IFAS | Freedom Writer | June/July 1991 | censors.html

Standing united against censors

Resistance to censorship has resulted in victories for First Amendment freedoms in recent battles in Texas and Florida. Recently, TCA Cable, in Tyler, Texas, pulled the plug on MTV because the cable company considered MTV's music videos "pornographic." Hu ndreds of viewers rallied behind MTV with letters, petitions, and phone calls, both to MTV and TCA Cable. Then, suddenly, without explanation, TCA reinstated MTV. The anti-censorship organizers took credit for the victory.

In Florida, Reverend Donald Wildmon came to Orlando to set up a chapter of his pro-censorship American Family Association (AFA). Local talk show hosts Clive Thomas, Jim Phimps, and Carole Nelson of WWNZ-AM, asked their listeners to show up at the new local AFAs first public meeting. When 2,000 advocates for free speech silowed up, versus about 200 of Wildmon's followers, the Mississippi preacher stayed in the back of the church and sent word that the meeting was cancelled.

That wasn't the end of the matter, though. Wildmon countered by sending letters to WWNZ's sponsors, and claimed that the talk show hosts tried to incite a "pro-pornography" demonstration, and called the action an "assault that WWNZ has made on the Christi ans of central Florida." As a result, the Campbell Soup Company, Allstate Insurance, and a large supermarket chain, pulled their ads. Nevertheless, even with an advertising rate increase, the radio show's adtime continues to be sold out.

"If we don't want our cultural climate set by whoever is the most effective at terrorizing merchants," Clive Thomas said, "we've got to stand up to anybody who wants to deprive us of our country's life blood the freedom of speech. When even a few people stand up and raise their voices, guys like the Reverend Donald Wildmon literally don't have a prayer."

© 1998 Institute for First Amendment Studies, Inc.