... analyzing Milwaukee Conservative talk radio as a microcosm of the genre’s impact on American politics, media and culture.
Hate Regulation and the Public Interest
images/stories/videos/part3_home.jpg"Speech that advocates or encourages violent acts or crimes of hate."
"Speech that creates a climate of hate or prejudice, which may in turn foster the commission of hate crimes."
This is how the federal government defined hate speech in its 1993 report, “The Role of Telecommunications in Hate Crimes" issued through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
Since then accusations of hate speech in the media have become commonplace, though, curiously, almost always directed at Conservative media personalities and outlets. Conservative talk radio is routinely cited as the impetus behind high-profile acts of violence, for instance the Holocaust Museum shooting in Washington D.C., the U.S. Census worker hanging in Kentucky, the anti- IRS Kamikaze pilot in Austin, Texas, the Times Square bombing attempt in New York, and of course, the Gabrielle Giffords shooting in Tucson, Arizona.
In each of these cases, and virtually all others, Conservatism on the radio or any other medium was found to have played no role whatsoever in motivating the incident. Yet, in most of the media and many sectors of society, the presumption of guilt stands and charges that Conservative talk radio incites listeners to violence through rhetoric that is racist, homophobic, sexist and irrationally hateful toward government continue.
Not surprisingly, many believe it therefore justifiable to call for further government regulation of what can and cannot be said on the airwaves.
If existing laws have produced no convictions of Conservative talkers and listeners for hate speech, however, by what standard might new laws establish guilt? Who will define those standards? And what kind of United States of America empowers its federal government to impose subjective and arbitrary restrictions on the political speech of ordinary citizens?
For those truly interested in liberty and justice for all, sincere appreciation of the distinction between hate speech and speech we hate is critical.