Obama seeking to censor political speech from corporations
Every now and again, someone will conduct a survey and then tell us that, shock!, Americans are shockingly ignorant of basic facts.
They might not, for instance, know who their congressional representative is, know Joe Biden from John Cena, or Indiana from India or they might believe that the Bill of Rights is something that Visa keeps dunning them to pay.
The someone delivering these surveys isn’t necessarily Jay Leno on another episode of Jaywalking.
Usually the messenger is a civic-minded organization of one stripe or another, though that’s not to suggest that Leno isn’t civic-minded. We’re not talking about that whole Conan thing though, of course.
Strangely, we find that the inability to understand, much less appreciate, the Bill of Rights is not limited to the usual high school graduating class, responding college freshmen or the faculty lounge.
In this case, we’re talking about the president of the United States and a band of people who would like nothing more than to kick someone they don’t like off the airwaves.
To go back, a Colorado corporation has purchased a Super Bowl commercial in hopes of getting the attention of the year’s largest television audience.
Moreover, the ad will feature — who would have thought? — a football player.
Just to review, football player, Super Bowl, big audience, a lot of Benjamins for the purchase of 30 seconds of airtime from CBS. Thirty. Count ‘em.
What could be wrong with that?
Well, a lot, judging by the noise coming out of some perpetually aggrieved parties.
See, the football player is Tim Tebow from Florida and the corporation is Focus on the Family Inc., based in Colorado Springs.
It gets stickier. Tebow wants to tell — brace yourself — a bit of his life story.
Tebow’s life story is the repugnant thing to organizations such as the National Organization for Women and something called Choice USA.
“This un-American hate doesn’t have a place in this all-American pastime,” Kierra Johnson, executive director of Choice USA, said.
Tebow’s hate crime? His birth.
Tebow’s mother carried him to term and delivered him, despite being advised to abort him to protect her health. Tebow wants to tell about it.
It’s perfectly within the bounds of the American tradition of free discussion for Kierra Johnson to be outraged and for the National Organization for Women to ask CBS not to run the ad. It would be perfectly within the spirit of the First Amendment for CBS to reject the ad, just as much as it is for CBS to run it.
Now, however, things could get ugly.
President Obama wants Congress to declare that corporations have no right to political speech, which conceivably could include running ads ads on political issues.
Focus on the Family, as mentioned, is a corporation.
It doesn’t take a giant leap to conclude that Tebow and Focus could be muzzled by the law that Obama wants Congress to adopt and that he wants to administer.
It’s also worth noting that a gay-dating Web site also wants to advertise at the Super Bowl. CBS hasn’t decided on that one.
It doesn’t take a stretch of the imagination, though, to guess what the likes of Pat Robertson would have to say about the gay-dating ad.
Strange, isn’t it, that no one with a political ax to grind takes into account that Americans have proven themselves reasonably adept with the remote’s mute and channel-change buttons.
One needn’t be pro-life or pro-choice to detect the noxious odor of wannabe censors working up a sweat as they grasp for more and more power.
If they get it, there’s no telling how it will be used. The best-laid plans often go awry, awfully.
Just ask Jay Leno.