Sunday, October 18, 2009

Heritage Hearts Dissent (Except at Its Own Events)

For some strange reason, someone decided to invite The Green Miles to tonight's "premiere" of Not Evil Just Wrong, a new global warming denial movie. I say "premiere" because the film has already been screened regularly this year at conservative political conferences.

So why stage a phony "premiere"? The Washington Independent reports, "Some conservative films like last year's An American Carol have been given mass releases that backfired when audiences failed to show up." Ah. Makes sense now.

Anyway, I come here not to slam the documentary, which richly deserves the complete indifference it's received from the non-teabagging world. I come to slam the hosts: The Heritage Foundation.

It's certainly not surprising that Heritage would host these filmmakers. After all, their last movie was a mining "documentary" funded by the mining industry. Now they're screening their pro-fossil fuels "documentary" at Heritage, which has received at least $530,000 from ExxonMobil in just the last decade.

But a line in the invitation caught my eye: "Terms and Conditions of Attendance are posted online at".

Here's an excerpt from that page:
This event is open to the public as part of The Heritage Foundation’s commitment to promote reasoned discussion and understanding of important public policy issues. In support of these goals, The Heritage Foundation expects that all attendees will conduct themselves with courtesy and respect for every speaker and those in the audience, regardless of agreement or disagreement with any speaker or member of the audience. Accordingly, The Heritage Foundation reserves the right to deny admission to, and to remove, anyone who, while our guest, does not conduct themselves with courtesy and respect for the speakers and the audience.
All that would be totally fine -- it fits most every public standard for decorum -- if not for one thing. The Heritage Foundation spent all summer defending that very behavior.

The Heritage Foundation blog defended teabaggers as "upset citizens" and decried any attempt to maintain decorum as an effort to "silence" protesters and "stage manage" events.

So if an elected official tries to maintain civility at a public event, it's cause for revolution. But if anyone tries to revolt at a Heritage Foundation event, they could be arrested.

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