In Defense of Sally Kohn - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
In Defense of Sally Kohn

Here’s breaking news.

A CNN commentator has said something controversial. And the call has now gone up for her talking head. Here’s the headline over at PJ Media:

Petition Asks CNN to Terminate Sally Kohn for Anti-Christian Bigotry on Orlando Shooting

The story begins this way:

A petition urging CNN to fire or suspend lesbian contributor Sally Kohn for her comments attacking Christians in the wake of the Orlando shooting has garnered 400 signatures in just over 24 hours. The petition calls Kohn “a hateful bigot,” and attacks “her disgusting, bigoted tweets that slander Christians and people who choose to love God in a different way than her own.”

Following the Pulse nightclub attack in Orlando, Fla., Kohn repeatedly tied Christians and the “Christian Right” to the shooter, who was linked to the Islamic State group, a radical Islamic terror organization which claimed responsibility for the attack. Kohn alleged that Christian opposition to the LGBT agenda is different in degree but not in kind from the kind of hatred unleashed by the shooter.

What follows are samples of Sally’s tweets. Here’s one to give a flavor:

Sally Kohn


Islamic extremists kill LGBT people.

Christian and Jewish extremists just drive us to commit suicide.

Either way, #HateIsHate.

If I may? As a fellow CNN commentator of Sally’s I feel compelled to speak up — in her defense. No, of course I don’t agree with her tweets. Please. Sally and I have had our share of considerable disagreements on CNN air precisely because Sally is, in my view, a hopeless and (to borrow from Ronald Reagan’s description of his younger self), a “hemophilic” liberal. I am a conservative, a Reagan conservative to be precise.

And it is precisely because I am a conservative — and hence a Reagan/Scalia-style believer in the Constitution as it is written — that I am a passionate believer in the First Amendment and the right to free speech. No, Sally does not have a constitutional right to be on CNN. Neither do I. Neither, in fact, does anybody who works on-air for CNN whether as commentator, anchor, or reporter. The same applies to every person who appears on other cable and broadcast news operations.

But what Sally Kohn does have indisputably is her God-given right to express her opinion. And in my view this petition — a petition coming from conservatives of all people — is decidedly wrong-headed.

To wax political, this is exactly the kind of thing that causes conservatives to correctly point out what we call “liberal intolerance.” As an example of that (there are endless examples, beginning with the college campus nearest you) here’s one from the left-wing group Color of Change. As you can see, the target here is… me.

Sally Kohn (who, by the by, I find to be delightful in person, very smart, very nice — just very wrong!) and I are not the only targets out there, just as CNN personalities are not the only targets of this kind of intolerance. (And also by the way, Sally is not, as described in this story, a “lesbian contributor.” This is the rankest of identity politics, which I have multiples of time pointed out is the divisive modern descendant of slavery and segregation. Sally is a “contributor” — period. Her job — my job — is color, gender, and sexual preference blind.)

Back here in 2014 — long before I was on CNN — I took note of just some of the various targets of this kind of intolerance for free speech and the First Amendment. Those targets included (but were and are certainly not limited to):

… Prospective Republican donors, Rush Limbaugh buying into a football team, Glenn Beck, Lou Dobbs, Bill O’Reilly, and Rush again with their shows, True the Vote’s Catherine Engelbrecht, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Pepsi, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, and Procter & Gamble, Pat Buchanan, Limbaugh sponsor Mark Stevens, Romney donor Frank Vander Sloot, Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson, Charles Krauthammer, former Secretary of State Condi Rice, the Boston and New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Mozilla’s Brendan Eich, Islamic fundamentalist critic and women’s rights supporter Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Drop Box…

In short? With all due respect — and I mean that — to those circulating and signing this petition? This is wrong. It is a decided swipe at Sally’s First Amendment rights — and mine, and yours. The very last thing conservatives need to be doing is participating in any movement anywhere that targets anyone in the media or anywhere else and attempts to silence them. The First Amendment is there for a reason. And thank God for that.

Jeffrey Lord
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Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is a former aide to Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. An author and former CNN commentator, he writes from Pennsylvania at His new book, Swamp Wars: Donald Trump and The New American Populism vs. The Old Order, is now out from Bombardier Books.
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