When Ludacris insisted
that he had "hoes in different area codes," the country didn’t take
it too well. Bill O’Reilly blasted him. Pepsi fired him. Women’s groups all
over the country called for a boycott against him. The objection to Luda’s lyrics
was widespread and long-lasting.
But on the other
side, no biggie. O’Reilly alluded to a desire to kill Al Franken on his radio
show last year by saying that had he and Franken endured their now-legendary
conflict in the Old West, O’Reilly would have settled things by shooting Franken
"between his head." Public response to this was minimal and people
mostly only made fun of O’Reilly for the wording of his statements instead of
criticizing O’Reilly for the message he was conveying.
Back in the Fall
of 2000, then-Gov. George W. Bush was caught calling journalist Adam Clymer
a "major league a–hole." Again, no big deal. There was about a week’s
worth of fallout from the public and seemingly no objection from the Bush-backing
And now, just last
Tuesday, CNN News reports that Vice-President Dick Cheney used the f-word in
response to statements by Vermont senator Patrick Leahy after Leahy reminded
the vice-president that he had once called Leahy a bad catholic [In an exchange on the Senate floor with Leahy, the vice president told the Senator to f**k himself].
public objection and barely any mention of this incident from America’s conservative
Is there a double
standard at play when Americans crucify rappers for profanity and negative messages
but let politicians off the hook? Some seem to believe the answer is no. The
reason why many Americans hold rappers up to higher standards of decency than
even they themselves live is supposedly because rappers reach children with
their messages and no one wants the children to be corrupted. Because rap is
marketed to kids, America wants rappers to keep it clean.
And I guess since
kids don’t follow politics, journalists and politicians can say whatever they
be held to the same decency standards that rappers and other entertainers are
being held to. The rappers may be the ones who the kids are listening to in
their free time, but when the kids are in school, they are learning about and
discussing the actions of our elected officials. Some kids may feel that rappers
are telling the stories that they can relate to, but it is actually the job
of the politician to represent and make decisions for his constituents and their
families, including the child who has not yet reached voting age.
And yes, most kids
are imitating rappers, not politicians. But the behavior of a politician should
never be so unbecoming that children would be prohibited from talking or behaving
the same way. The argument that the children probably aren’t watching should
be no excuse; anything a politician does should be subject to observation and
scrutiny from any American that his actions are affecting or will affect in
the future, regardless of how old that American is.
should be the people that we want our kids to emulate, but this won’t be the
case as long as politicians are name-calling, cursing people down, and behaving
like foulmouthed seventh-graders.
And O’Reilly? His
show is watched by children believe it or not. He has even considered writing
a book geared toward his younger fans and he was once e-mailed by a young girl
who complimented him for being able to withstand such mean comments from other
viewers. By his own admission, O’Reilly is reaching a young audience, so his
messages shouldn’t include the same thuggery that he so vehemently opposes from
rappers. Expressing a desire to shoot a man for dissing him? You’ll find the
exact same type of talk in the 50 Cent vs. Ja Rule rap feud. That said, O’Reilly
is a hypocrite and is no better than the rappers that he criticizes.
journalists are servants of the public and children are included in this entity
we call "the public." Members of these professions therefore should
not be let off the hook for making any statement that we would find objectionable
if made by a rapper or anyone else who influences children.
The writer can
be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The original article