Words Have Consequences

Words have consequences.

A couple of days ago I put up a post about recent job losses suffered by a number of conservative commentators on television and radio over remarks expressed about abortion and the teen survivors of the Parkland shootings.

https://toritto.wordpress.com/2018/04/10/on-free-speech-and-losing-your-job/

The remarks ranged from mocking over college rejections (I’m sure the young man referred to can now attend any college he wishes) to name calling (paid actors, “pussy”, “soulless”, “mushy brained children committing spiritual suicide”) to an opinion that women who have abortions should be hanged to “getting ready to shove a hot poker up his ass”

Now some of these folks lost their jobs or a portion of their income over these words – their advertisers who previously supported their shows fled in droves, not wanting to become associated with such words.  For the advertisers, the line had been crossed.

These attacks on the Parkland students did not address their issue – a ban on military style assault weapons in private hands and universal background checks on anyone purchasing a weapon.  A lot of folks support these positions.  If the issue had been directly addressed by the commentators they would still be working.  Instead they attacked the messengers.

Now a lot of folks out there, including some who waste their precious time reading this blog think that its just terrible these folks were chastised for what they said and that they should be free to say anything they like.  First Amendment ya know.

Well of course they are free to say anything they like.   I do.  Just not on someone else’s dime.

Speech is free but words have consequences.

Here on WordPress I can express just about any opinion I like – at least for now.  Why?  Well you see, I don’t get paid; and I don’t get paid because I have no large audience.  And because I have no large audience, I HAVE NO POWER.

So nobody gives a rat’s ass what I think.  I’m just an old crank living in Florida.  Nobody is going to fire me for calling Donald Trump a 300 lb. bag of shit.  On the other hand if I had half hour on t.v. everyday and said Donald Trump is a 300 lb. bag of shit  I’m sure I wouldn’t last the week.  Well maybe a week on Rachel Maddow’s show.  My advertisers would hear about it, drop my show and that, as they say, would be that.  That’s capitalism.

If I hd couched my opposition to Trump in policy and personality terms I would be free to oppose him.  My advertisers would continue to support me because they wanted to reach my audience.  However calling the President a 300 lb. bag of shit on live television would, I’m sure, get me fired.

Awhile back I put up a post entitled “Fundamentalism and Mental Illness.”

https://toritto.wordpress.com/2016/06/13/fundamentalism-and-mental-illness/

“Now I ask you.  Are these folks mentally ill?”

The post got 20 “likes” from the usual suspects.  Nothing happened to me; not even any attempted trolling.

Why?  Because I’m a nobody whose opinions only matter perhaps on Election Day.  If a couple of million people followed my every word on T.V. or social media I would have advertisers.  And the moment I began questioning the mental health of fundamentalist Christians they would flee.  And I would be free to speak my mind on WordPress or at the Speaker’s Corner in a local park but not on someone else’s dime.

You are free to speak when no one listens to you. Once you have an audience your words have consequences.  Try running for office as an avowed atheist.

Speak at an open election rally in any city or town in America.  Tell the folks churches should be taxed. Tell them you think god and their holy books are superstitious nonsense; a carry over from ancient times when men didn’t know why the sun rose in the morning or why the crops grew.  Tell them Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, Mary wasn’t a virgin and the wafer doesn’t turn into the body and blood of Christ when the priest says the magic words.  That’s its still just a wafer.

Not only will you not get elected; you will receive numerous death threats.  And you certainly won’t get advertisers for a show no matter how many atheists follow your tweets.

Words have consequences.  Atheists are the single largest under-represented “minority” in the nation.  There is not one single “out” non-believer in the House or Senate.  Even Trump fakes it.

I still watch NBC and CBS to try to get reasonably truthful news.  I watch nothing on Fox save the local football team during NFL season.  Nether do I watch MSNBC.   Or CNN. Or the likes of Breitbart.  I’ll peak at Salon and Huffington, Real Politics and occasionally Red State to see what the other side is thinking.

I never for a moment believed that the Parkland activists were “paid actors.” Nor did I believe the despicable shit that the children murdered in Connecticut didn’t exist at all.  Nor do I believe every other atrocity is a false flag event perpetrated by the CIA.  Some perhaps; but not all.  Nor did I believe that the Dems were running a pedophile ring in the basement of a Washington D.C. pizza joint.  One idiot did.  He went to D.C with a gun to free the children.  Moron.

I remember a time when Americans trusted their main stream media. When Walter Cronkite went on the air in 1968 and said the Vietnam War was unwinnable, people believed him – because they trusted him to speak the truth.

Today he would just be blown off as fake news.

It must be fake and not the truth because you don’t agree with him.  But Walter spoke the truth.

Truth Lives.

 

About toritto

I was born during year four of the reign of Emperor Tiberius Claudius on the outskirts of the empire in Brooklyn. I married my high school sweetheart, the girl I took to the prom and we were together for forty years until her passing in 2004. We had four kids together and buried two together. I had a successful career in Corporate America (never got rich but made a living) and traveled the world. I am currently retired in the Tampa Bay metro area and live alone. One of my daughters is close by and one within a morning’s drive. They call their pops everyday. I try to write poetry (not very well), and about family. Occasionally I will try a historical piece relating to politics. :-)
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10 Responses to Words Have Consequences

  1. beetleypete says:

    Solidly argued, Frank. Some of us get the news we want to hear, so never question it. Free Speech has limits when it comes to inciting violence against people, racism, or hatred. But when the President of The United States is engaging in all of those without due regard, is it any wonder that many choose to believe it’s OK to be the same?
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. DesertAbba says:

    Though you are correct in observing that there are very few rat’s asses being given away listening to you, this atheist does listen and would give something to keep you at it. No, I don’t mean I think you should start a subscription blog. I want to offer more, words! Go for it! Keep it up. Your kind of truth is a rare commodity.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Speaking for myself, of course, I would rather remain in obscurity with just my few loyal readers than be beholden to a corporation for the express purpose of saying what someone else has told me to say. I must remain true to myself, warts and all than give up the ability to speak the truth as I see it and in my own way. And incredibly enough, I have often been asked for my content to be shared on other sites and for me to comment on other sites but I have declined because what I like about my site is the fact that I don’t have to get into a back and forth with trolls. Intelligent and respectful debate is fine, but I often find that is not the case online. And I will put up with that.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Lara/Trace says:

    I tried to watch Fox News once – just once – and it made my head pound and ache. I realize some people prefer to get their beliefs confirmed on Fox and other networks, Frank. There is a growing bunch of us who prefer blogs.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. jfwknifton says:

    The first step you need to take is to pass a law whereby race hate stops being free speech and becomes a crime. That would make an enormous difference in your society from what I have seen in the news over here in England. And it would also give a bonus by weeding out from your news broadcasts the kind of people who make these appalling statements while they are still working on local news and TV.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. greenpete58 says:

    I posted a similar story back when that redneck on “Duck Dynasty” got fired for his gay-bashing remarks. The right wing claimed his 1st Amendment rights were violated. Phooey. Just more loud noise from the U.S. philistine element.

    Also, you’re totally right about how journalists used to be respected. Like Murrow and Cronkite, they had a dignity. They were about news, not entertainment or propaganda. For someone like Cronkite to imply the war was unwinnable was a major shock. Things changed after Watergate, when journalism schools began cranking out Woodward and Bernstein wannabes, and they really changed after the rise of right-wing media, like Limbaugh and FOX. Also, I think advertisers had less clout than now. Also, cable and the internet have enabled people to pick and choose only the news they like or agree with.

    The only TV news I can tolerate is on Public Broadcasting. Forget that “Breaking News” bullshit on cable. And I can’t watch NBC, CBS, or ABC, all three of which are interchangeable. They fight for ratings, so they cram current events into a half-hour in the evening, delivered by anchors chosen for their looks, peppered with product advertisements, with a 5-minute capper devoted to fuzzy human interest designed to leave the viewer feeling warm inside. No thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

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