I wanted to point to this example of Clear Channel - parent company of the Tucson radio station KNST that broadcasts the Rush Limbaugh show - taking down a billboard that featured the copy "straight shooter" referencing Limbaugh and what appeared to be bullet holes in the picture, as an example of the chilling of political speech.
In a statement to TPM, Clear Channel, which also manages the billboard, said the ad "used the common expression 'straight shooter' to describe Mr. Limbaugh's candid and direct style." The company also said explicitly that it was KNST's promotion department that created the ad, not Limbaugh's show. But after Saturday, company management decided it might not be such a good idea to keep the ad up.
"Clear Channel Outdoor management in Tucson quickly elected to take down this ad - believing that discussion of its interpretation would not contribute to the desire for healing in the Tucson community," Clear Channel said.
Indeed, I will guarantee that the left and the media will seek to stifle metaphors that they believe are "violent" and will constantly be calling out writers, talk show hosts, and guests on the cable nets who use them. We have entered a new, more restrictive era in political speech - especially since the left believes they can score points by exaggerating the impact of military or warlike metaphors. As long as liberals believe they can get political mileage out of criticizing their opponents in this artificial and strained manner, they will do it.
But given the location of the billboard, Clear Channel probably did the right thing. The same billboard in Illinois would probably not even raise an eyebrow but in Tucson, it might be offensive to some people. Clear Channel, not being in the business of offending their listeners, made a wise move both economically and as a gesture of solidarity with the community of Tucson.