Sunday, March 11, 2012

Free to Say Stupid Stuff, Not Free of Consequences

I've long been an advocate of free speech. Being in communications and having a passion for it in all forms, it seems like the cornerstone of a free, thriving society is the ability to say what's on your mind. It's a great thing. And I support even idiots speaking their minds. But what I also support is people saying stupid stuff and then having to deal with the consequences. You have the freedom to say anything. That freedom does not extend to being free of those consequences.

So watching sponsors and people vote with their dollars (the most powerful of all votes) and saying that calling women on birth control prostitutes and sluts, or even criticizing the character --not the content--of someone whose an outspoken advocate for an issue, is not acceptable.

I was watching as the list grew longer, but I have to say that I was proud when the American Heart Association was added. Not that the AHA was paying for ads on Rush Limbaugh. To be clear as a former employee, I can tell you that the American Heart Association does not, as a rule, buy ad time. There's a tiny budget used years ago for a larger campaign, but unless something changed dramatically, they were never buying ads. They are also very conscious about remaining party neutral, so again, having ads on a politically charged show is not like them.

However, when Rush Limbaugh offered free ads on his show, they declined. And in that declination gained my support even more so. It had to be hard to decline free advertising to a show with millions of listeners. But to even have an implication of misogyny for an organization that has a whole campaign around women's heart health (Go Red For Women).

Hat's off to the AHA yet again for making the right move. And hat's off to Saturday Night Live for actually making me the thing that made me aware of that. LOL.

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