Given the trivial incident today, on CNN, I can’t believe I’ve been thinking about it for so long (a whole hour). But here we are.
It was Friday afternoon, and I was on live TV, in the second hour of my show on CNN. I had just introduced two guests, former ESPN Senior Editor Keith Reed and Fox Sports Radio’s Clay Travis, who had agreed to come on to discuss the White House call for ESPN to dismiss anchor Jemele Hill after she called the President a “white supremacist” on Twitter.
This is CNN host Brooke Baldwin’s account. Travis was invited on because he’s preternaturally obsessed with Hill. He’s a third rate Fox Sports radio personality afforded the wee hours on my local radio station, and he loves to bash Hillary Clinton before eventually giving short shrift to people playing games and throwing balls, etc.
I was ready for them to present their opinions and maybe even argue. I wasn’t prepared for what came next from Clay Travis — a guest we should never have booked in the first place.
“I believe in the First Amendment and boobs…”
Apparently, my producers behind the scenes were all scrambling, trying to figure out the same thing. “What did he just say?”
I just couldn’t let this go. So I jumped back in and spelled it out like a fourth-grade boy: “b-double-o-b-s?!” Yes. “Boobs.” He eventually confirmed: “boobs.” Almost proud, smirking…
Surely smirking. I’ve only heard him a few times, but he’s got a surefire Fox schtick. His media personality is built on these pillars:
1.) I’m an alpha male.
2.) I’m a kickass lawyer.
3.) Hillary Clinton is retarded.
I’m not quite sure how many hours he’s on the radio each night, but I caught a few minutes of him most of this week. About half the time he was slamming ESPN for embracing Hill and throwing aside sports for politics (Et tu…?). He’s been particularly enraged at her for being so WRONG about Trump […quick impression: What about all the minorities in his cabinet? Ben Carson, huh? They’re all in the KKK? Look, statistics showed Hillary only lost because millions of voters switched to Donald Trump from Barack Obama – a black guy!].
Anyway Travis got his 15 minutes, and Brooke cut his mic. His ploy to make the bigs paid off, just not the way he planned.
This is where I come in, I suppose, after Buttkick Attorney Esq. took to his blog and lectured us all about the First Amendment:
On the First Amendment, ESPN, & Modern Media
I don’t believe Jemele Hill should be fired for Tweeting Donald Trump was a white supremacist and for recently saying police officers are modern day slave catchers…
I could’ve sworn he said the opposite all week; it was preposterous that Hill still had her job. This was the reason he kept banging away at the topic every day. But fine okay I’ll take him at his word. He was only angry that other people had been punished for their First Amendment stands…
…I also don’t believe Curt Schilling should have been fired for what he said about the North Carolina transgender bathroom law or any of the other conservative political positions he’s adopted over the years. That’s because I’m a first amendment absolutist.
This is what makes me nuts: People who think ‘Free Speech!’ is the bedrock of American Society or something. You want absolutism, pal? Here’s the actual First Amendment, read it and weep: “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech…” If ever there were an amendment limited in scope, there it is. 1A circumscribes the Founding Father’s intents to pertain strictly to the individual…and Congress. And THAT’S IT.
And why doesn’t anyone seem to remember this? The individual’s right to free speech is almost entirely UNprotected – except for, wup wup wup, hold on there: When Congress gets involved. And that’s it! So says our Constitution.
Yeah, YEESSS, okay, it’s true, the Supreme Court expanded it to prevent virtually all governmental institutions from such ‘abridgements’. So now not only is Congress barred from censorship, but so is the presidency, and the Department of Justice. So is the state of Missouri, and the county of Lubbock, Texas, and the city of Hot Springs, Arkansas. As far as free speech infringements are concerned, governments are the entities enjoined by the First Amendment.
But ESPN sure as hell isn’t. Nor is Firefox, or Google, or Stormfront.org. Nor are Sarah Palin’s critics at HuffPost, or Ann Coulter’s antifas at Berkeley. What conservatives swear is the basis for the entirety of the U.S. of A., courtesy of Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton – that everybody must reverentially listen to them argue Obamacare is slavery – is sheer farce. Ninety-nine percent of this world does not, legally or morally, have to tolerate such bullshit.
This means that if, on Monday, somebody ‘likes’ you on Facebook, you can still call them a Fascist on Tuesday and that’s not An American Problem. When your newfound pal suddenly un-likes you, that’s not a Constitutional issue. That’s a butthurt issue, which is something different.
Which brings us back to Travis:
So ESPN had an opportunity to establish an important precedent with Curt Schilling, they could have simply said this to the online social media mob: “…in their private lives, they may advocate for whichever causes and opinions they deem just. What they believe in their private lives is not our business so long as they do good jobs at work. We’re in the business of sports, not politics.”
RIGHT. Just like when Monday Night Football decides to put Rush Limbaugh in the broadcast booth. When he says Donovan McNabb is overrated because of the reverse racism of the liberal media, he uhh…oops. Bad example. The bullshit Limbaugh believed in private he aired on ABC’s TV show, shoot. The network was going to take a serious ratings and profits hit, so they did the only thing they could do: they canned him.
Okay, but. Certainly Curt Schilling’s an exception. His serial internet rants about the murderous Muslims of this world should be entirely acceptable. Because the internet is about as private as one’s inner thoughts, right? Unless of course ESPN happens to own the worldwide web – then they’d have a pretty solid argument for firing him, I suppose.
Not that ABC in any way owns the band frequencies or literal air-ways that they broadcast their football games on. And I have to say now that this is getting confusing. But the point here is (I think) that though the internet is somehow private, it’s capable of reaching far more people than any football broadcast can. Therefore Schilling should be re-hired with a sizable promotion – after all the protestors are dispersed and the Molotov cocktails extinguished. Ah yes now, it all makes perfect sense. Like taking the one exception to the world’s un-free-speech and making it your universal crusade.
Incidentally, what does any of this have to do with Travis? Why in the world is this idiot lecturing us on a First Amendment that neither applies nor makes sense to him?
Because Monday through Friday Alpha Dog takes to Fox Sports around 4 a.m. and speaks definitively about a range of issues [Hitlery, with some free-market Patriots thrown in]. His listeners, the insomniacs and tipsy swing shifters who can’t get anything else on their dial, are encouraged to call in and agree with him OR they can get cut off, lectured and punked in free-form Travis time. He’s a know-it-all and that’s entertainment, folks.
Which is why CNN came calling. But mere seconds after Clay-bro finally got on the air, he got in over his head. He panicked, got off a ‘boobs’ blast, and what happened next? He got the Fox Sports treatment. He got thrown off the show – like one of his Beta lackeys! Which is why it’s such a good idea to take advice from a “First Amendment absolutist”. He’s got insights on something you couldn’t possibly understand: free speech.