Tahlequah Daily Press


February 3, 2014

Don’t squelch right to ‘free expression’ by imposing bans

TAHLEQUAH — Reince Priebus needs to grow up, just like the folks embroiled in the flap over Phil Robertson of “Duck Dynasty.” And while they’re awaiting maturity to arrive, they might consider reading the U.S. Constitution and familiarizing themselves with its precepts.

Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman, handily shot himself in the foot and disregarded that pesky little “freedom of speech” clause in the First Amendment when he “banned” – his verb, not ours – “all RNC staff from appearing on, associating with, or booking any RNC surrogates on MSNBC.”

Priebus was responding to a tweet, probably issued by a low-level MSNBC lackey, that implied conservatives “hate” interracial marriage. While some conservatives – and some liberals, too – may object to mixed marriages on various grounds, many do not, and the tweet was understandably seen as egregious.

The offending tweet had to do with a Cheerios Super Bowl ad featuring a biracial family. The message read like this: “Maybe the rightwing will hate it, but everyone else will go awww: the adorable new #Cheeris ad w/biracial family.” Actually, left-wingers might find it offensive as well, since it is laced with the innuendo that a biracial family is “cute” in the same way as a litter of puppies is cute, when in fact, it’s a mainstream family type these days. It’s kind of like saying, “Many of my best friends are black.” On the surface, it’s meant to demonstrate lack of bigotry, but the fact that such an assertion even needs to be made suggests the opposite, in a back-handed way.

All that aside, Priebus has no right to insist that his staff – or “RNC surrogates,” whatever that means – refuse to appear on MSNBC. They should have the choice of whether to appear or not, despite Priebus’ petulant “we’re-taking-our-toys-and-going-home” attitude.

Everyone knows MSNBC is a “liberal” network, but anyone with any savvy also knows that doesn’t necessarily mean those high on its corporate levels share that bent. The network provides a reliable media niche for Americans whose politics lean to the left; it’s less about ideology and more about the dollar. It should come as no surprise, then, when anti-conservative themes, content and quotes are nestled among the daily fodder.

The same can be said for FOX. Anyone who has not recently emerged from a decades-long coma knows FOX caters to the right. Again, it’s more about the market than the personal politics of its talking heads, producers and management. But its marketing strategy nevertheless assures that liberal planks will be summarily slammed in nearly every pixel aired.

The smart political operative or politician will not limit his audience through childish snubs and bans. Plenty of well-known progressives have appeared on FOX, and an equal number of traditionalists have sat for MSNBC interviews. You never know when you might change a mind, and gain another fan or voter for your side.

No doubt Priebus was indignant at the treatment Robertson received after he publicly uttered his blunt opinion about gays. Surely Priebus was among those who upheld the reality show tycoon’s right to free expression, and would have also been among those clamoring for his reinstatement on the show. There again, A&E was obliged to react to the demands of its audience; it’s safe to say not many gay rights advocates are “Duck Dynasty” enthusiasts.

In this country, we still have a right to boycott any entity that offends us – and indeed, we should exercise that right, because it’s one way we can often change hearts and minds. But we should not force others in our camp to follow suit. That gambit is selfish, counterproductive, and frankly un-American.

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    April 14, 2014

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  • Do your part to fight animal and child abuse

    It’s hard to change the habits of an abuser, especially when mitigating factors – such as alcohol or drugs – are involved. And these patterns tend to repeat themselves in successive generations. But all of us can take one small step to help eradicate this epidemic, and that is to report it when we see it.

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    April 7, 2014

  • Pass for rich kiddie rapist proves that justice isn’t blind

    Someone in Wilmington, Del., needs to keep an eye on Superior Court Judge Jan Jurden for the next few months, because she might improve her standard of living due to a sudden influx of cash.
    There’s no other way to explain why Jurden would have sentenced an ultra-wealthy heir to the du Pont fortune to probation for raping his 3-year-old daughter. It’s an outrageous miscarriage of justice that once again proves when it comes to the U.S. justice system, the elite get a pass almost every time.

    April 4, 2014

  • Maybe it’s not $3.2B, but state should still account for tribal cash

    In an editorial published last week, the Daily Press said that through tribal compacts, the state of Oklahoma received about $3.2 billion in annual revenue, partly attributable to the 117 casinos (or 118, in some reports) run by 33 tribes in the state. The information we accessed for that piece was confusing, and had a typo or two, which may have led us to overstate – to a considerable degree – how much money the tribes actually give the state.

    April 2, 2014

  • Tribal compacts should mean state has money to perform its functions

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  • It’s time to turn in your candidate announcements

    If you are running for a political office for which Cherokee County voters can cast ballots, it’s time to turn in your announcement. We’ve already run a few, and expect several more. The primary elections are Tuesday, June 24, with the registration period to vote in this election closing Thursday, May 30.

    March 24, 2014


What to you think of a state Legislature proposal to forbid cities from raising the minimum wage? Choose the closest to your opinion.

The federal government should set the minimum wage across the board.
States should be allowed to raise their minimum wages, but not cities.
Both states and cities should be allowed to raise their minimum wages.
Cities should be allowed to raise their mimum wages, but not states.
There should be no minimum wage at all.
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