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Thursday, July 10, 2003
No Liberals Need Apply?
An ex-radio talk show host from South Carolina is suing her former employer for firing her.
The suit alleges that co-hosts Herriott Clarkson Mungo III, also known as Bill Love, and Hayden Hudson, also known as Howard Hudson, encouraged Cordonier to join their pro-war discussions regarding the invasion of Iraq.

The conversations became contentious on several occasions and management's tolerance for opinions decreased as war drew closer, the suit alleges. The suit also alleges that Love and Hudson belittled her both on and off the air because of her political beliefs.

"I went through hell," Cordonier told The Greenville News Monday. "I was forced out because I would not comply with their orders to be silent."
As is often the case, the facts are unclear from the news coverage, but it adds:
The suit cites a state law that declares a person cannot be fired because of political opinions.

Thought Number 1: I wonder how many people who would cite this a horrifying example of the suppression of free speech in this country also cheered the firing of Michael Savage by MSNBC?

Thought number 2: What kind of idiotic law is that? It sounds superficially reasonable -- but as written, it would apparently protect not only this radio host, but also a Michael Savage from being fired in South Carolina. In this instance, the story isn't entirely clear, so I can't be certain whether this host was fired for expressing her anti-war views on the air, or merely for holding those views. If the former -- as in the Michael Savage case -- it seems to me that there would be clear first amendment problems with applying such a law. To force a station to employ someone whose on-air views are contrary to the station's is tantamount to forcing a particular set of views on the station.

If the latter, there likely isn't a constitutional problem with the law -- but that doesn't make it less questionable. Why should an employer be forced to retain an employee who holds unpalatable political views? Should a black employer be prohibited from firing a member of the Klan? A Jewish employer be forced to keep on an avowed supporter of Hamas? (Are these extreme examples? Certainly. But, then, these sorts of laws are only needed for extreme situations. Nobody is going to fire an employee for being in favor of fireworks on the 4th of July. It's people who hold extreme views that will attract the ire of employers.)

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