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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Bigots aren’t entitled to opinions

It’s a sign of the times that the individuals who are the most ardent supporters and champions of the First Amendment (freedom of speech), are more often than not the same group of people spewing vitriolic, bigoted opinions.

This is usually how it happens: a racist/homophobic/ all-around bigoted person makes a grossly offensive statement, usually in derision against a certain group of people, that narrow-minded individual is then called out on his backwards, prejudiced views by people who decry him, rightfully, to be wholly out of order, then all the racist homophobes come together to accuse the “so called tolerant liberals,” of being intolerant of their misguided views.

If you’ve ever heard some of the things Bill O’Reilly has said, well, all of the things Bill O’Reilly has said, hell, 90 percent of the things Fox News churns out, then you’re probably very familiar with this phenomenon.

A few weeks ago, the former CEO of Mozilla Brendan Eich was forced to step down after it came to light that he was against marriage equality.

Predictably, O’Reilly called it “a pretty good example of liberal intolerance.” His guest on the show, Bernard Goldberg of bernardgoldberg.com went on to declare that “there’s one kind of diversity they won’t tolerate, diversity of opinion on matters that are important to them. And that’s why I think those liberals have forgotten how to be liberal.”

It’s because of this line of thinking that we still have people demanding that creationism to be taught alongside, and in some cases ahead of, evolution. Others believe that women aren’t cut out for the work force. They tell you global warming is a hoax invented by the liberal media in its bid to turn the whole world gay (or something like that).

They tell you it’s their opinion and if you don’t accept it you’re just being intolerant. They tell you everyone has a right to an opinion. This is all well and good, except some (read: most) opinions are incredibly stupid.

Intolerance should never be confused with suffering the consequences for the things that you say. Yes, indeed everyone is entitled to an opinion, but that doesn’t necessarily have to translate into everyone being okay with your views. Especially if your views are along the lines of seeing a certain group of people as less than human. Believing that you’re correct doesn’t make it so, no matter how strongly you believe yourself to be.

Today’s society is simply overflowing with people who believe that their opinions are valid and worthwhile when, in earnest, that is simply not true. Contrary to popular belief, not every opinion is above reproach. For an opinion to be taken seriously, it needs to be grounded in information. Views need to be well-informed and not just a result one’s underlying prejudices.

Case in point — Cliven Bundy, America’s favorite racist uncle, wonders about “the negroes” — to use one of his choice words — “are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy.”  In his opinion, black people aren’t intellectually stable enough to function as productive members of society and are probably better off picking cotton under his watchful gaze.
 It’s his opinion, he should be entitled to it, right?