So yesterday, during our ideas meeting, Andy suggested we do something on the latest Supreme Court ruling, which was in favor of Westboro Baptist Church.
To sum up: The father of a fallen Marine had sued the church, saying their protests were intentionally meant to inflict distress. The Court disagreed, saying these creeps had a right to promote their “message.”
We skipped the story because we felt any mention of Westboro is a win for Westboro.
Which is still true, today.
But I’m bringing them up anyway, because, the ruling sucks.
Look – If you can’t yell “fire” in a crowded theater – which is an act meant to cause harm – how are the actions of the Phelps any different?
Their whole schtick, after all, is using language and props to incite grieving folks to violence.
That ain’t freedom of speech, it’s a pack of ghouls looking for trouble.
And it makes me wonder if the Supreme Court – and the media – would feel different if the Phelps were to crash a black church carrying signs with the “n-word” all over them. Of course, the Phelps would never do that: the cowards wouldn’t make it out alive.
Mourners are easier pickings.
Which is why they should be protected.
So what’s the solution? Passing laws keeping these weirdos a safe distance away would help. But for the media, it’s time to bring back that old fashioned time-tested practice: shame.
We, the media, must agree to turn our backs on Westboro. Because, if no one reports on a protest, then – like that proverbial tree falling in the forest – it never happened.
And, you know, for the Phelps – being ignored is a punishment worse than hell.
And if you disagree with me, then you sir are worse than Westboro.
KABC’s John Phillips