The Instigator
brian_eggleston
Pro (for)
Losing
22 Points
The Contender
TheSkeptic
Con (against)
Winning
40 Points

Freedom of speech on TV should be restricted

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/8/2009 Category: Entertainment
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,679 times Debate No: 6821
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (2)
Votes (10)

 

brian_eggleston

Pro

Last week, Carol Thatcher was sacked from her job as a presenter of a BBC lightweight current affairs television programme after making a racially insensitive remark which included the word "golliwog"*

http://www.dailymail.co.uk...

The news of this caused much wailing and gnashing of teeth amongst conservatives who claimed the move to fire the daughter of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was "political correctness gone mad."

But can we really allow these highly-paid presenters to spout off with impunity? What if Carol Thatcher was given her own talk show?

"Thank you and welcome to the Carol Thatcher Show. My first guest tonight is Britain's most famous spazz, please give big round of applause for Professor Sterphen Hawking...Professor, you were first diagnosed as a being a flid while you were studying at Cambridge, so when the doctors told you that you were turning into a cabbage and, therefore, about to become a burden on the taxpayer for the rest of your life, why didn't you do the decent thing and top yourself?"

"My next guest will be familiar to you all. He's queer, he's bent, ladies and gentlemen, his arse is up for rent...please welcome to the show, Manchester United pretty-boy - Cristiano Ronaldo...Cristiano, how old were you when you first realised that you were an uphill gardener?"

"It is a real honour to greet my final guest this evening. He is, after all, the first nignog* to be elected as President of America, please give a big hand for Barak Obama...Mr. President, can I first ask if your dicision to relax the trade restrictions on the import of bananas into the United States was a way of saying thank you to all the golliwogs who voted for you?"

No, clearly, there must be limits on free speech on television and I propose that the current restrictions should remain in place.

Thank you.

* "Golliwog" and "nignog" are British slang words for a black person.
TheSkeptic

Con

I thank my opponent for starting this debate and I appreciate his humor :)

=====Arguments=====

Since my opponent uses the term freedom of speech, he argues that some forms of speech should be censored or limited (swearing, racial slurs, etc.). However, I argue that there should be total and complete freedom of speech. Racial slurs and expletives should all be allowed.

The law should only be concerned with protecting people from aggressors. However, when concerning freedom of speech, it should be totally hands off by the government. This means that any word can be uttered on TV as many times as someone wants. If someone has a problem with this, they can switch the damn channel instead of whining - it's not being stuffed down their throat.

This is all I will leave for now, and I await my opponent's response. I apologize is this is a tad short - I didn't realize it was 2 Rounds and personal events have me going here and there.
Debate Round No. 1
brian_eggleston

Pro

I would like to extend my thanks to Skeptik for taking the time to respond to this debate and I should like to start by making it clear that I fully accept my opponent's point that censorship on television should be avoided wherever possible and that people have the choice to watch, or not to watch, a programme that contains language that some would consider offensive. Indeed, I have long held that view myself - at least when it comes to comedy or drama programmes.

However, when it comes to factual programming, especially current affairs, people tend to respect the presenters as figures of authority, and often seek to emulate their superior grammar and vocabulary.

It would be wholly innappropriate, therefore, to allow a presenter to employ foul language or make offensive remarks as these would be then be regarded as respectable and, after a time, become part of the mainstream lexicon.

In due course we could see offensive comments become common, for example in the classroom:

"Girls and boys. I would like to introduce you to a new boy who is part of a travelling family. His name is Seamus and he will be with us for four weeks, which should be just about enough time for his thieving gypsy father to rob us all blind".

Or the courtroom:

"Bernard Madoff, you stand before this court today accused of jewing your clients out of fifty billion dollars. How do you plead, you swindling Yiddo b/st/rd?"

Or the recruitment industry:

"I don't care if you do have all the qualifications darling, you're too overweight to get a job as an air hostess - now get out of my office you fat slag."

No, allowing TV presenters to mouth off like Carol Thatcher would be the thin edge of the wedge that could lead to the demise of the genteel and civilised socirty we live as part of today.

Thank you.
TheSkeptic

Con

I thank brian_eggleston for his interesting and definitely humorous arguments :)

=====Counterarguments=====

>>>However, when it comes to factual programming, especially current affairs, people tend to respect the presenters as figures of authority, and often seek to emulate their superior grammar and vocabulary.<<<

----> Yes, this is indeed true. However, it doesn't mean such factual programmings HAVE to be limited on freedom of speech. Legally speaking, they should be allowed to say whatever they want. However, it's common sense that for factual programming, using expletives is bad business - it drives people away. Cursing shouldn't be banned, it should just be known as common knowledge to factual programming like the news that using foul language can bring down viewership so unless it's Comedy Central or an on-the-edge news programming, cussing won't appear so rampant on such respectable programs.

>>>It would be wholly innappropriate, therefore, to allow a presenter to employ foul language or make offensive remarks as these would be then be regarded as respectable and, after a time, become part of the mainstream lexicon.<<<

----> If the fear is that foul language will become respectable and part of the mainstream lexicon, then it's already too late. Tons upon tons of famous artists, singers, comedians, etc. use foul language and obviously MANY people swear regularly. In fact, In America, 72 percent of men and 58 percent of women swear in public and 74 percent of 18 to 34 year olds and 48 percent of people who are over age 55 do also. [1]

Secondly, if it does happen that cussing becomes part of common day talk (which it already has) and be regarded as respectable, then why the hassle? MANY words we use commonly today were once cuss words. For example, take the word vagina. We can probably think of a lot of variations, but do you know 'attic' once meant vagina in the 1900's Or bag in the late 19th century? Take another word for example: vandal. We commonly define vandals as people who deface public or private property, like graffiti. However, it used to be a derogatory word for Germans, the Vandal tribe that sacked Rome[2]. The thing is, language evolves all the time. Who cares if people cuss and it becomes part of modern language - we've seen the history of that.

>>>No, allowing TV presenters to mouth off like Carol Thatcher would be the thin edge of the wedge that could lead to the demise of the genteel and civilised socirty[sic] we live as part of today.<<<

----> Actually, cussing does more than to offend people. When babies are sad or mad, they usually cry as most of us would know. However, when we grow up society tells us that adults can't cry in public - which is why we cuss instead. Many linguistic researches believe that cussing is just a way to relieve stress and calm yourself[3].

=====Conclusion=====

Cussing is no different from any other type of word. Sure, if I called you a dumb*ss, you may be hurt if I meant it. However, that's because I MEANT IT. If I said it in a laughing manner, most likely you would be totally okay with it. However, if I said I hate your guts and meant it, you'd be hurt because though "hate" isn't a cuss word, you understood my meaning behind it.

Cussing shouldn't be banned on TV because people should have the freedom to hear and say whatever they want. Sure, using it on CNN or BBC may be idiotic, because it will lower viewership unnecessarily (or raise, you never know ;D), but it shouldn't be ILLEGAL. It's just a dumb business move.

---References---
1. Grimm, Matthew. "When the Sh*t Hits the Fan." American Demographics. Vol. 25, no. 10. December 2003.
2. http://www.answers.com...
3. Stapleton, Karyn. "Gender and Swearing: A Community Practice." Women and Language. Vol. 26, no. 2. Fall 2003.
Debate Round No. 2
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by RoyLatham 8 years ago
RoyLatham
I had to guess what the resolution meant. Was it that freedom of speech on TV should be restricted by law? That empowers government bureaucrats to decide what is allowed and disallowed. Denying environmental CO2 crisis could get you tossed. Or was it that the management of a TV station has the right to regulate content? Sure, that's a voluntary condition of employment at the station. I came to the conclusion that Pro was advocating government censorship of all television, much in the model of China. Nah.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 8 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
The resolution is a contradiction in terms lol.
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