The cognitive dissonance on Fox News is amazing. They supported the First Amendment rights of Chick fil-A's president to make anti-gay comments while also supporting the Family Research president's complaint about the Southern Poverty Law Center's First Amendment right to designate, as a hate group, the FRC. In discussing the man behind the incendiary anti-Islamic video, Fox's Megyn Kelly focused on his free speech. In discussions involving persecuted Christians, Fox pundits invariably bring up free speech. But, on Fox, not all free speech is created equal. The one true Fox priest, Fr. Jonathan Morris, during his last Sunday sermon, seemed to suggest that the President of Iran should not be entitled to free speech when in the US. It's funny. While Morris called out Ahmadinejad on "hate speech," he's never called out any Fox and other right wing media/religious activists for their hate speech. Forget cognitive dissonance! How bout hypocrisy?
Alisyn Camerota set the tone by reporting on the President of Iran's "hate filled speech" before the UN. The problem here is that, according to the transcript and the reactions of some media sites, Ahmadinejad "shelved most of his usual hate speech and invoked Jesus Christ in a mellow farewell address Wednesday at the United Nations." There was no holocaust denying or anti-Israel rhetoric. According to Reuel Marc Gerecht, of "The Daily Beast," Ahmadinejad "showed his soft side." The Fox chyron advanced the requisite bogus Fox created "outrage" in its description of the speech: "UN Speech Outrage, Ahmadinejad Takes Center Stage With Rant." Camerota asked if "it's best to ignore his comments. Should he even be given the opportunity to speak there?"
Clayton Morris advanced the bogus narrative of "a lot of hateful stuff" coming from Ahmadinejad. He claimed that "the list is long" and asked how we should respond when we practice freedom of religion and "invite this guy to come here...and who is being intolerant here?" Roger Ailes' personal padre said "that there is a difference between allowing someone to speak freely and give their opinion and another thing is to incite violence." (So would Morris condemn those who made the video that incited Muslims to riot and threaten American personnel and property?) He explained that the right of free speech doesn't give him the right to yell fire in a crowded theater. He claimed that Ahmadinejad's speech was "inciteful and hateful" and "not just a question of opinion." (Like Bill O'Reilly's jihad against Dr. Tiller?)
He blithered about how "shocking" this is because the UN was founded on the desire to avoid mutual destruction and "here we have a platform being given to someone who has called for the destruction of Israel." As he read from the UN's "Universal Declaration of Human Rights," the chyron highlighted the only reference in the speech to Zionists: "'Uncivilized Zionists,IranPresident's Harsh Claims About Israelis." Part of the "Declaration" talked about treating people with dignity - a proscription not followed on Fox! Alisyn Camerota said that Ahmadinejad was violating the declaration with his anti-Semitic, "hate- filled spewings." Fr. Morris chided other countries in the Arab world for not calling out this hate speech. I was reminded of Bill O'Reilly when Fr. Morris said that Ahmadinejad "has the ability to incite violence."
While Ahmadinejad's speech can be toxic, it has no impact on our daily lives. Meanwhile, closer to home, the homophobic hate speech of the Christian right is responsible for inciting violence towards gays and inculcating, in youth raised in Christian homophobic families, guilt and shame that frequently leads to suicide. What does Fr. Morris think of the vitriol hurled at women walking into Planned Parenthood? (Oh right, he's probably with the vitriol hurlers!). Does Fr. Morris think that the hateful things said about President Obama, by fellow Catholic Sean Hannity, are acceptable? Does he think that the right wing slut shaming of Sandra Fluke was fine? How bout the recent comment of Morris' Christian pal, James Robinson, who said that not protesting gay marriage" would be like stepping back when suddenly the public has decided to allow pedophiles to play in the public parks and there was nothing we could do about it because we refused to take a stand." If comparing gays to pedophiles isn't hate speech, I don't know what is!
If Fr. Morris wants to talk curtailing First Amendment rights of those who spew hate speech, he should start with Fox News!
And if Morris is concerned about Ahmadinejad's anti-Semitic comments, perhaps he should examine Rush Limbaugh's anti-Muslim "hate" speech. (Thanks Daily Kos for leading off the article with my quote!!!!)
The issue of free speech is a sore one for me because the protection thereof has been more selective than most Americans realise.
Every few years since the UN was founded (with very strong American support, BTW), ignoramuses have been wont to demand a ban on entry into the USA of the representatives of certain countries to the UN. Each time that has happened, several countries have volunteered to take over as the host country. Their applications – like that of the USA signed in 1948 – carry the promise that the representatives of a member state (and even some non-members, like Palestine) will NEVER but NEVER be barred entry on the grounds. The whole purpose of the UN is to promote dialogue with those countries and yet the ignoramuses refuse to the extraterritorial status of the UN.
That said, the USA has often refused a visa to people on political grounds, especially if they didn’t sign a stupid letter saying they’d never been communists or socialists. Try explaining that to people who admired the USA for its emphasis on free speech. Living abroad has placed me in contact with people from the full spectrum, from far right (fascists and nazis) to far left and the former have never had any difficulty getting a visa. About ten years ago, Dario Fo (Nobel Prize for Culture) was refused entry until somebody reminded the immigration service about the First Amendment.
Finally, as a teenager in Florida (late 50s), I wanted to see for myself what all the fuss about communism and nazism was. I had no difficulty in getting a copy of Mein Kamp but my parents were called in by the teachers to explain why I wanted to read the Manifest. Pardon me if I may appear somewhat skeptic about free speech as practised by the USA.
Rant over (told ya it was one of my “betes noires”)
Oh. And did I forget to mention that the earliest protests, led by Evangelical right-wing Christians, also included a lot of anti-Semitic commentary? Some of the protests included language that would’ve been right at home at any of Hitler’s rallies (accusations, for instance, that Jews were financing the film to “destroy” Christianity and even some calls for the studio to fire any Jewish employees who’d supported the film’s development).
(As an aside, maybe Father Johnny might want to remember HIS Church’s long tradition of anti-Semitic attitudes before he starts lending support for a group condemning someone else’s anti-Semitism.)
But, this IS FoxNoise, where hypocrisy is the rule of the day/week/month/year/decade/century/millennium.
No difference, outside of choice in wording.
Which leads me to resurrect the point I made elsewhere: The most common trait of fascists and violent extremists is to assume anyone with the same ideas has the same intentions. It’s the first flag up on many of the worst ones. So how much is it saying that the right thinks this speech makes him a genocidal racist that dreams of a multi-country dictatorship?!