But as the group think outrage continued and built for several days, I found almost no one actually defending free speech or free thought. No one, that is, except Bill Maher. And Maher was actually under attack!
Bloggers, especially conservative bloggers, were attacking Ann Coulter. Somehow conservatives felt morally compelled to condemn Coulter. They felt some sort of need to cleanse their collective souls. To get the full force of the conservative blogosphere's unified condemnation of Coulter, I suggest you read this compilation of conservative reaction to Coulter by Michelle Malkin.
But the conservatives didn't stop there. In order to claim even more high ground in the "politically correct" debate, conservatives turned their attack on to Bill Maher recent "discussion" of the attempted assassination of Vice President Cheney.
Here's the often repeated conservative mantra: "We condemn our own when they use hate speech, but the evil liberals never raise a peep when similar (or much worse) hate speech is spewed by a fellow liberal.
Here's what Maher said to cause such moral outrage. Edited from a transcript provided by Rick Moran (you can read both the transcript and conservative Moran's outrage here).
|Maher: What about the people who got onto the Huffington Post – and these weren’t even the bloggers, these were just the comments section – who said they, they expressed regret that the attack on Dick Cheney failed.|
Joe Scarborough: Right
John Ridley: More than regret.
Maher: Well, what did they say?
Ridley: They said “We wish he would die.” I mean, it was (?) hate language.
Barney Frank: They said the bomb was wasted. (laughter and applause)
Maher: That’s a funny joke. But, seriously, if this isn’t China, shouldn’t you be able to say that? Why did Arianna Huffington, my girlfriend, I love her, but why did she take that off right away?
Ridley: It’s one thing to say you hate Dick Cheney, which applies to his politics. It’s another thing to say, “I’m sorry he didn’t die in an explosion.” And I think, you know…
Maher: But I have zero doubt that if Dick Cheney was not in power, people wouldn’t be dying needlessly tomorrow. (applause)
Scarborough: If someone on this panel said that they wished that Dick Cheney had been blown up, and you didn’t say…
Frank: I think he did.
Scarborough: Okay. Did you say…
Maher: No, no. I quoted that.
Frank: You don’t believe that?
Maher: I’m just saying if he did die, other people, more people would live. That’s a fact.
You have to work hard to miss the points that Maher and Coulter were trying to make. Maher was condemning The Huffington Post for deleting readers comments from their website. Arianna Huffington "cleansed" her website of posts implying (or outright saying) they regretted that the Afghan suicide bomber hadn't "taken out" Vice President Cheney.
Coulter was saying (with the most amazing premonition) that you cannot use the word "faggot" without being forced into "rehabilitation" (a joke clearly aimed at television star Isaiah Washington's punishment for his remarks about fellow gays on the set of Grays Anatomy).
Boy was Coulter ever right. She used the word and now faced near total condemnation. She now finds herself in "virtual" rehab.
But I digress. My point is that the only real villain here is Arianna Huffington. She exercised unwarranted and undue censorship by deleting dozens (hundreds?) of comments from her website to simply avoid the negative press.
Coulter comments are just her classic satirical zingers. But all bloggers and conservatives are well within their rights in their verbal rebuke and their efforts to now shun her.
Bill Maher was well within his rights in making the comments he made. He did it in the right venue and reflected the views of many anti-war, anti-neocon people. But, here again, Maher's critics are also well within their rights in condemning Mahar.
This is called debate. So long as no one is actually trying to silence the other side, this is good honest debate.
But Maher was especially right in questioning Huffington's removal of comments by her readers. It was Huffington who denied her own readers of their free speech. In a comments section at that.
By the way, this isn't the first time Huffington has restricted comments and prevented open discussion. Normally her editorial control is used to simply push her "progressive" agenda. You can read about another flap and my personal experiences here.
TECHNORATI TAGS: FREE SPEECH ANN COULTER HUFFINGTON POST BILL MAHER RICK MORAN MICHELLE MALKIN CONSERVATIVE LIBERAL PROGRESSIVE
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