And I can't tell you how many times I've seen similar hate speech used in response to articles published on polyamory in places like the Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, Chicago Sun-Times, etc. These mainstream newspapers are routinely excoriated for focusing on the topic. When the Washington Post published an indepth article on polyamory in February of this year, commenters hotly criticized the Post specifically for the length and visibility of the article. What ticked them off the most was that a large portion of it was positioned on the page opposite the comics section, thus resulting in accusations of "exposing children to unwholesome, anti-family content." Oh puleeze! Give it a break already. (And while you're at it, I recommend reading Judith Levine's excellent book Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children from Sex.)
Anyway! I consider all forms of hate speech to be an irresponsponsible abuse of the right to free speech. In further connecting the dots on this subject, you may recall that I posted here several weeks ago about the horrendous, hate speech motivated shooting at Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in my home town of Knoxville, Tennessee.
Tonight the PBS program Bill Moyers Journal examines "Shock Jock" media and it's role in the TVUUC shooting. I cannot say how much I applaud Moyers' and PBS's courage in taking on this topic and such right-wing media personalities as Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and (holding my nose) Ann Coulter.
The PBS website blurb on the program is as follows:
What happens when America's airwaves fill with hate? BILL MOYERS JOURNAL takes a tough look at the hostile industry of "Shock Jock" media with a hard-hitting examination of its effects on our nation's political discourse. The JOURNAL traveled to Knoxville, where a recent shooting at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church has left the pastor asking what role hateful speech from popular right-wing media personalities may have played in the tragedy. "A lot of people are hurling insults from the safety of television studios, the safety of radio studio, the safety of cyberspace," says Rev. Chris Buice, "So that's a void in our community — the chance to be in the same room and to have these exchanges and remember the humanity of the person on the other side.
Chris Buice and Bill Moyers are my heroes! You can check your local listings for the time this airs here. I'd love to have your comments, so please stop by after you see this important program and tell me what you think
Post show update: You can see the video of it here.