CHICAGO, February 20, 2012 — Pat Buchanan is gone from MSNBC. The controversial pundit was fired because ideas in his book, “Suicide of a Superpower.” Their reason is that Buchanan’s words “… aren’t really appropriate for national dialogue, much less the dialogue on MSNBC,” according to MSNBC president Phil Griffin.
Mr. Griffin also stated some of Mr. Buchanan’s ideas are “alarming”.
What’s alarming is Mr. Griffin refusing to admit his decision was made due to a well coordinated organizing effort by the marginal fringe groups Color of Change and Media Matters? The Anti-Defamation League piled on too, but Mr. Buchanan has many Jewish supporters, especially supporters of Israel.
And the reason is not balanced when looking at the MSNBC roster:
Al Sharpton, who espouses inflammatory ideas and has expressed overt racist, bigoted, and anti-Semitic sentiments, is employed by MSNBC. Mr. Sharpton’s ideas are appropriate for the national dialogue and the dialogue at MSNBC? Sharpton’s ideas are not alarming?
Lawrence O’Donnell and Ed Schultz express alarmist ideas and spew hate filled diatribes on their shows. Worse, they are allowed to get away with outright distortions. Their brand of alarmist dishonesty is perfectly appropriate for the national dialogue and the dialogue at MSNBC?
Until he was let go, Keith Olbermann was allowed to spew toxic sludge for years. He was the number one star at MSNBC. Olbermann was more than appropriate for the national dialogue and the dialogue at MSNBC. His ideas were not alarming?
If Mr. Griffin’s firing of Mr. Buchanan was purely a business decision that would be understandable. But, Phil Griffin made it clear Pat Buchanan was fired because of his ideas.
That is cowardly and immoral.
The ever inflammatory and alarming Andrew Sullivan, who vehemently disagrees with Pat Buchanan on just about everything, came to his defense. “…however repellent some of his views, he is intellectually honest… he has always been: true to his own ideas and a gifted writer… Compared with Al Sharpton or Ed Schultz, he is a paragon of intellectual integrity. He is not a propagandist.” (The Daily Beast)
Mr. Buchanan demanded that any racist, anti-Semitic, or homophobic quotes in his new book be cited. “What I’d ask them is this: please give me the page, the paragraph or the sentence that deliberately disparages the race or religion of any individual or any group of individuals. It’s nowhere.” (Daily Caller)
It appears no one has read the book because no racist or bigoted comments have surfaced. Professional protesters are either illiterate or refuse to take the time to read.
Pat Buchanan is an extremist, even in far right conservative circles. Many of his ideas are anachronistic. Mr. Buchanan’s ideas are perceived as insensitive to the left.
Pat Buchanan does not hate, advocate hatred, or promote violence against any group of people. That is racism and bigotry and that they do not have the intelligence to distinguish between insensitivity and racism or bigotry
Part of the media’s mission is the open honest discussion, debate, and argument of ideas, no matter how extreme, anachronistic, insensitive, or repulsive. That is what freedom of speech, press, and expression is founded upon. Intellectual and critical thinking are based on the exposure to and evaluation of all ideas.
Pat Buchanan was not a victim of blacklisting (whitelisting?) His rights were not violated. He was the target and victim of an organized and direct action. It was a well-planned and coordinated smear, stigmatize, and silencing campaign. Color of Change and Media Matters used media, social media, and letter writing, telephone, and email campaigns to silence Pat Buchanan.
Organizations and groups calling people racists or bigots through mass communication create fear. They do not have to prove their accusations. They just have to make them, then tweet and post and update their status with them.
No one would dare mount mass organizing smear campaigns against Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Ed Schultz, Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews, or Lawrence O’Donnell. No one would dare make vile claims against them, even if the accusations were true.
The motto of the British SAS is “Qui audet adipiscitur”-Who dares wins. Maybe it is time for daring. Maybe it is time to do unto others. Dare to use the tactics of the fringe to intimidate and extort.
Use organizing and direct action to get their ilk off the airwaves.
But, that would be immoral.
Conservatives believe in protecting freedom, especially the freedom of thought and ideas. Conservatives believe freedom of thought, speech, and their expression should be cherished and allowed to flourish. Liberals and progressives believe all thought must be policed, regulated, and strictly controlled.
It would be morally wrong to dare. It would be immoral to stifle voices. Just as immoral as MSNBC, Color of Change, Media Matters, and all the rest of that ilk are.
Peter V. Bella is a retired Chicago Police Officer, freelance writer and photographer, cook, and raconteur. He likes to be the sharp stick that pokes, prods, and annoys. His opinions are his and his alone.
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