Carey Baker off base with complaints about Comcast banning gun-shop ads

Whoa, Nellie!

It's best to do a little thinking before typing, and nowhere did that advice apply better than this week during a Facebook tempest over media giant Comcast refusing to run advertisements for a gun shop co-owned by Lake County Property Appraiser Carey Baker.

Baker started the festivities when on Monday when he posted an outraged comment about Comcast's company-wide policy to refuse advertising from gun dealers.

Ding! It was as if a starting bell clanged and conservative gun proponents were off to their keyboards. They slammed Comcast for limiting what they saw as Baker's right to free speech. Baker, a former state senator, vowed to call his government representatives to complain.

Oh, my. Do these folks lack the irony bone?

Funny how free speech is a basic right except when a view opposite of their own is being expressed. Do they not realize that Comcast is exercising its First Amendment privilege?

Of course, that leaves Comcast open to criticism for hypocrisy, too. Comcast channels are filled with shows glorifying violence. But, hey, don't worry! Comcast offers Internet service, too, so anybody with a trigger finger can get on the information highway to find the hardware necessary to have their own gun fun.

Several of those commenting on Baker's post remarked that it was wrong that the right to free speech seemed to trump an American's right to bear arms. It didn't. Logic tells a thinker that this is not about taking guns away. It's only about discussing them.

Baker's take was only slightly more subtle. He skipped the constitutional law questions and remarked that Comcast's policy was a "full court press to demonize and marginalize gun owners."

That seems overly dramatic, but he may have a point about one thing: How people in places outside of Florida, which is heavily influenced by the National Rifle Association, think of weapons seems to be changing. Maybe — just maybe — Americans are sick of seeing mentally ill or just angry people get hold of powerful weapons and mow down children.

Baker vowed: "I personally will call 50 state senators and representatives today on this issue."

There's where he runs off the rails. Baker is a longtime conservative, tea-party-leaning Republican. They're supposed to advocate for the free market and keeping government out of business. But now, he wants his friends in the Legislature to lean on Comcast to play nice? Nah. Neither Baker nor his ultra-conservatives buddies can have it both ways.

The conservatives who think that media should have to take ads from everyone should consider whether they'd like to see America, the Catholic church's weekly magazine, be forced to accept advertisements from abortion clinics. (Whoops. Bad example. Maybe they would. After all, a controversial editorial in America in late February called for a repeal of the Second Amendment, guaranteeing the right to bear arms.)

A number of the Facebook posters declared that they would cancel their Comcast accounts and instead buy their entertainment from satellite competitors. C'mon folks. What do you need cable television for? Pick up a book! Get a hobby! Do a little target practice! Stop filling your mind with violence and garbage!

Consider this a challenge. At the Ritchie Resort and Sunshine Sanatorium in lovely Lake Jem, an old-fashioned antenna sits atop the garage. No cable anything.

The dog gets to walk the owner an increasing number of miles, and reality TV glorifying morbidly obese people, featuring smutty supposed models worrying about their fake marriages and dramatizing first-world problems ("My new iPhone won't fit in the back pocket of my favorite jeans!") remain what they should be: distant jokes.

Folks, tobacco and alcohol industries are among the most highly regulated and oft-banned in the country, and they're doing just dandy. Baker won't starve because he can't market his product on the media of choice for the nation's children.

Lritchie@tribune.com. Lauren invites you to send her a friend request on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/laurenonlake.

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