Monday, June 1, 2009

Free speech

I'm sure yesterday was a wonderful day filled with the scent of victory and napalm in the morning for Bill O'Reilly:

I don't believe for a second that O'Reilly cares about abortion as much as he pretends to; he's in it for the ratings and the attention. But he must currently be feeling some bizarre combination of disavowal ("I'm just a journalist, man") a la Limbaugh and total power trip.

I'm not saying that Tiller was killed because of O'Reilly. I do think this kind of intense, emotionally provocative, and hateful rhetoric does encourage crazy people to do crazy things, but it's certainly not just Billo who produces it and it's not just abortion that attracts it. By many standards, Billo here is a model of restraint. But that doesn't change the fact that words do have power and guys like Limbaugh, Beck, and Billo will never accept that when it might require them to back down and learn a little humility.

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