Who Has the Right To Dissent?
By Tammy Bruce -- Broadcasting & Cable, 7/27/2003 8:00:00 PM
Recently, there has been a lot of Congressional hand-wringing about media conglomeration, focusing on the red herring that consolidation results in, as Senator Barbara Boxer put it, "Communist and Nazi tactics in controlling opinions their citizens hear."
That's a little silly, because, as a Democrat, Boxer should know that there has been a witch hunt in an effort to limit freedom of expression and controlling opinions—and it rests not with the new Scary Big Company bogeyman but with her cronies who run leftist special-interest groups.
After all, the thought police haven't suddenly been unleashed. The technique of trying to virtually assassinate those who dissent was perfected by leftist special-interest groups years ago, with Dr. Laura [Schlessinger] as the target of an effort by gay extremists fronted by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) because she dared to utter an opinion unapproved-of by the Left Elite.
The National Organization for Women continues its "Flush Rush" campaign, decrying Rush Limbaugh's "hate" speech. These days, of course, anything that counters the leftist agenda is labeled "hate."
Many have compared Cumulus's decision to pull the Dixie Chicks from the airwaves for a month in response to listener outrage at their insult of the president to the specious attacks against Dr. Laura. The two couldn't be more different. One was a corporation responding to a natural and massive marketplace rejection of the singing trio. Americans en masse were insulted and disgusted by their behavior, and we wanted them to know. Cumulus had every right to respond to American sentiment as it saw fit.
The same can't be said when it comes to what happened to Dr. Laura. As a feminist and gay activist, and as a friend of the woman at issue, I saw the attacks as vile as they were false and perpetuated by a well funded group of five people fronted by a gay special-interest group.
Did Congress launch hearings over that brouhaha? Did Barbara Boxer bemoan how we were all turning into Nazis? Of course not. Because it's fine with Democrats when the agenda suits their own. Actually, the current concern over media consolidation has less to do with worry about a singing trio and everything to do with Rupert Murdoch, a man who doesn't identify as a Democrat and offers an alternative political and cultural point of view to Americans.
The reality is this: Americans like Dr. Laura, and they don't like the Dixie Chicks. And no matter how hard they try, it must remain individuals in the free marketplace, not GLAAD or Barbara Boxer, who determine who stays on the air and who goes. There's also nothing that leftwing bullies or Senate Democrats can do about the fact that Americans are rejecting CNN and embracing Fox. But watch: They'll continue to try to limit alternative ideas and silence the opinions of those who disagree all in the name of freedom of expression.
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