“First, Jay Severin - Next, Eric 'Renderking' Fisk,”

By Eric 'Renderking' Fisk - Monday, May 4th, 2009 -  Bookmark and Share

Ren's RantsThere was once this quote that I was taught a long time ago that rattles around in my head when ever issues of free speech come up; "I may not agree with what you say, but to the death I will defend your right to say it," it was originally attributed to Voltaire [b. 1694 - d. 1778] When ever I've had the urge to lambaste someone for not sharing my opinion, I always think back to that little philosophical nugget. If I have to disagree with someone, then maybe I should do it in a thoughtful manner.

It's easy to be provocative and controversial, and sometimes I've had great fun going for the proverbial jugular. It's a quick way to get hits on your website or ratings on your radio show. It's hard to write something that's positive, thought provoking and uplifting while at the same time challenges the conventional wisdom. By walking the line between being controversial and provocative while trying to be fair and honest has made me a better writer and a more mature person. That approach has helped me earn this modest following...

But the fact is, Voltaire's philosophy is a dying one. You can tell by the negative discourse out there on the internet; anyone who disagrees with the "conventional wisdom" or the current Orwellian Groupthink will find themselves silenced by the Political Correctness Thought Police. "Nineteen Eighty-Four" has come 25 years late. But it's has arrived.

 

   
 
Associated Press: Radio host suspended for 'criminaliens' remark

BOSTON (AP) — A Boston talk radio host has been suspended for calling Mexican immigrants "criminaliens" and emergency rooms "condos for Mexicans" during a discussion about swine flu.

Boston's WTKK-FM host Jay Severin was suspended indefinitely Thursday.

According to an audio clip of a Monday show, Severin complained that the U.S. wasn't doing enough to prevent the spread of swine flu. He then said "tonight we will let the usual 5,000 criminaliens that come across the Arizona border ..." referring to Mexican immigrants.

During a conversation with a caller complaining about immigrants receiving health care, Severin said emergency rooms had "become essentially condos for Mexicans."

George Tobia, Severin's lawyer, did not immediately return phone calls.

 
   

 

For anyone who hasn't listened to Jay Severin because you're not from the Greater Boston area or have taken the time to listen to his show streaming via the internet (WTKK 96.9FM Talk,) let me be the first to tell you that none of this is new. None of this is news. Jay Severin has been railing against Illegal Immigration since the station first began broadcasting his show [I can't find the exact date, but he began before the 2000 election...] To my knowledge, until now he has never called Mexicans in general pejoratives. He has always clearified his remarks by singling out illegal immigrants.

Like Don Imus, he's an equal opportunity offender. Mr. Severin has said harsh things about people who he doesn't agree with, he's called out political candidates and public officials (locally and nationally) and he's never been one to defend someone just because of their party affiliation. Mr. Severin should be celebrated by the liberal media for being one of the first conservative talk show hosts for calling President George Dubya Bush "a big dope." But he's not...

It's public knowledge to anyone who tunes into his show, Jay Severin has always been hard-hitting and abrasive while railing against those elected or appointed to public office, has always been verbally abusive towards callers who call in to say something that he regards as stupid or uninformed. Jay Severin is no different then people like Janeane Garofalo: [News Buster "Tea Party Goers Are Racists Who Hate Black President,"] Keith Oberman, Mike Malloy, most of the staff of The Boston Globe, the editorial board of The New York Times... the only difference is that he's on the "wrong side" of the political spectrum.

Jay Severin's apparent firing or indefinite suspension and the reaction from others in the media and internet lead, me to make two observations...

 

Under Pressure...

I have first hand knowledge that there's an concentrated effort to force media companies, publishers, and individuals like myself to "get on board" and go with the flow of this current political movement. If you're not a cheerleader and support it 100%, you're in deep trouble. I've noticed that ANY criticism of the current President or the past three administrations open door border policy is enough to have you labeled as a racist. Any concerns about deficit spending with "Economic Stimulus" gift-wrapping and you're alienated and accused of being a non-progressive.

While I support some of Barack Obama's efforts, I don't agree with everything he's done so far. Nor should anyone totally agree with someone else. There's something very unhealthy with that behavior. Because of that, though... I'm persona non grata with former friends I've known for almost a decade cause I'm not TOTALLY in the tank...

I've been the target of some special interest groups and individuals who have wanted to shut down The Fedora Chronicles and The Electric Speakeasy forum. There have been nasty e-mails, on-line petitions, phone calls, and posts on other boards in an effort to have this site boycotted or shut down. There's been efforts get me banned from other forums so I won't be allowed to invite other disgruntled members to our forum. One of the many things I learned while campaigning for a few local candidates that there is indeed a list of websites that elected official has of sites she wants shut down as soon as the "Fairness Doctrine" becomes law. I'm too well aware of the concentrated, ubiquitous effort to silence anyone who isn't in lock-step with the current social movement.

As an aside, is it ironic or hypocritical that the children/adolescence from The Aquarius Generation who coined the phrase "Question Authority" are now resorting to the same tactics and attitudes they railed against now that they are in positions of authority?

It's no coincidence that Jay Severin was suspended indefinitely a few short weeks after Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napalatano's memo was leaked to the press. In that memo titled "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment," she labeled conservatives, Christians, service men returning from over-seas, conservative talk-show hosts and generic "Right Wingers" as a greater threat to homeland security then Al-Qaeda, other terrorist groups and illegal aliens. I have no doubt that when the station manager, Greater Media Executives (WTKK-96.9FM's owners) et. al. considered Ms. Napalatano's remarks and memo when deciding what to do with Mr. Severin. Add to that the increasing pressure and negative attention given from other media sources like the floundering Boston Globe and Conservative-Friendly Boston Herald, and "El Planeta" a  pro-illegal immigrant publication... Could anyone accuse the management of that station for being cautious in this political climate?

 

People Really Don't Believe In Free Speech

Let's be honest here for a minute, nobody totally believes in "Free Speech." There are limits to what we're willing to tolerate. For an example, I have these strict rules on The Electric Speakeasy:

No pornography or sexually explicit content of any kind, I have no desire look at porn or have my website become a portal for someone else's.

No racist content - use your own best judgment in regards to what's "profain" or "vulgar" and keep it off our forum. I have no use for racists or racism - I'll go so far as to ban "Holiday Inn" because of the Abraham Lincoln's scene with Bing Crosby in black-face while the real African-Americans were working in the kitchen. Because of Jay Severin's recent diatribes of racism (up until recently he's been clear to single out and target ILLEGAL aliens and the corrupt Mexican Government) I can sympathize with WTKK's management.

No plagiarism: If you're going to repost or "recast" something from somewhere else, at least give the author and the original publication credit.

No Personal Attacks against other members: You can disagree with out being disagreeable. Not allowing people to trash other members of The Electric Speakeasy isn't tolerated simply because the goal of the forum is to debate the issues while at the same time uplifting each other whom have similar interests. But I digress.

I have suspended and banned at least 6 people for violating these rules, but other than those minor bumps the forum has run smoothly. Now, does this mean that I'm not a complete proponent of Free Speech if there are some things I won't allow? That's my point. Nobody really completely believes in Free Speech since we all draw lines and set standards.

It's a difficult thing to stand-up for someone who is saying or writing something that you don't agree with. and even more so if someone is saying something that's offensive. From my own personal experience I've made the observation that people will only defend someone else who is being silenced when they agree with what the censored was saying. If you agree with what someone is saying or writing, and that person's mouth is being shut for them - then you're going to get angry because you can't hear or read what they were communicating. And there's a safe assumption that if you try and fill the void their absence created, you'll be shut down to.

What's more appalling to me than what Jay Severin has said in the past about illegal immigrants (it's how you say it, not so much what you say) but the celebratory back-slapping that's been going on with in the media between the columnists that are actually glad this happened.

 

None of these people (and the other bloggers too numerous to mention who have written about this incident) are willing to partake of Voltaire's Philosophy: Fight to the death for Jay Severin's right to say what he wants despite their adamant disagreements  or at least make an attempt to say that they dislike what he said but play lip service to his right to voice an opinion. I would almost guarantee that over the past few years these people have been railing against the potential for civil rights violations under The Bush Administrations Patriot Act and warrantless wire-taps. Wouldn't shutting Severin down also be a violation of civil rights, despite how appalling his opinion is to many people?

 

And what did these people say in protest against those on the other side like Garofalo and Oberman who have made bigoted and inflammatory comments about conservatives and Christians? Is that OK because they think it's "true?" Would it be safe to assume that these people think hate-speech is fine as long as it's the "right" hate-speech and you agree with it?

What none of these people understand is that there will come a time when the political winds will change and blow from the right again and these people will be under similar scrutiny. Writers like Lehigh, Gelzinis and Reyes could find them selves out of a job because they don't share the same "Groupthink" and have the "right" political views and could have their mouths shut by a conservative version of "The Fairness Doctrine." Who will stand up for them? Who would?

I'm concerned about the chilling effect this is going to cause in the near future. If radio hosts will be taken off the air because of the wrong kind of "hate-speech" and political pressure, where does it go from there? "If you give a mouse a cookie..."

What's next to be shut down? Entire radio stations? Print media and publications? Websites, perhaps? Who's to say that the next step in silencing the "wrong" type of political dissent is to have privately owned and operated websites like The Fedora Chronicles deleted? If someone can make the argument that nobody has a "right" to free speech on the radio because the air-waves are publicly owned, then you can also make an argument that I'm not entitled to run a website on the publicly owned internet.

Is YOUR webpage, forum profile, Facebook or "MySpace" account going to be next?

 

As one final aside, if Jay Severin is going to be fired and taken off the air permanently for his criminaliens tirade, then Don Imus should be removed permanently from the WTKK morning line up because of his Nappy-Headed-Ho's comment. Bookmark and Share

 

More Links...

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Janet Napolitano,"

WTKK: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Boston Phoenix: Jay Severin's double secret suspension...

 

 

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