Wednesday, December 26, 2012

They said that if I voted for Mitt Romney, the government would dismantle our right of free speech...

...and they were right!

The Rioter’s Veto - Can violence in the Middle East justify censorship in the United States?

 
On September 6, the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) signed a contract to buy space for this message from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), which had concluded that the First Amendment required it to accept the controversial ad. Less than two weeks later, WMATA declared that AFDI’s advocacy was not constitutionally protected after all, pointing to violent Middle Eastern protests blamed on Innocence of Muslims, an online video mocking the prophet Muhammad.

The idea that riots in other countries justify censorship in the U.S. represents a new form of heckler’s veto, making freedom of speech contingent on the predicted responses of the touchiest listeners anywhere in the world. Such a policy is dangerous to freedom of expression, providing a license to suppress speech deemed provocative, and to public safety, encouraging violence aimed at eliminating offensive messages.
 
WMATA's decision was sensibly overturned by a District Judge, but it shouldn't have been necessary.

It was necessary, however, because the Obama administration and Obama himself had gone to the extra-ordinary length of lying to the American and world public in order to blame free speech in America for violence in Libya. 

Even if it had been true - which it obviously wasn't - that tactic would still have been inexcusable as an effort to trade American freedoms for foreign sensibilities. It has to represent a major blot on Obama's record as steward of the Constitution.

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