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Monday, March 4, 2013
Robert Benne’s Feb. 27 commentary (“Is there still freedom after speech?”), ostensibly about free and open discussion, casts a darker shadow. Advocates for progressive causes — from legal equality for minorities to responsible stewardship of the Earth — have gotten, in his view, too aggressive.
Strangely, Benne identifies these voices with power, specifically the mainstream media. His reasoning suggests that popular media depictions of minority groups and environmental issues represent the views of some imagined revolutionary vanguard. Yet these are the same news sources that are owned by large corporations with interlocking directorates: Rather chilly ground for communist agitation, no?
Benne’s notion that speech suppression is a one-sided affair organized by leftists ignores a more complex reality. Consider the 2010 firing of Octavia Nasr by CNN for “editorializing.” Her offense? A personal Tweet expressing sorrow over the passing of a respected Lebanese Shia cleric (Nasr herself is Maronite Catholic).
Her dismissal came from the boardroom rather than the street (there was no popular outcry). She was targeted by establishment interests: The landlords, not the peasants, did her in. Fact is, this is the dynamic that is more at work today than the one Benne describes.
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