Sunday, April 09, 2006

Confused about censorship

Andrew Sullivan is supposedly a conservative intellectual. I say "supposedly," because for a conservative he doesn't seem to have a very good understanding of the concept of free enterprise and for an intellectual he doesn't really seem to understand censorship. In his latest broadside on the Danish cartoon controversy he writes:

Comedy Central still won't let Matt and Trey include an image of Muhammed on South Park, despite the fact that they have done it before. In the battle between religion and free speech, Viacom is against free speech.

Um, no. Viacom isn't taking sides in a supposed battle between religion and free speech here. And if they were to take sides, I'm pretty sure that they would assert that they had the right to broadcast graven images 24 hours a day if that is what they wanted to do. What they are doing is saying that needlesly offending people just to prove a point isn't in their business model. Just like it isn't in Andrew's business model to tick off the people at Time who sign his paychecks by posting the cartoons himself, even though it is perfectly within his power to do so.

And that's their right. They own the station and so they get to choose what goes on there. That's what free speech is all about. If you want to see images of Muhammed then buy your own damn cable channel.