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Rationalizing restrictions on free speech

Can you imagine an article like this appearing when Bush was president?  No, back then it was considered “patriotic” for the press to disclose classified information,  even when the information was incorrect or false, so the idea of the press reflecting on the Bush administration’s “struggles” with issues of free expression was unthinkable.  But when Obama wants to stomp on press freedoms for any reason, the press decides to be “reflective” and “philosophical” about the issue.  Craven rationalizations for restricting press freedoms under Obama are to be expected.  I particularly like this reader’s comment which I saw when I originally read the article:  “You are surprised Obama is stepping on the 1st Amendment? He tried to stomp on the 2nd Amendment for over a year now! The only Amendment this Administration seems to think is important is the 5th Amendment so they can hide behind it.”

And don’t think for a moment that it’s just the Obama administration.  No, it’s pretty widespread throughout the Democrat party.  Consider Dick Durbin’s (D-IL) thoughts about whether or not free speech ought to apply to bloggers:

Fox News host Chris Wallace asked Senator Dick Durbin whether Barack Obama’s promise to have Eric Holder look into cases of abuse that he personally approved represents a conflict of interest, but Durbin dodges that question and talks instead about the shield law proposed repeatedly over the last few years as the appropriate Congressional response to the scandal.  However, Durbin asks what exactly “freedom of the press” means in 2013, and wonders aloud whether it would include bloggers, Twitter users, and the rest of the Internet media [Video at the link].
Of course this sort of thing has a long history on college campuses, where different species of activists–the core of the Democrats’ left wing constituency–always want to restrict free speech.  Not surprisingly, Facebook is also being pressured to restrict freedom of speech among its users.
Facebook on Tuesday acknowledged that its systems to identify and remove hate speech had not worked effectively, as it faced pressure from feminist groups that want the site to ban pages that glorify violence against women.
The activists, who sent more than 5,000 e-mails to Facebook’s advertisers and elicited more than 60,000 posts on Twitter, also prompted Nissan and more than a dozen smaller companies to say that they would withdraw advertising from the site.
In a blog post, Facebook said its “systems to identify and remove hate speech have failed to work as effectively as we would like, particularly around issues of gender-based hate.” The company said it would review how it dealt with such content, update training for its employees, increase accountability — including requiring that users use their real identities when creating content — and establish more direct lines of communication with women’s groups and other entities.
Never fear, though, misandry and hatred of conservatives will still remain in fashion.
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15 Comments

  1. The modern left believes it is OK to take away people’s rights, as long as there’s a vote involved.

    Democracy legitimizes tyranny.

    Comment by V the K — May 29, 2013 @ 1:08 pm - May 29, 2013

  2. I see Mr. Durbin is still hard at work living up to his nickname.

    Comment by alanstorm — May 29, 2013 @ 3:34 pm - May 29, 2013

  3. Just to note: There is a fundamental difference between censorship by the government and that by Facebook. Facebook is a private entity. If they want to restrict “hate speech” (however they define it), that is their prerogative.

    Comment by MarcW — May 29, 2013 @ 4:07 pm - May 29, 2013

  4. All member of Congress need to have the United States Constitution written on the walls off their offices. Durbin is just plain damn dumb.

    Comment by SC.Swampfox — May 29, 2013 @ 5:44 pm - May 29, 2013

  5. Question to GayPatriot founders, Has anyone associatied with Gay Patriot had any trouble with the IRS?

    Comment by SC.Swampfox — May 29, 2013 @ 6:27 pm - May 29, 2013

  6. Dick Durbin is Sheila Jackson-Lee without the crazy hair.

    Comment by My Sharia Moor — May 29, 2013 @ 7:32 pm - May 29, 2013

  7. Yeah, why is it “Marverick” Republicans like John McCain, Marco Rubio, and Lindsey Graham never try to work out deals with relatively moderate Senate Democrats, but always run straight into the arms of full-on hardcore lefties like Chuck Schumer and Russ Feingold?

    Comment by V the K — May 29, 2013 @ 8:22 pm - May 29, 2013

  8. I wonder if Gay Patriot hasn’t become the refuge of the disaffected.

    Comment by Richard Bell — May 29, 2013 @ 11:21 pm - May 29, 2013

  9. MarcW: Your point is well-taken, and there is a fundamental difference. I just included the Facebook article because I came across it while I was working on the post and thought it fit well enough with the general theme. One might say it is indicative of the behavior of the leftist activist class in the culture generally, and as remarked in my post, that class forms the basis of the Democrats’ core constituency these days.

    Comment by Kurt — May 29, 2013 @ 11:39 pm - May 29, 2013

  10. Kurt, Your point well taken. I do agree that it’s indicative of many liberals’ attitudes toward free speech (for me and not for thee). And looking back at your post I realize that the title of your post referenced restrictions on free speech and not violations of the constitution.

    Still, I like to be clear about the distinction between actions of the government and those of a private entity.

    Comment by MarcW — May 30, 2013 @ 1:14 am - May 30, 2013

  11. In my experience, the activist class doesn’t make the private/public distinction quite so finely: everything, by default, is public property.

    Comment by Ignatius — May 30, 2013 @ 9:31 am - May 30, 2013

  12. Breitbart used my uploaded video of Durbin (its HD):

    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Journalism/2013/05/27/Dem-Senator-Durbin-Not-Sure-if-Bloggers-Deserve-Constitutional-Protection

    Comment by Papa Giorgio — May 30, 2013 @ 11:33 am - May 30, 2013

  13. Dick Durbin is Sheila Jackson-Lee without the crazy hair.

    Hey, what’s wrong with a triple-crown weave?? It’s not as if SJL is using her cranium for anything important. 😉

    Regards,
    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — May 30, 2013 @ 12:38 pm - May 30, 2013

  14. Who does a guy have to sleep with to get some fresh content in this joint?

    😛

    Comment by My Sharia Moor — May 30, 2013 @ 3:09 pm - May 30, 2013

  15. I was not involved, but yes, I did sign the warrant, for which I now feel regret. It was the fault of Congress for failing to enact a media shield law. Please Congress, stop me before I search again.

    Comment by P. Possum — June 2, 2013 @ 2:21 pm - June 2, 2013

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