Yanking Benham twins from HGTV amounts to silencing opinions

Liberty University alumni twins David and Jason Benham

Liberty University alumni twins David and Jason Benham are recognized as special guests at the commencement ceremony in Lynchburg, Va., Saturday, May 10, 2014. (Credit: AP / News & Daily Advance / Parker Michels-Boyce)

Ellis Henican

Newsday columnist Ellis Henican Ellis Henican

Henican is a columnist for Newsday. He also is a

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Do the Benham twins really need to be kept off HGTV?

I don't happen to share Jason and David's old-timey views on marriage and abortion. But that doesn't mean the brothers' conservative outlook makes them unfit to host "Flip It Forward," a new home-repair show just yanked even before it reached air. Oh, come on! It's not like the Benhams came out in favor of asbestos roofing tile or purple velvet wallpaper!

The well-scrubbed duo, bless their hearts, are just the latest roadkill of Outrage Inc., a roving ideological hit squad that seeks to root out disagreeable opinions wherever they may lurk. The Benhams were targeted by Right Wing Watch, a dogged blog on Outrage's left flank. But the right flank stays just as busy unloading on Bill Maher, Michael Moore and, lately, Stephen Colbert.

Whichever side is pretending to be offended, the contention is always the same: Those loudmouths are haters! They must be silenced! Now!

HGTV's jumpy defenders make the usual arguments as well. There is no First Amendment right to host a TV program. A profit-making network must guard its brand jealously. If the Benhams weren't booted, sensitive viewers and employees would be offended for sure.

Well, here's something even more offensive than a disagreeable opinion. The day when that opinion can never be uttered out loud.

 

THAT OFFENDS ME

 

1. Your opinion

2. Your argument

3. Your analogy

4. Your appearance

5. Your failure to just be quiet and let me talk

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THE NEWS IN SONG: Get knocked down, come back stronger: "Riot on the Rooftops" by Our Innocence Lost, tinyurl.com/roofriot

 

 

LONG ISLANDER OF THE WEEK: DR. KEVIN TRACEY

 

Most brain surgeons stay brain surgeons. But Kevin Tracey grew convinced he could start saving people more than one at a time. After the painful loss of an infant patient (recounted in his book, "Fatal Sequence"), he finally made the leap, devoting himself to research. Now a global leader in immunology, neuroscience and what he calls "the real revolution in patient care," bioelectronic medicine, he is CEO of the Manhasset-based Feinstein Institute for Medical Research at North Shore-LIJ Health System. There, he and his team are battling everything from rheumatoid arthritis to inflammatory bowel disease to sepsis and making real progress, he believes. He still brings his surgeon's urgency to the cause. "We are going straight from the bench to the bedside," Tracey says. "People can't wait anymore."

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