BOSTON (CBS) – If you catch this segment regularly you may know that I’m not a big fan of political correctness, or the self-appointed PC police who try to enforce it.
Freedom of speech is a precious right, and a key part of being an American. Efforts to suppress that right or intimidate its exercise by those who would impose their politics and taste on others ought to be called out and shunned.
And there are plenty of people who agree with me, as Donald Trump has demonstrated by expertly exploiting backlash to political correctness in his campaign.
But not all political correctness is bad.
I am glad that things which were commonplace when I was a kid – the casual use of ethnic slurs, for instance – are no longer considered acceptable in polite society.
And that’s the line Fox News crossed Monday night when they aired a vulgar segment reveling in ignorant stereotypes about Asian-Americans, with heavily edited man-in-the-street interviews belittling people in New York’s Chinatown.
As the president of the Asian American Journalists Association put it, “the segment was rife with racist stereotypes, drew on thoughtless tropes and openly ridiculed Asian Americans,” under the guise of sampling their views on the presidential race, which might have actually been interesting to learn about.
After his juvenile, unamusing report, the reporter laughed about it on the set with Bill O’Reilly, and as of Wednesday night the only thing approaching an apology was an unapologetic expression of “regret” if “anyone found offense.”
Even I took offense at it, and I’m not especially politically correct.
Unless, as in this case, political correctness is necessary.
Listen to Jon’s commentary: