A liberal stands up for free speech

By Tom Quiner

Liberals aren’t comfortable with free speech.

They created “political correctness” (PC) as a device to limit improper thought (e.i. conservative free speech).

Even a liberal reporter like Juan Williams felt the sting of PC by getting fired from National Public Radio a few years ago for simply voicing his concerns about Islam.

Liberals push for the reinstatement of the “Fairness Doctrine” which would, in fact, unfairly limit conservative free speech. When that doesn’t work, due to a quaint idea known as the First Amendment, they call for advertiser boycotts of Rush Limbaugh for being too, well, politically incorrect.

Interestingly, a liberal, Alan Colmes, came to the defense of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and other conservative talk radio hosts.

I’m no fan of Alan Colmes, one of Fox News’ liberal commentators. Mr. Colmes said horrible things about Rick Santorum in the last election cycle, which I wrote about in a piece titled “The vicious Left.”

On the other hand, Mr. Colmes balanced out Sean Hannity when he used to appear on Sean’s show a few years ago. Hannity is far more strident since the departure of his liberal counterpart.

Writing on Fox News’ website, Mr. Colmes expressed four reasons why liberals should not call for an advertiser boycott of conservative talk shows. For starters, it won’t get rid of these shows, says Colmes. He clears the air on why Sean and Rush were changing stations, and it had nothing to do with them getting fired:

“First, that’s not at all what happened, as these shows will land elsewhere.”

He goes further. He says that ultimately Rush and company are good for free speech:

“Second, and even more importantly, these two broadcasters, with whom I vehemently, vocally, and publicly disagree politically, have done more to keep the talk radio industry alive than anyone else.

It’s because of the success of these two shows that many stations have stayed in the talk format in the first place, allowing other shows to be heard. Much as liberals don’t have nearly as many outlets as conservatives (According to Talkers Magazine, conservatives own the lion’s share of the news/talk market), it would be even worse for the left if these shows weren’t making it, because the industry would be closer to collapse at a time when terrestrial radio is struggling.”

Mr. Colmes says a boycott is even bad for liberals:

“Third, a boycott hurts the entire business. Advertisers run scared and are encouraged to avoid controversy, and that affects all programming, including progressive hosts.”

Finally, working against the liberal grain, he stands up for free speech:

“Fourth, what kind of liberal wants to clamp down on free speech and celebrate shutting someone up?”

The best antidote to free speech is — free speech. As the German theologian Martin Niemoller famously said, “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist…”

I may disagree with Alan Colmes on many issues, but I appreciate his defense of free speech.

You can read his complete essay, titled “How liberals have it wrong about Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity” at FoxNews.com. I encourage you to do so.