No question that hate speech is on the rise all over the world. The Internet is driving it because you can say any vile thing you want on the Net while hiding under your bed. Cowards everywhere are using cyberspace to lower the bar of discourse. That, in turn, has made it easier for fanatics to use vicious rhetoric in public:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL MUSTO, WRITER: She'll just be looking for a husband who wants the only virgin in the world with breast implants. They also paid for Carrie to cut off her (EXPLETIVE).
JANEAN GARAFALO, COMEDIAN: This is about hating a black man in the White House. This is racism straight up. That is a nothing but a bunch of tea-bagging rednecks.
FRED PHELPS, SR., WESTBORO BAPTIST CHURCH: America is pouring gasoline on the raging fires of God's wrath. America may expect many more dead and maimed bodies from Iraq, many more Katrinas and other natural disasters.
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Well now the British government is saying enough and is banning some of the haters. The Brits actually have a list of people not allowed entry into the country because of what they've said. There are a number of Muslim fanatics on the list and also some Americans.
The most prominent name is Michael Weiner aka Michael Savage, the radio talk show host. Neo-Nazi blogger Eric Gliebe is on the list, as is Jewish militant Mike Guzovsky. Don Black, the former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, is on the list. And the gay-hating father-daughter team Fred and Shirley Phelps are also banned from Britain.
The problem here is: Where does the list end?
The vile attacks on NBC News against Miss California were hate speech. So were the vicious comments directed toward the tea party demonstrators. Will the British government close down NBC's London bureau? And British politician Alan Duncan, will he be deported for his comments about Miss California?
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ALAN DUNCAN, BRITISH POLITICIAN: I don't agree with her, silly (EXPLETIVE). I don't agree with her at all. If you read that Miss California's been murdered, you'll know it was me, won't you?
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And the hate goes on. How about the gay protesters who invade churches? Can they not go to Great Britain? And what about the Minutemen? They protest against illegal aliens. Will Britain ban them?
The truth is that protest is sometimes defined as hate, but that definition can be wrong. There are often two sides to the story, thus a hate speech list is risky business because there are so many contentious points of view in this world.
So I say the list should be narrowed to people who advocate or incite violence. That should be the standard. Certainly, democratic governments have a right to keep the peace and diffuse violent movements before illegal acts are committed. But banning someone for hate speech, as vile as it is, is wrong. So I think the NBC News bureau in London should stay open.
And that's "The Memo."
Pinheads & Patriots
You may remember Olympic gold medal winner Michael Phelps took an image hit with that picture of him smoking pot. But since then Phelps has made amends.
The latest is he will raise money for abused children here in New York City by holding a swimming clinic this summer, an excellent program where everybody wins. Mr. Phelps is a patriot.
On the pinhead front, a few models make a lot of money, but most do not have it easy. In Brazil, a model named Josi BBB9 — that's quite a name — hit the catwalk for a fashion show, and we mean she hit it.
Josi fell not once, but twice in one show. The audience was sympathetic because they know, as you do, the runway is a pinhead.