Does One Person’s Free Speech Trump Another’s?
It goes without saying that Don Imus’ comments about the Rutgers University Women’s basketball team were deplorable, unacceptable, and never should have been uttered. My goal is not to excuse his behavior in any way, but to attempt to draw attention to the hypocrisy that is so thick in the media, and society as a whole, that publicly punishing him when others go unmentioned, tends to minimize the impact of those doing the punishing… and the offense itself.
While Imus stole a golden moment from this hard-working team of young women, insulting them, and frustrating their lives by the unwanted attention this situation has thrust upon their lives, he has also inadvertently given them more than their 15 minutes of fame. After their press conference, we all now know they are much more than fine athletes, they are women of substance, worthy of our respect, who could never be defined by one man’s thoughtless comments.
But someone please explain the premise of ‘free speech’ to me again – it has gotten so muddled in the mire of this latest controversy. With the usual players coming out of the woodwork for their airtime, taking up the cause du jour, how are any of us supposed to give the issue the consideration it deserves? It has always been my understanding that free speech extends to everyone, not just those we agree with. It’s easy to allow the airwaves to be filled with opinions and comments that don’t offend us, but why is it that only when certain subjects of offense arise, there are those who wish to draw a line? And who says THEY get to decide where they line is drawn, anyway?
Why does Rosie O’Donnell get to spew her “view” every day, influencing the ignorant with her propaganda that ranges from irate rhetoric to something that can only be labeled “absurd”, but no one wants to take up that cause? Why do we hear no one calling for her to be fired or fined or suspended? And why no call for boycotts? This woman badmouths the President of the United States on a regular basis, which apparently is “chic”, and therefore… “acceptable? More acceptable than a racist remark, I guess. And Rosie’s radical personal opinions about our country only serve to fuel the terrorists’ resolve and hatred toward us. Why is that an acceptable form of free speech?
Why are Al and Jesse and the media ok with THAT?