The same wingnuts who are insisting today that there’s absolutely no connection at all between speech and actions have spent an awful lot of time over the past several decades saying exactly the opposite.

I’m old enough to remember when rap music inspired negroes to kill police officers and a TV sitcom was to blame for the L.A. riots.

In modern America taking on a popular TV character, even a fictional one, is politically more precarious than taking a clear stand on a substantive campaign issue. And yet the Vice President dared to argue last week in a San Francisco speech that the Los Angeles riots were caused in part by a “poverty of values” that included the acceptance of unwed motherhood, as celebrated in popular culture by the CBS comedy series Murphy Brown.

Absurd, yes? Not according to Sarah Palin.

Standing up for the family wasn’t fashionable then and it is even less fashionable now. Many of us remember one of the early and epic clashes of the American heartland versus Hollywood over the role of the American family.

It was May 1992, and thirty-eight million Americans watched as a fictional television journalist named Murphy Brown, finding herself over forty, divorced, and pregnant, decided to have the child alone. Without the baby’s father. On prime-time television.

LalalalalaFree speech free speech!!11!!!