Friday, April 13, 2007

Not a single tear

I cry not a single tear for the firing of Don Imus. Unlike The Rude Pundit, I don't have any hesitation or second thoughts; I'm unequivocally and unashamedly happy this racist cracker has been fired.

"Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one," says A. J. Liebling, and he's right. The man who owns the soapbox—the publisher, not the speaker—is responsible for the speech. MSNBC and CBS did not fire Imus just because a lot of people complained. They were in no way "forced" to fire him. These corporations are controlled by cold-hearted men and women who know the value of a dollar (and, sadly, little else). They believed that it was in their own interests—not his, not ours—to take their microphone away. They are no less justified in censoring Imus than they are in censoring me. (No matter how politely I ask, neither MSNBC nor CBS has yet seen fit to give me a nationally syndicated radio show.)

Don Imus has not been silenced. He has the same voice that every American has. He has lost only a bullhorn, a bullhorn he didn't pay for, a bullhorn that was lent to him because he served its owners' purposes, not because he "deserved" it by virtue of his freedom of speech. If Imus wants to buy his own radio station, or start a blog, or stand on a soapbox in the park, he's as free to do so as anyone else.

Imus's firing does not in any way imperil my own freedom of speech—at least not any more than any editorial decision by any publication ever in the history of the republic. I own my own soapbox; Google, which owns Blogger, is not my publisher but my carrier. And a common carrier cannot (aside from speech that is per se illegal, such as conspiracy or treason) ever censor content; were it to censor one blogger, it would be ipso facto be responsible for the content of all the others, by virtue of not censoring them.

2 comments:

  1. Someone on NPR had some interesting comments this morning. Imus has been doing this for years. When the targets are scuzzy politicians and whacked out celebs, no one gives a rat's ass.

    Imus simply picked the wrong group to mess with in an ugly way this time, and finally the tide turned.

    Good riddance.

    --Ron

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