The Horse Sense Blog compares the nonsense in today's news with good ol' fashioned horse sense


“…I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve.… It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.” - Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775


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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Sony Hack And The Foolish Statements Of Conservative Talk Show Hosts

Here's the Nonsense:  Sony should have stood up to the threat and not bowed to the threats.  America needs to be strong and not allow itself to be bullied.

Here's the Horse Sense:  Sony and America are two different things.  Sony made a business decision and, frankly, if they hadn't they'd risk the future of their company.  It's foolish to expect of them what we should expect from our government.

As the story has unfolded about the North Korean hack on Sony that ultimately has led to the cancellation of their movie, The Interview, I have heard way too many conservative talk show hosts make foolish statements about what has happened.  They need to think things through before making such statements.

What I'm referring to is the fact that many conservative talk show hosts have been very upset and spoken out against Sony's decision to cancel the release of The Interview.  They talk of America needing to stand up against the bullies of terror and so forth.  While I agree that it is important for America to stand up when threatened, for if we don't, they will be no different than the schoolyard bully of our youth.  You can't appease them.  When you try to, they only are encouraged to do more bullying.

But the point here is that that is the position America must take, which of course we cannot expect of the current administration as they are not only weak, but appeasement is part of their ideology, even though they, themselves, are bullies.  But when it comes to world powers, they are the kind of people who believe that if you just back off and show the enemy that you won't bother them, they believe that the enemy will leave you alone.  It's exactly the same as Neville Chamberlain believed of Hitler, and we all know where that led.

Back to the point.  The reason these hosts are wrong in their criticism is that it's not America that cancelled The Interview, it's Sony.  Sony is a private corporation (and the parent company is Japanese, not American).  They had many of the theaters they distribute their movies to tell them that they would not show the movie because they were concerned about the terror threats of attacks at the theaters if the movie was shown.  So, Sony faced a situation where income would be limited because theaters would not play the movie.  

But even more important, both the theater owners and Sony made a business decision, something I'm sure most talk show hosts don't understand because, well, they are talk show hosts, not businesspeople.  That's okay, but they need to walk in the other person's moccasins before speaking out, even if that walk is only a mental exercise trying to understand why the decision was made.

I'm a businessman and have been for over 39 years.  I am sure that Sony and the theater owners looked at the threat and realized that if that movie is shown and someone gets harmed, their liability is huge.  We live in a very litigious society.  The potential for a lawsuit (or series of suits) is gigantic.  They can even look at the damage that happened to the movie theater in Aurora, CO after the shooting rampage there a few years ago.  It destroyed the business.  People would no longer go to that theater.

For Sony and the theater owners, this was about avoiding a financial disaster.  It's that simple. And unless they were protected by some law that Congress would pass saying that they couldn't be sued in a situation like this, it's absolutely understandable that they would make the decision they did.

Let me add to that that even if there were laws that protected them, if they still went ahead with the showing and an attack occurred, the damage to their image would be devastating.  People would refuse to do business with them again, just like they did with the Aurora, CO movie theater after the shooting.  The risk to the theaters goes far beyond just this movie.

So, to criticize them for protecting their business interests is foolish.  Sure, it'd be nice if they took a strong stand against the threat, but the threat goes far beyond just what the terrorists might do.  Sony and the theater owners are not the American government. They are businesspeople simply making a business decision.

That may not sit well with conservatives, but I can't imagine any successful businessperson making a decision otherwise.  Putting all emotion aside, the only logical thing for them to do is exactly what they did.  What the American government should do is an entirely different discussion.