Some Speech Is More Inappropriate Than Other Speech

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Ever since Rosie O’Donnell joined the cast of The View, she has received sharp criticism from other members of the media. O’Donnell’s pique with Kelly Ripa over a supposedly homophobic remark seems silly to some, significant to others. Joe Scarborough–who is as obsessed with O’Donnell as Keith Olbermann is with Britney Spears–has sharply criticized O’Donnell for saying such “inappropriate” things as her observations that radical Christianity is as threatening as radical Islam, and that Bush is less than a stellar example of a leader. Other conservatives were oh, so shocked by O’Donnell’s statement that post-September 11 America is like the McCarthy era.

Scarborough has repeatedly said that he does not understand why a principled person like Barbara Walters puts up with O’Donnell. That in itself is absurd. Walters is an uninformed conservative, she is sexist, and she calls herself a “close friend” of the late Roy Cohn. Of course, Scarborough is also confused that politics is discussed on a “women’s” show.

Now O’Donnell has gone and done something really offensive–her “ching chong” remark about the news in China, and her detractors are having a field day. She deserves the criticsm. (Her original defense was that she is a comedian, but there are two things wrong with that–she was not doing a comic act when she appears on The View, and she does not make fun of other cultures or minorities.) But those same people have totally ignored Don Imus’s recent reference to Jewish CBS radio management as “money-grubbing bastards.”

The talking heads pick and choose whose (and which) inappropriate language they attack. They were quick to jump on Mel Gibson’s drunken anti-Semitic remarks, but never said a single word about his drunken misogynist remarks, made during the very same traffic incident. And they are quick to jump on gay, liberal O’Donnell whether her speech is truly inappropriate or just truthful.

It is unfortunate that Gibson said vile things about both Jews and women, that O’Donnell made fun of Chinese people, and that Imus perpetuated a terrible Jewish stereotype. But you won’t get the full story from their peers in the news–you’ll get what they want you to remember.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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