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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Free Speech Falling All Around

It's snowing again on Collins Avenue. Noel and I went to Cracker Barrel this morning to use a gift certificate and watched a woman fall on an icy patch in the parking lot as we were enjoying the roaring fire in their stone fireplace. The neighborhood roads are horrible. Main roads are fine.

So much news this morning! Ron Paul decries Lincoln and Will Smith finds the goodness in Hitler. The reaction? Folks act as if the earth had shifted its axis. Could Lincoln have avoided the Civil War as Paul said? Perhaps he could have. It is a valuable learning tool for us to consider the possibilities. Was there an inkling of good in Hitler? I tend to think, like Smith, that there is good in everyone and we are all, and each of us, capable of incredible good or bad.

Sometimes I'm ashamed to be a member of the press. Good reporters understand context and to twist Smith's remarks is inexcusable. Likewise, to paint Paul as patently wrong because he questions the actions of an icon is small-minded and ignorant. I'll be back at Fort Leavenworth in January as a part of media training, and I find myself on the hotseat defending the role of the media. I absolutely and steadfastly believe that the Freedom of the Press is our greatest protection, but defending the profession isn't always easy, especially when ridiculous headlines like the one involving Will Smith's statements are spread across the screen.
Free speech is hanging by a precious, thin, thread.

1 comment:

Leslie Shelor said...

I think it was C. S. Lewis that once wrote an essay indicating that no one sets out intentionally to do an evil action. When I applied this thought to Hitler, I was surprised at the intensity of argument I faced.

I think you're right about free speech being in danger. Everyone is too concerned with being politically correct instead of thinking or exploring the possibilities of history.

And now I'm going to have to go out and defend Will Smith. I love that man!