THE BLOG
12/22/2013 11:45 am ET Updated Feb 21, 2014

Freedom of (Hate?) Speech

It's old news now about Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty being suspended by A&E for comments made in an interview with GQ magazine. As millions of fans show their support for Robertson, as usual, there are several in the media who lead the charge as self-appointed defenders of the First Amendment. A few examples would be Sarah Palin, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck.

Of course intelligent people understand that freedom of speech is only protected from government interference and does not apply to public companies, but it allows this trio to come across as patriotic while supporting people they obviously like. Sean Hannity and Sarah Palin got together on his show to offer their support for Robertson.

This is all about freedom, free speech. You know, so many American families have spilled blood and treasure to guarantee Phil Robertson and everybody else's right to voice their personal opinions and once that freedom is lost, everything is lost in our country. - Sarah Palin

It makes a great sound bite, but what exactly are they suggesting? Should the government pass laws or amend the amendment to dictate why nongovernmental companies can and cannot fire or suspend an employee? I hope that's not what they're saying because it's the most un-American thing I've ever heard.

Glenn Beck also loves to tout the constitution and did so as he weighed in on Phil Robertson's comments.

It's about freedom of speech. You know, I said this with Paula Deen. I didn't agree with what Paula Deen said by any stretch of the imagination, but you don't destroy people like that. We're not those people.

Yes, Paula Deen, Don Imus, and Dr. Laura are yet others who have been relieved of their positions because of comments made, who, like Phil Robertson, certain members of the media quickly embraced in the guise of defending freedom of speech.

But there have also been celebrities who have lost their jobs for comments that had nothing to do with racial or sexual inequality, yet the 'freedom of speech police' didn't always have their back. For example, in 2011, Warner Brothers fired Charlie Sheen from the hit CBS TV show, Two and a Half Men, after Sheen made several crude comments about the network and show's creators and producers.

Sheen had been in the news several times prior for drug related issues. Still, however, isn't he protected by the same First Amendment? I ask because I don't remember our patriotic defenders coming to his aid. I Googled "Sarah Palin defends Charlie Sheen." Nada! I tried the same with Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck. Nada!

And I certainly don't remember any of them coming to the defense of the Dixie Chicks. In fact, when I searched "Sean Hannity defends Dixie Chicks," my computer displayed this: "Did you mean 'Sean Hannity Defends Racist Rodeo Clown'?" No, I didn't mean that, but it sure is interesting.

Also in 2011, Gilbert Gottfried was fired as the voice of the Aflac duck after he tweeted a tasteless joke about Japan's tsunami. Again, I can't find anything on the internet where Beck, Palin, or Hannity defended his First Amendment rights, much less posted phone numbers to Aflac's CEO so people could call in and complain.

Kathy Griffin was fired from CNN for dropping the "F" bomb, and all the way back to 2001, Bill Maher was fired from ABC's Politically Incorrect for saying something... well, politically incorrect. Yet no one led the freedom of speech charge. I don't understand. Do these events not mimic Robertson's? Weren't these people fired for voicing their opinions? Isn't that still a travesty in this great country?

There have also been many cases of people who were not famous but made the news for being fired because of public comments that were also not racial or homophobic slurs, on places like Facebook, YouTube, etc., but no public support was ever offered by the would be crusaders of liberty, justice, and the American way. Where were Palin, Hannity, and Beck during these times?

The only people I can recall, or find via research, that these three have defended using the freedom of speech argument, are the ones that got into trouble for making comments against blacks or homosexuals. Could that really be possible? Is it true that media folks like these three believe racial slurs and gay bullying are the only things worth using the First Amendment to defend? And if that's true, what does it say about them?