Alex Blaze

There went the Washington Blade

Filed By Alex Blaze | April 16, 2007 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: Don Imus, freedom of speech, Jeff Gannon, Kevin Naff, Washington Blade

It's asinine statements like this that just drive me up the wall when it comes from one of our own, especially one in a position of power. This is from Kevin Neff, managing editor of the Washington Blade (Washington, D.C.'s LGBT paper), on the Imus incident:

You cannot eradicate intolerance and it's a waste of time to try. You can work for equality under the law for all citizens and then let the chips fall where they may on a level playing field. But all the finger wagging in the world won't stop people from making stupid, offensive remarks.

Imus didn't deserve to be fired and all these self-appointed enforcers of politically correct speech need to take a long look in the mirror and then read up on our nation's history of cherishing the freedom of speech. The Imus episode should have presented an opportunity for dialogue on these sticky issues of racism and sexism. Instead, it has taught us to keep our mouths shut and our prejudices in the closet.

More from Neff and my thoughts after the jump.

The wild world of radio, home to outsized personalities like Howard Stern, Rush Limbaugh, and a host of others on all sides of the political spectrum, is a place Americans have long turned for uncensored, unvarnished debate. Silencing those voices, no matter how much we may disagree with them, is a mistake.
Yes, because not giving someone a radio show on CBS radio and a cable show on MSNBC is silencing them. By Neff's logic, I'm silenced because I don't have my radio and TV shows, but I don't expect him to write up anything pitying me.

Besides the fact that he doesn't have any understanding of what freedom of speech is really about, nor does he seem to understand the power of the language that Imus used, nor does he realize that Imus's comments themselves didn't do anything to expand our national dialogue on racism or sexism, I just don't like his hopelessness in saying there's no point in trying to fight against intolerance. Isn't he one of our peoples' leaders?

Ugh. But what did I expect from the editor of the paper that hired the semi-out, homophobic, and rather unintelligent Jeff Gannon as a columnist?

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I tend to believe that there is a difference between fighting intolerance and silencing people like Imus for making idiotic remarks.

I cringe when I hear the likes of people like Michael Savage, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity,... and so on. Ann Coulter, another who apparently was not hugged enough as a child. However, these people should not lose there jobs anymore than Imus should have because isn't it better to know who these people are, then to silence them all just so that we can walk around and not be offended?

At the end of the day, Imus losing his job changes nothing. Really, what has silencing him affected? Other than leaving us to wonder who's next, and on what grounds.

All that people learn from this is to keep the explicit in. When people stop voicing their bigotry, it doesn't suddenly change their attitudes. And, I would prefer to know who people are rather than live in la la land where my feelings won't be hurt.

Art Farnsley has an interesting post up at the American Values Alliance site about this topic too as does Lalita Amos.