July 29th, 2007 at 1:55 pm

    “I don‚Äôt have to spend money at Home Depot that will be spent to allow O‚ÄôReilly airtime if I have a choice. Home Depot needs to know that I am willing to make that distinction.”

    Holy Crap! A liberal now wants freedom of choice, but if I say, want to purchase a pistol, or something with trans fat, I can’t have freedome of choice because the liberal disagrees with that choice. Thanks for clearing that up!

  • 14. Clifton Buck-Kauffman  |  July 29th, 2007 at 6:02 pm

    I am almost 61 years old. I applaud the ACLU defending free speech in Skokie, IL and elsewhere. I doubt that the ACLU would defend anyone calling the operator(s) of “liberal” blogs and their contributors the KKK and Nazis. They very well might defend O’Rielly’s right to have a program on TV, as would I. The economic viability of a program is not really a “free speech” issue. Your “straw man” red herring is not responsive. Free speech has limits, a point, usually illustrated by “One cannot shout ‘FIRE” in a crowded theater” . That is the issue here. O’Lielly uses his “bully pulpit” to slander “liberals” and others he doesn’t like, which he has the right to do despite how wrong that is. OK! Those smeared though have the right to educate the enablers of this protected speech, suggesting to advertisers that their values probably would not mesh with those personalities who abuse their right to say almost anything on their program. This effort to educate is not abridging or limiting speech, no one is encouraged to write Faux News or the FCC to fire or constrain O’Lielly. He is such a shallow, hypocritical buffoon that having him represent conservative values (a oxymoron?) probably creates more liberals than he does more conservative “cement heads”.

  • 15. capper  |  July 29th, 2007 at 6:47 pm


    Regarding this quote in comment #10-I guess now it’s “I don’t agree with what you say, so I’ll do my best to intimidate your sponsors to keep you from saying it?”

    That is not supression. If Home Depot wants to sponsor O’Reilly, that is their right, if Grumps or anyone else choses not to buy at Home Depot, that is his right. If he tells Home Depot why he is choosing to go to a competitor that is not intimidation, that is reverse marketing. If Home Depot chooses to stop sponsoring O’Reilly, that is their right, and O’Reilly can still say what he wants, just as you can, and I can. If he can’t find a new sponsor, too bad. No one is paying me or my employer big money to let me rant on TV either. And even though I don’t have an audience of millions, I can still offer my rants.

  • 16. Clifton Buck-Kauffman  |  July 29th, 2007 at 7:41 pm

    By the way: Take a couple of aspirins and see your shrink in the morning. Perhaps you are getting sick because you are not defending free speech but exposing your inability to read content critically and respond appropriately.

    I appreciate your providing this forum but please do not twist what is written by others to conform or oppose your position and biases.

  • 17. grumps  |  July 30th, 2007 at 5:37 am


    Just because I believe O’Reilly has the right to say almost any of the stupid crap that rols off his spleen and over his tongue (libel and slander notwithstanding) and will fight for his right to vent it doesn’t mean that I have to leave it unchallenged.

    My dollars don’t have to support his trashmouth. Sponsor should be told wen you are giving them business because of the activities they support. I have made purchases solely because of a company’s support for a race team or sponsorship of an event. I make it a point to tell them that they have earned my trade by their actions.

    I have also tried to tell businesses why they have lost my trade, whether it is through poor service, bad products or a style of corporate citizenship which offends me. By choice I will not go into a Cracker Barrel. When given the chance I tell them why through comment cards or on their website.

    This is going on right now with the NFL. Michael Vick’s card is being pulled from the new sets being released, his jersey is off the racks, even the league has decided that they do not wish to be associated with Vick and the talent he is selling because of his actions. The free market in action. Choices have consequences.

    Should the government censor O’Reilly and his ilk? Heavens no. Why give him the status of a martyr? Should I tell Home Depot that their actions are abhorrent to me? Absolutely. Then they can decide how to spend their sponsorship dollars to attract my demographic. O’Reilly can still get the local body shop and laundromat to support him.


    You’ve wandered into the wrong argument. I think you want to be over at Boot and Sabers. Two over on the right and then straight on until you hear the squabbling.

  • 18. Elliot  |  July 30th, 2007 at 8:44 am

    You’ve wandered into the wrong argument. I think you want to be over at Boot and Sabers. Two over on the right and then straight on until you hear the squabbling.

    Now, that’s funny.

    Anyway, everyone should note that I never said consumers don’t have a right to boycott or that boycotting was the equivalent of government censorship. (Sometimes what a writer doesn’t say is just as meaningful as what he does.)

    However, while the means are legitimate, I still think the ultimate goal (suppression of someone else’s speech) is abhorrent AND the antithesis of the way liberals used to venerate free speech…

    …which was exactly what I said in the post at the head of this comment train. ;)

  • 19. jj  |  July 30th, 2007 at 10:38 am

    Just out of curiosity for those on the left…. How many of you actually have watched Fox News and/or O’Reilly? I’m wondering if this is the David Letterman “I’ve never watched your show or read your column, but I think everything you say is full of crap” mentality.

    I actually watch O’Reilly quite a bit, and haven’t seen or heard many of the “complaints” or “hate speech” that I have seen railed against him. He calls people pinheads, but that’s a pretty mild insult in today’s world of political commentary.

  • 20. James  |  July 30th, 2007 at 5:56 pm

    I love when a liberal can’t answer a non-liberal and then they just start insulting the non-liberal. Makes my day, thank you!

  • 21. folkbum  |  July 30th, 2007 at 8:04 pm

    Michael/Elliot: This is not a campaign to suppress speech. That would involve complaints to the FCC (a conservative staple) or a campaign directed at FOX News itself to kick O’Reilly off the air. That isn’t happening. No one, at least in this campaign, is doing any such thing.

    jj, I don’t watch O’Reilly, but I actuall saw that Letterman. And while I think Letterman may not have been on sturdy footing to say what he said, seconds later Bill O’Reilly lied. Bald-faced, red-lipped lied. O’Reilly repeated the lie that a Wisconsin school district wouldn’t let students sing “O Christmas Tree” when, in reality, the students were performing a play that featured different lyrics to that music.

    The truth–from the district officials and the playwright, among others–had been available to O’Reilly for months. But he repeated the lie to Letterman.

    If that is even remotely like what O’Reilly offers on a daily basis, then I understand why people question his show.

    (The funniest thing: In his tirades recently against Daily Kos, O’Reilly has complained about references to the Pope as a “primate.” Aside from the fact that, biologically, the Pope–and you and me and everyone else–is a primate, one of the titles the Pope bears is “Primate of Italy.” The only Daily Kos comment that anyone could find with the Pope and the word primate made reference that title!)

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