Neal Boortz is an old friend of mine. (By that I mean to say the friendship is old, not that Neal is old). When I was involved in my first serious free speech controversy in 2001, Boortz defended me daily on his radio show. I prevailed in that controversy and I owe him a huge debt of gratitude. That is why I am distressed by some recent criticism of Neal at the hands of members of the pro-life movement.
I began receiving some nasty emails about Neal during the summer of 2007. Early that summer, I had written a particularly scathing article about feminism and abortion. In the weeks following the article some pro-lifers wrote saying that Neal had stopped linking to my columns in the “reading assignments” section of his website (see www.Boortz.com).
Some readers also took exception with Neal’s refusal to discuss the topic of abortion on his radio show. According to the pro-lifers, this was further evidence that Neal Boortz really isn’t a supporter of free speech – that, instead, he only supports speech with which he agrees.
I do not know whether Neal Boortz has or has not stopped linking to my articles because I do not monitor the websites of other commentators. I rarely visit the websites or read the columns of other pundits, whether they be conservative, liberal, or libertarian. But I am compelled to respond to the accusation that Neal Boortz is somehow narrow-minded or anti-free speech.
This wrong conclusion stems from a fundamental misunderstanding regarding the First Amendment - one that is entirely too pervasive to ignore. This misunderstanding was a source of annoyance for me couple of weeks ago during a Facebook discussion over the Mike Huckabee furlough controversy.
After four police officers were shot and killed by a convict who was granted clemency several years ago - by then-Governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas - I posted the following simple remark as my “status update” on FaceBook.com:
“Mike Huckabee has a lot of explaining to do.”
That simple remark set off a nasty debate between the Romney supporters and Huckabee supporters who regularly visit my Face Book page. The debate was healthy for a few minutes until someone used the argument “kiss my ass.” I’m pretty sure the person who said that wasn’t Mormon. Regardless, I deleted the profane posts as well as the ad hominem responses they provoked.