The network's anti-free speech campaign marches on

June 30, 2011|By Luke Broadwater

What is happening to MSNBC? They've veered off into left-wing politics (which I thought were supposed to be encouraging of free speech) and, all of a sudden, they've turned into anti-free speech zealots.

First, Ed Schultz gets suspended for calling Laura Ingraham a "right-wing slut" (which, admittedly, is a tremendously stupid, misogynistic thing to say) but now the network has taken it a step further: Suspending Time editor Mark Halperin over calling President Obama -- brace yourself -- a "dick."

Where to even start with this lameness? 

First off, (avert your eyes!) "dick" doesn't mean that Halperin actually thinks that Obama is an organ of male anatomy. Its current vernacular usage is something more along the lines of "mean jerk." 

And what if Halperin's view of Obama's work-harder speech to Congress yesterday was that the president came across as a hypocritical jerk? He's not allowed to say that? If someone's being (duck!) a dick, it's not OK to call them that on MSNBC? Why? 

Halperin's sin isn't that he alleged some falsity about Obama. His sin was being impolite. 

But in an era in which Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Newt Gingrich, Glenn Beck, etc., are able to go on Fox News and imply their opponents are "nazis" -- and Keith Olbermann has done the same thing -- calling someone (watch out!) a "dick" is the least of our worries. 

And it's not just Fox or MSNBC that engages in impolite language from time to time. It's everyone. It's you, me, friends and coworkers, strangers on the street. Even the president, himself.

Think about it: Did the country suspend Obama when he called Kanye West a "jackass"? Or when he made fun of Special Olympics' kids bowling? 

Last time I checked, this was supposed to be America. Now and then, politically incorrect free speech (you know, the way most people talk all the time) will slip into television. Gasp! Horror of horrors! 

The correct response for saying a mildly offensive phrase is to apologize (or not, depending on whether the offended party is sympathetic. Special Olympics? Yes. Kanye? Nah.) and then move on. We've got bigger problems to worry about in this country than being offended by a couple bad words. 

And that includes -- cover your ears! -- the word "dick." 

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