Conservatives have traveled a long and arduous road to get our voices heard, fighting the inherent bias in the media and cultural institutions in our nation.
The advent of talk radio, the Internet and cable news channels has allowed more Americans to hear both sides of the political debate, but many hurdles still remain.
That fact became clear to me this week on a number of fronts.
One of my employees at the pro-troop, nonprofit group I lead, Move America Forward, was put in an awkward position when his son was asked by the principal of his school to remove the sweatshirt he was wearing.
What offensive statement was emblazoned on his shirt? Was it profanity or nudity or an incitement to violence, as so many of our youth today wear imprinted on their clothes?
The sweatshirt had an American flag displayed on it, along with the message, “These Colors Don’t Run.” On the back was this text: “National Support Our Troops Tour” and an accompanying list of cities and dates.
That was it. There was nothing political mentioned, no mention of Iraq or Afghanistan or anything else.
According to the principal, the shirt might offend one of the Muslim students, as Muslims comprise 20 percent of the student body at this school.
This might help to explain the recent poll that found 1 in 4 young Muslim Americans say they support suicide bombings by Islamic terrorists. Apparently, more than 1 in 4 school administrators also support kowtowing to the demands of radical Islamists.
This situation reminded me of the banning of the American flag by an Oceanside, Calif., school following the protest rallies in that city by those supporting illegal immigration.
What is happening to our nation?
It’s not just children who are being targeted by the liberal thought police.
This week, the executive producer for the “News Hour with Jim Lehrer” on the publicly funded PBS network put out a statement declaring that I was being banned from ever appearing on that show again.
The ban was issued as a result of my appearance on the program opposite a veteran from Operation Iraqi Freedom who is now an anti-war activist affiliated with the liberal advocacy group MoveOn.org.
The anti-war activist and I engaged in a spirited, but civil, debate, with each of us interrupting the other an equal number of times. Both the other guest and I were cordial and cooperative with the anchor, Judy Woodruff.
So, what pronouncement did the PBS producers make against the anti-war activist? None.
Instead, Linda Winslow, executive producer for the “News Hour,” issued a statement declaring that only I, the conservative guest, would be banned: “Since the program is produced live, we can’t do much to eliminate rude guests from your television screen once the segment has begun; what we can do is guarantee you will never see that person on our program again.”
Yes, PBS, a network funded by public tax dollars, has decided only liberal voices will be tolerated, and that any conservative who dares to speak up and challenge liberal activists will be silenced.
The silencing of conservatives occurred on other fronts as well.
Last week, I told you about far-left British “journalist” Damien Benson, who had declared that he could not in good conscience report on the thoughts or beliefs of those who supported the war on terrorism.
Benson explained that those who disagreed with the actions of Sen. Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to surrender in Iraq were undermining the “peace process” there.
Apparently, to the far-left reporters in the UK, the “peace process” means surrendering to jihadists and al-Qaida terrorist cells.
After my column exposing Mr. Benson’s atrocious censorship appeared, he angrily contacted me and informed me that he would be filing a protest with the American embassy. Yesterday, his line manager, David McDonald, contacted my office to file a protest with me for having the nerve to expose Benson’s bias and censorship of conservative views.
It’s really amazing – liberals have gone beyond censoring conservative views in news accounts; now they make threats against those who dare expose the bias of the liberal media.
Is it any wonder that liberal leaders such as Pelosi and Reid feel so confident in defying American values? Pelosi can travel to Syria to appease terrorist leaders, and Reid can tell our troops that they’ve “lost,” because they know that the media will properly spin their thoughts in such a way as to make the liberals look good and any conservative opponents look bad.
Well, I won’t stand back and be silenced.
One of the things we conservatives can do is bypass the mainstream media. Thanks to websites such as WorldNetDaily, talk-show hosts such as Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, and cable networks such as Fox News Channel, we have outlets that will allow conservative opinions, considered taboo by the liberal elite, to be heard.
The other thing we can do is to get our message out to the American heartland through advertising campaigns.
That’s what my group, Move America Forward, is doing this Memorial Day weekend.
We’re debuting a new ad that chastises Reid and Pelosi for their defeat-retreat-surrender antics, with the declaration made loud and clear: “SURRENDER IS NOT AN OPTION.”
Now it’s only a question of how long the liberal establishment will take before it tries to pressure the TV networks into refusing to broadcast this message that dares to take on these darlings of the left-wing.