Recently, I came across a post on Facebook that basically sums up the problem with the 'free speech' argument in a nutshell. Here it is...
Let's all quit listening to the Drive. They played an anti-abortion commercial today!
No offense to the Facebook user here, but if you're going to quit listening to your local radio station because something you don't like paid to put an advertisement on there, that's kind of like someone who's trying to lose weight no longer listening to radio because they heard a Macdonald's commercial. Its ridiculous.
As someone who works at the radio station in question, we're not going to discriminate on the stances that air on our radio station. That would be like us avoiding to air any comments from the New Democratic Party and only airing advertisements from the Conservative Party during an election. Looking locally, that would mean avoiding any discussions by Citizens of a Liveable Cranbrook and only airing commercials from the City of Cranbrook itself. Or like airing discussions that are anti-deer cull without talking about the benefits of killing deer in city limits.
When it comes to abortion, Canada is already pro-choice. You are allowed to make your choice of aborting a fetus or seeing a pregnancy through to its end. We all know abortion is legal in Canada. The commercial being talked about here is a call for support on an anti-abortion movement currently before Federal parliament in Canada. And yes, it is a paid commercial, not a public service announcement. Meaning the radio station is paid to air the commercial and it is NOT the radio station's stance as a whole.
All people can make their choice of whether they support abortion or not, but how can you make an informed choice unless you have the information available to you to make that choice? Also, how would you even know that a discussion on abortion was even going on at a federal level of government unless you heard an advertisement like this? Or even a news story about the same issue?
I think the issue here is less about freedom of speech and the right to pro-choice, as it is more about tolerance and open-mindedness. There's been too many times where I have seen facebook posts like this shooting the messenger. In this case, the message coming across is "I hate abortion, so let's stop listening to radio."
Why not find out who put the commercial out there and boycott their products? Why not encourage the creation of a pro-choice commercial to your local pro-choice group? If there isn't a local pro-choice group, then why not create one yourself? All of these are viable options. Not listening to local radio solves nothing. That is the major difference between reacting with anger or having some degree of emotional intelligence, keeping calm and making a clear choice.
But like I said, everything's all about choice. You can choose to listen to your local radio station or not. At least now you can make an informed choice when the next anti-abortion commercial comes along.
By the way, anti-abortion commercials also played at this year's Super Bowl, are you going to stop watching the NFL?