Culture Warriors Are Missing the Point

Viacom took a heavy-handed beating last week in The Washington Times. Robert Knight, senior fellow at the American Civil Rights Union, slammed the cable giant in the top op-ed of Friday’s Commentary section.

“All the major networks are awash in sex, profanity, violence and attacks on religion,” Knight writes. “But for sheer creepiness, Viacom wins, hands down.”

His reasons? Viacom’s Nickelodeon has a website which links to, which is BAD. Also, Viacom—or “Vilecom,” as Knight calls it—runs the “homosexual” LOGO network and Comedy Central, “which puts profanities in fourth-graders’ mouths in South Park” and which is currently developing a “blasphemous cartoon series” about Jesus Christ. MTV, also owned by Viacom, has just premiered a series about a geeky high-schooler with “abnormally-large genitalia.” This isn’t just trash, Knight explains; this is trash “aimed right at kids.”

“If someone came into your home and showed your child this stuff, under his raincoat, you’d have him arrested—at the least.” Knight fumes. “But Nickelodeon and MTV hum right along, fueled by ads from Disney, Hamburger Helper and other amoral advertisers.”

Knight is hardly the only vocal critic of Viacom. He joins legions of radical Muslims who condemned Viacom for South Park’s depiction of the prophet Mohammed.

The great defense attorney Clarence Darrow once said in a closing argument, “I am always suspicious of righteous indignation. Nothing is more cruel than righteous indignation.”

If there is a culture war being waged right now, it is not between the “moral” and the “immoral”; it is between those who would enforce their morality on others and those who believe in a free marketplace of ideas.

As America is terrorized by those here and abroad who wish to limit our freedom of expression, it is disappointing that those who claim to be patriots are attacking that which separates us from our enemies.