Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Don't Pull the Plug on Hank Williams Jr.

Since when is expressing your point of view about the President of the United States of America a firing offense? I mean, I thought we had this little thingy called the First Amendment to the Constitution which allowed Americans to express their point of view without reprisal. And, didn't we have a Revolutionary War to fight for liberty and justice for all? Aren't our troops currently in Iraq and Afghanistan losing life and limb fighting for our freedoms? Okay that last line was a snark, but you get my drift.

Before the Hank Williams Jr. has the right to say what ever he wants and ESPN has the right to fire him chorus kicks in full gear, think about it...if expressing your beliefs gets you fired do you really have freedom of expression? No.

ESPN is slidding down the slippery slope of censorship.
Censorship is the suppression of speech or other public communication which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient to the general body of people as determined by a government, media outlet, or other controlling body.

Do I agree with Williams comparison of President Obama to Hitler? Hell no I don't.

Do I respect his right to compare President Obama to Hitler? Hell yes I do.

"Freedom isn't Free", remember?

Are you ready for some football?

1 comment:

yellowdog said...

Free speech in Corporate America isn't free.

There are consequences to saying what is on your mind, unless you have the semi-anonymous status of a blog entry. Corporations do seek to identify bloggers who are releasing 'proprietary information', and Google, Yahoo and the rest will give you up.

When an advertisement creates controversy (Hank Williams) consumers are affected. Advertisements are not supposed to rock the boat. Neither are execs and employees, nothing that can change control of the message - and sales (consumption).

Freedom of speech is a right in regards to our government and restrictions of speech by law.

It does not protect us from any other consequences, including opinion. Careers have been destroyed by the expression of free speech, like Sinead O'Connor, Bill Maher and Politically Correct, even Glenn Beck - just a few examples in the public.

But employees are fired every day for exercising freedom of speech. Just start talking "Union" at a Walmart and see how fast you are gone.

Football broadcasts are consistent in restricting speech - Howard Cosell and Jimmy the Greek were both fired for making racially tinted comments.

We should all be aware the concept of "free speech" also requires responsibility. I have no problem with Hank Williams telling ESPN to kiss his backend. And I find no inconsistency in his comments made as a South Alabama backwoods hick as he is, although more appropriate and unremarkable on a Nascar broadcast, not a sophisticated sporting event like professional football.

But ESPN figured some East Coast liberal would send another letter to Proctor & Gamble complaining about Mr. Williams. So ESPN nipped that in the bud.

End of story, right? We'll see.

Freedom of speech. We might need to think about that.