You would think by now that a group like the left-leaning LGBT Network, led in this case by one David Kilmnick, would know better.
Kilmnick self-describes in this article in the Advocate as “someone who has spent over three decades fighting for the rights of our LGBTQ+ communities, particularly safe spaces for our youth.”
Kilmnick is outraged by HBO Real Time host Bill Maher — an unabashed liberal — as follows. Here’s the headline:
Bill Maher Has Gone Too Far With Anti-LGBTQ+ Comments
On last Friday’s Real Time With Bill Maher, Maher said the number of youth identifying as LGBTQ+ is rising because it’s “trendy,” while he spewed other harmful, homophobic and transphobic rhetoric. Maher continued his vitriolic commentary by taking several more potshots at LGBTQ+ youth, including claims that society was “experimenting” on children through the use of puberty blockers and genital surgery as a means to perpetuate culture wars. Maher correlated his comments on “trendiness” with statistics on LGBTQ+ youth in California versus other states, like Ohio, claiming that “either Ohio is shaming them or California is creating them.
HBO must take immediate action and remove Bill Maher and simultaneously take action to let every LGBTQ+ youth know they are loved.
Full disclosure, I know Bill Maher and have appeared a couple times on his show in the long-ago. The second time, in fact, I was there to discuss my firing by CNN in 2017 because the network was upset at my calling out the far-left Media Matters for its obsession with anti-Semitism. Which is to say, we were discussing free speech in America.
Bill from the left and I from the right agreed that free speech was essential to a free country.
Now here we go again with another trend that is increasingly consuming the American Left.
And don’t let Kilmnick’s use of the LGBTQ+ movement fool you. Many, many times in this space I have written of leftist efforts to silence this or that conservative for something that has zero to do with LGBTQ+.
Targeted over the years for removal from radio or television air waves have been the late Rush Limbaugh and in more recent years Fox’s Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham.
All the way back in the Kennedy administration there was a move to get actor and conservative Ronald Reagan removed from his television position as a spokesman for General Electric by threatening to cut off GE contracts with the U.S. government unless Reagan was fired. Why?
Reagan had become a critic of the Kennedy administration, and his remarks and public profile gained attention. As noted here, Reagan said this at the time to son Michael, according to Thomas C. Reed in his book The Reagan Enigma: 1964-1980:
REED: It has its basis in the early ’60s when Mr. Bobby Kennedy became attorney general. He was a very hard-edged politician and once he was attorney general he pursued organized crime but he also began to use the powers of office to harass the political opponents of the Kennedy family. In February of 1962 Kennedy’s Justice Department hauls Ronald Reagan before a grand jury in Los Angeles to look into the activities of the Screen Actors Guild (of which Reagan had been president) and their relationships with the agencies. Two weeks later, after that interrogation, the Justice Department subpoenas Reagan’s tax returns. That is bad enough in itself but then, two months after that, Reagan gets the word that his gig on the General Electric Theater has been canceled. He tells his son who I’ve talked to, he said at a Sunday lunch, he said, Michael, I lost my job today, that I learned that from Ralph Cordiner, the chairman of General Electric, that Bobby Kennedy called and threatened contract cancellations if they don’t get me off the air.
Which is to say, the Left’s impulse to silence speech they don’t like has been around for a very long time.
The difference now is that millions of Americans in the era of television, radio, and the internet are on to the game.
There is only one source that has the ability to silence Bill Maher’s show, and it is exactly the same source that had the ability to cancel Rush or today to silence Tucker, Sean, Laura, or any other person, left or right, who occupies on-air time. That source, of course, is the audience.
Does it really need to be said that the reason Bill Maher and his show are popular is because week after week Bill produces the goods? It is Bill Maher’s job — say again, his job — to be funny, provocative, and thoughtful. He always delivers.
Kilmnick sounds like some ancient fascist dinosaur who wants to stomp out dissent. His group was once an old-fashioned gathering of activists who organized successfully to put their point of view out there. But now they have decided to throw away their achievements to silence a television host who has had the nerve — the nerve — to offend them by exercising, yes, his First Amendment rights.
And what if somebody out there tried to silence the LGBT Network? By, for example, tracking down and publicizing the group’s financial backers? If that happened, Kilmnick justifiably would be infuriated.
It never ceases to amaze just how short-sighted people and organizations like this are when they set out on some crusade to intimidate a critic into silence. They don’t realize that they give themselves a serious black eye in the process.
Cancel Bill Maher? Absolutely not.
Rethink the LGBT Network’s commitment to a fascist-style censorship that isn’t about LGBTQ+ but instead is all about bullying others into silence?