Monday, February 23, 2009

Can we have an honest conversation about the rights of a free press?

The Reverend Al Sharpton, a professional race hustler first made infamous in the Tawana Brawley hoax, is calling on the FCC to investigate News Corp because one of their newspapers dared run a political cartoon that he did not like.

Critics are still turning up the heat on the New York Post, directing their venom now at the embattled newspaper's parent company.

The Rev. Al Sharpton and several city councilmembers - riled up over purportedly racist cartoon - are asking the Federal Communications Commission to yank a waiver allowing News Corp. to run two newspapers and two TV stations in the city.

"You can stem protests because you own so much of the media. People can't question you," said Sharpton on his weekly radio show on KISS FM. "Advertisers are reluctant to pull out because you own so much of the media market."
Regardless of the content of the cartoon (it's relative demerits are debateable) the threat of government action to punish a media company for unpopular speech should invite universal condemnation. As for Sharpton, rather than ask for government intervention as punishment for being offensive, he should instead be thankful that KISS FM has the poor taste to give him air time and the freedom to do so.

(Ht: Sister Toldjah)