Mtpolitics has a long response to the post below, but I am having a bit of trouble getting a handle on it. He seems to think I said some things that I didn't say, and he responds with hypothetical examples that aren't strictly on point.
Let's begin with things on which we agree. We agree that this is not fundamentally a First Amendment issue. However, with respect to radio play, which Mtpolitics mentioned in his first post on this topic, I would make the same argument that I made about PETA's TV ads. When a broadcast outlet operating on publicly owned airwaves bans a performer for purely political reasons, then that action does have First Amendment implications and could appropriately be raised at a license renewal hearing.
Mtpolitics and I further agree that the owners of the Aladdin have the right to engage whatever performers they choose. The owners' actions in this case appears to have been excessive and foolish, but the owners have a right to be excessive and foolish.
We agree that people have a right to boycott. I have been boycotting Charmin toilet tissue for better than 30 years now, all because of those annoying Mr. Whipple ads. I listen to Rush Limbaugh occasionally, but I don't buy Snapple because Snapple tried to use Rush's celebrity status to sell its product. When you invite consumers to judge your product by the status of those who endorse it, then you have to live with all the implications of that endorsement.
Finally, we agree that words have consequences. My point was that punishing those who say words you disagree with also has consequences, and those consequences have dangerous implications for a political system that depends for its survival upon citizens who freely and frankly exchange political views.
So much for agreement. Mtpolitics' hypotheticals seem to miss the point, including the one in his first post that involved punching a performer in the nose. Physical assault is a crime, not a form of political expression. An employee who badgers customers would indeed be terminated, but that is strictly a job performance issue. I might conceivably abandon a mechanic who attempted unremittingly to impose his views on me, but it has never happened, and I suspect I will go to my grave without having experienced it. The country is at far greater risk from those who are afraid to express their political opinions than from those who refuse to stop.
Mtpolitics also dismisses my reference to the Dixie Chicks as a red herring because, after all, the effort to ruin their careers apparently has failed. That failure is good news, but it doesn't render the effort irrelevant.
The risk of losing advertisers because of my opinions is a risk I am willing to take. For evidence, guess how this affected our advertising relationship with the Billings Outlaws (actually, they were pretty good sports about it, once they cooled down). But in a world in which people are increasingly willing to use their power as consumers and advertisers to stamp out views with which they disagree, much more than my business is at risk.
The strangest part of this exchange has been the comment to Mtpolitics' website that dismissed my position as "leftist blather." If concerns about the health of democratic debate trouble only leftists, then let's hope there is no right wing in this country.