Letter to the editorMarch 21, 2003
I write in response to Alex Rosemblat's column defending the Dixie Chicks. First, bringing up the First Amendment is irrelevant to demonstrating that the Dixie Chicks are entitled to airtime on privately owned radio stations. The First Amendment ensures that the government cannot interfere with its citizens' self-expression; it does not similarly regulate the private sphere.
Secondly, it seems that the point of the column is to say that we should allow other people freedom of expression by not expressing our own opinions freely. The simple act of refusing to play certain songs is in itself an expression of one's opinion. Therefore, under the stated assumption that America is 'a place where [citizens] can say anything they want,' these radio stations have the right to state their opinion of the Dixie Chicks by not playing their songs.
Perhaps it is an overreaction on the part of the radio stations, but Rosemblat's logic should have led to the opposite conclusion: if we are free to express our opinions, and if we hold the opinion that the Dixie Chicks do not deserve airtime, then we are free to express our opinion by not giving them airtime.
I personally believe that the radio stations are overreacting to an immature comment, but I also believe that Rosemblat's poor rhetoric will not help the cause of free speech.