Monday, April 8, 2013

Speak No Evil

I think you all probably recognize that the idea of constitutionally protected free speech is only a restriction for Government and not private enterprise.

So, if you work for a media outlet and you want to exercise your freedom of speech as protected by the US Constitution, you can be blocked by your employer, or they can refuse to publish what you want to say.

I’ve recently been advised in my writing that I should avoid an overly negative tone and that I should discuss things in a more general nature instead of mentioning specific events or personalities.
Needless to say, this type of censoring can render the point one wants to make moot, because it will take away most or all of A MESSAGE’S context.  But, then again maybe that’s the point.

We live in a time where what we once called bad is now good.  Up is down.  And no one is supposed to notice.

So, if a prominent politician or elected official campaigned on the promise of, let’s say, a “New SUV in every drive way (I won’t use a brand name, since I’m trying to avoid specific mentions, and this could be viewed as negative) – and then subsequently not only fails to deliver on the “New SUV”, but proceeds to claim that this was never offered or promised; we’re not supposed to take notice.  And according to the standards of some Publishers, one is not to name the offender or indeed to even discuss the matter as this would obviously have the effect of being overly negative…that is, if you’re one of the people who actually believed what the politician campaigned on.

Or, perhaps if discussed at all it should be put in the best possible light, such as, after considering the obvious deleterious effects on the environment providing a “New SUV” in every driveway would cause, the wise and pragmatic politician decided that it was more important to instead require that everyone purchase a new vehicle that meets federally mandated fuel efficiency standards.

Of course, during the discussion, it would be impermissible to point out the fact that, not only are those who hoped for that “New SUV” are being ridiculed by those that did the promising, but they are also now required to purchase a new vehicle that they may not want or be able to afford.  However, it would be permissible to assert that if the circumstance is considered undesirable, it would undoubtedly be the fault of the other political party.

You may substitute whatever you wish for the “New SUV”.  Perhaps it’s a “more humble foreign policy”.  Or maybe it’s something called a “public option”.  But if you’re not allowed to discuss the specifics and the actual players involved there’s not much point in attempting to address a subject.  Freedom of speech can come at a high price, in particular when we hear and see evil, but conventional wisdom or the demands of one’s job require that we not speak of the evil in unambiguous terms.

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