WASHINGTON - Members of the Project 21 leadership network are condemning efforts by liberal lawmakers to impose restrictions on free speech in light of the tragic shooting spree in Arizona that critically injured Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ).
"Loss of humanity is the issue at hand in the assassination attempt on Gabrielle Giffords and the senseless murder of a nine-year-old girl, among others. Losing liberty and finding ways to silence conservative views shouldn't even be on the table," said Project 21 member Lisa Fritsch, a guest host at KLBJ radio in Austin, Texas. "Those who use this tragedy as anything more than a reason to pray, reflect and call each of us -- as brothers and sisters -- to stand united in humanity and love are acting as tools of evil."
Despite no evidence that the man charged with the shootings, Jared Lee Loughner, was motivated in any way by political speech, liberal politicians are using the Arizona shootings to launch a campaign to resurrect regulations to curtail freedom of speech in the media and possibly other aspects of American life.
Representative James Clyburn (D-SC), a member of the liberal leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives, has called for a reinstatement of "Fairness Doctrine" regulations that once allowed government to oversee and police political content. In a January 10 interview on National Public Radio, Clyburn said, "I really believe that everybody needs to take a look at where we are pushing things, and [we] may need to take a serious step back and evaluate what's going on here." Asked if this would constitute censorship to "an unfortunate degree," Clyburn responded, "I don't know that it's necessarily to an unfortunate degree." Clyburn's daughter, Mignon, is a commissioner with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the agency that administered the Fairness Doctrine in the past.
Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY) similarly complained that the FCC is "not working anymore," claiming that blame for flared tempers and violence, such as was experienced in Arizona, was due to "what they're hearing over the airwaves."
Project 21 member Joe R. Hicks, the host of the PJTV internet television network's "The Hicks File," said: "Along with the nation's liberals and leftists, mainstream journalists and pundits spent the past week acting like vultures -- picking at the bones of a national tragedy. Now liberal members of Congress are shamelessly seeking political advantage from the actions of a madman. Make no mistake, these members of Congress, in alliance with racial hucksters like the Reverend Al Sharpton, want to slam the door on free speech and limit the diversity of viewpoints that are currently available to the American people."
"Those squealing the loudest about injustice and dangerous points of view seem most often to be guilty of the same. And I think, to their peril, the controls they now want would be more applicable to their ilk," said Project 21 Chairman Mychal Massie. "For example, Washington Post columnist Courtland Milloy complains now about conservatives who are '[t]rading in ambiguity and veiled threats,' but the Post published a column by him last March in which he expressed his desire to 'spit on [tea party activists]... and knock every racist and homophobic tooth out of their Cro-Magnon heads.' That's the type of person who now, without apparent remorse for his own actions, wants to arbitrate acceptable speech?"
Massie additionally warned: "A re-evaluation of our guarantee of freedom of speech in favor of undefined civility would -- by necessity -- silence people such as Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Julian Bond and Louis Farrakhan because they all have long and proven records of using their own voices to poison minds and incite mayhem. I know Representative Clyburn would likely think otherwise, but fairness means you can't go after Sarah Palin and the tea party movement without going after the race hustlers."
Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives since 1992, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research