Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Cancellation of the Reagan mini-series

I'm not particularly political, it's not a sport I'm very interested in, I prefer sports like basketball or soccer. I am also not a fan nor a detractor of Ronald Reagan; I took even less interest in politics in the 80's than I do now. But when I heard some of the quotes from the script of "The Reagans" I was angered by this new method of character assassination and abuse of the freedom of speech.

I think the founding fathers must be spinning in their graves at the kind of abuse that passes for freedom of speech these days. Back when the US was founded they knew what freedom of speech meant because for years it had been denied them by a repressive imperial government. If you spoke out of line you ended up in jail or worse. Now we see things like pornography, pirating of copyrights and outright lies defended as "freedom of speech".

Want to know what freedom of speech really is? Then go to North Korea, Iran or China and start speaking out against those repressive regimes. You'll soon get the idea.

But perhaps there is hope for true freedom of speech. The public outcry against the Reagan mini-series was fueled in large part by such non-mainstream media outlets as the Drudge Report and talk radio. Thanks to the Internet, people were able to deluge CBS with complaints to the point where it became clear to the powers-that-be at CBS that this show was going to be a major embarrassment to them, so they pulled the plug.

Another good sign was something I heard on the radio this morning. It was on KNX 1070 in LA, which is a CBS radio station. A reporter was interviewing the TV critic of the LA Times. I thought, "here we go", CBS interviewing a guy from a very left-leaning paper. The outcome seemed obvious. But I was wrong. The interviewer was trying to characterize the pressure on CBS as coming from the famous "great right-wing conspiracy" that was dreamed up during the Clinton era, but the TV critic was having none of it and simply pointed out that a "docu-drama" that was full of lies shouldn't be aired in the first place and that the producers should have made sure it was truthful then no one could have complained about it.

And I think that is the essence of what freedom of speech is all about: TRUTH.

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