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First Amendment

The First Amendment is still Alive and Well

In March 2012, a group led by Jane Fonda called “The Woman’s Media Center” publically called for the FCC to remove Rush Limbaugh from the airwaves.  Their argument was basically that because (as they see it) Mr. Limbaugh belittles and mocks a wide range of groups that he is not acting “in the public interest” whatever that means.

Let me start out by saying that I have absolutely no use for whatever happens to spill out of that hole in the center of Mr. Limbaugh’s face and I “banned” him years ago.  I did it the way it should work; I don’t listen to his show.  I have no idea who sponsors his show and frankly don’t care since boycotting sponsors has never seemed like the right way to effect change.  Mr. Limbaugh has millions of followers and besides, that pesky little First Amendment has his (and my) back.

What Jane Fonda and her associates wanted was for the government to do their heavy lifting since they couldn't do it themselves.   Mr. Limbaugh is still on the air because no matter what anyone thinks of him, he is entitled to his opinions – and they are just that – his opinions.  If you choose to listen to Mr. Limbaugh that’s your prerogative; you know when Mr. Limbaugh will go off the air – when people stop listening.  If for some reason his employer decided to terminate their relationship, I am quite sure Mr. Limbaugh could find another media outlet.  This was clearly a First Amendment case and the First Amendment triumphed.  The Duck Dynasty affair has nothing to do with constitutional rights.

Until the "DD" thing hit the media I didn't even know who Phil Robertson was (nor did I care).  I can honestly say I have never watched a minute of Duck Dynasty since I have no interest in anything about what the show covers (including Mr. Robertson’s opinions on anything).  The show is very popular however with millions of regular viewers.   After his suspension by his employer, A&E Television Networks, I became aware of Mr. Robertson and his opinions.  While I find some of his opinions to be repugnant, he is 100% entitled to them.  I've heard all sorts of First Amendment talk regarding his suspension.  He wasn't kicked off the air by the government so frankly the First Amendment isn't even germane to the situation.  He was kicked off by the owner of the network.  I don’t know what sort of clauses are in his contract but my best guess is that A&E’s actions were 100% within the scope of their rights under the contract.

This whole affair played out exactly as it should have - fans made their opinions known to the network and Mr. Robertson was back.  The system does work but you have to take action.  Trust me, the other side always will.

Reviewed – August 24, 2014

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