One rather disturbing trend taking place after the killing of George Tiller, the “partial-birth” or “late-term” (depending on your degree of political correctness) abortion doctor, has been to blame those who spoke out against Tiller’s actions for his death. MSNBC, particularly host Keith Olbermann, has been the most vocal on this in the last few days. Here is a clip from Olbermann’s show, Countdown, exemplifying this:
In sum, the argument seems to be that this alleged “hate speech” incites people to violence. One particularly misplaced link is mentioned by Olbermann in the clip at around 4:47. There he implies that one of Bernard Goldberg’s books, listing 100 people the author believed are “screwing up” America, is in someway partially responsible for a man involved in a previous shooting incident.
One can’t help but think that the efforts by the likes of MSNBC and Olbermann are motivated both by ideology and money. They want to silence their ideological opponents and demonize them by linking them, however incorrectly, to the murder of Tiller. This would act in a way to marginalize the pro-life movement. They also have a profit motive in demonizing the competition, Fox News. MSNBC is far behind Fox News in the ratings and Olbermann’s 8 pm show is in direct competition with Bill O’Reilly’s 8 pm show. It’s a no-brainer.
This unfortunate incident highlights the danger in the push to criminalize so-called “hate speech.” Typically, a suspect link between the speech and some action by a lone extremist is used by the other side to silence that speech.
Of course the vast majority of those who are pro-life, by their very definition, do not support these lone acts of violence and murder against abortion doctors. Actions are far different than speech. We would do well to remind ourselves that protections for free speech weren’t meant to protect just politically-correct speech.