Hats off to free speech warrior and country music star Brad Paisley, who used his celebrity to shame the Country Music Assn. into dropping its attempt to muzzle the press covering its 51st awards program Nov. 8 in Nashville.
Attempting to mimick the "safe spaces" erected on college campuses to shield "sensitive students" from real world topics and controversies, the CMA sought to ban journalists from asking musicians about the Oct. 1 massacre that killed 58 country music fans and injured 500 more at the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas.
The CMA had issued press guidelines that promised to boot any reporter who had the temerity to ask about the "Las Vegas tragedy, gun rights, political affiliations or topics of the like." An offending reporter would have credentials "revoked via security resort."
Paisley, who will co-host the awards show with Carrie Underwood, swung into action Nov. 1 via Twitter, saying he's sure "the CMA will do the right thing and rescind these ridiculous and unfair guidelines."
CMA is no match for Paisley's star power. It caved and killed the guidelines.
The organization apologized, saying its sentiment was "not to infringe, but created with the best of intentions to honor and celebrate country music." Of course, infringing upon press freedom and the right of artists to speak their minds was exactly what CMA attempted to do.
Paisley got it completely right, promising to address the Las Vegas shooting, but not to dwell on it.
Enjoy the show. It will be broadcast live on ABC.