Regardless what you think of Pat Buchanan’s controversial and questionable views, it’s troublesome when the First Amendment is abridged by small, partisan groups who’ve made it their mission to streamline diversity of thought to less voices, not more. Buchanan announced last night that he was forced off air by Van Jones’s Color of Change and the under-fire Media Matters:
The calls for my firing began almost immediately with the Oct. 18 publication of “Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?”
A group called Color of Change, whose mission statement says that it “exists to strengthen Black America’s political voice,” claimed that my book espouses a “white supremacist ideology.” Color of Change took particular umbrage at the title of Chapter 4, “The End of White America.”
Media Matters parroted the party line: He has blasphemed!
Without a hearing, they smear and stigmatize as racist, homophobic or anti-Semitic any who contradict what George Orwell once called their “smelly little orthodoxies.” They then demand that the heretic recant, grovel, apologize, and pledge to go forth and sin no more.
Defy them, and they will go after the network where you work, the newspapers that carry your column, the conventions that invite you to speak. If all else fails, they go after the advertisers.
That’s the difference between conservatives and progressives: conservatives want the diversity of voices, even if they disagree with the thought or if the thought is offensively over-the-top sensational. They’re eager to debate it out in the open and prove it wrong. They desire nothing more than to win converts by proving how illogical or immoral the opposite viewpoint is while using logic and reason. Progressives, on the other hand, desire none of those things, regardless whether or not the opposing viewpoint is sensational or simply one with which they disagree. Their idea of debate is quasi-censorship: blacklisting diversity from the airwaves. They’re either too lazy or too incompetent to debate the issues, so they resort to hiding them altogether. They don’t engage, they persecute and suppress. It’s weak and unAmerican.
I may whole-heartedly disagree with your sentiment, but I’m not going to call for your removal from the airwaves. I’ll debate you in the public square but I won’t press for your firing as my belief in your free speech doesn’t hinge upon whether or not you believe in mine; and my belief in the right of a private company to set standards as it pleases — except when those decisions come by way of outside pressure from fascist squeaky wheels who demand that their influence on an entity exceed their actual relevance in reality.
But Buchanan has been saying this sort of thing for over a decade, so why does it only bother MSNBC now? The answer is that US television is moving in a new, worrying direction. As viewers abandon the networks in droves, they are realigning themselves away from balanced news-making and towards becoming propaganda arms for either Left or Right.
I disagree with the conclusion that to be a Constitutional conservationist is to be “right” wing. It’s a poorly defined and misapplied broad brush and that vapidness the author describes later in his piece is unfortunately, and inadvertently, demonstrated by its use here.
It’s not that the audience is dividing into left and right wings: media has always been like this, it’s just amplified because our means of mass distribution are obviously greater than what they were and the opportunity for deceit is greater due to more media avenues and the complexity of an ever-increasing government. People turn to op/ed broadcasting because they at least know what they’re getting. There is more honesty and integrity in the presentation of a decidedly left or right-wing program than the presentation of objectivity in a straight-laced nightly news broadcast which is anything but.
Buchanan was MSNBC’s token conservative designed to be a off-putting stereotypical caricature. His presence was debated from day one and MSNBC finally walked back their own decision solely because of notoriously partisan and hypocritical propaganda groups. For instance: how can Media Matters charge Buchanan with antisemitism when they defend it, use it, and are under attack for it themselves?
Buchanan is an example of tactics; these groups have enacted such action against numerous individuals for years, even individuals far less controversial than Buchanan.
In the end, those perpetuating this abridgment of speech are the biggest losers.