Palin opens mouth, stupidity ensues, Conservatives bark approvingly

Posted by on Nov 1, 2008 in election 2008 | 0 comments

The confusion would be comic if I didn’t know they were serious:

Sarah Palin:

If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations,” Palin told host Chris Plante,“then I don’t know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media.”

This warped view is rooted in a simple mindset: “free speech is fine as long as I agree with it.” and “anyone who espouses contrary views (the media for starters) don’t count as free speech.”

Glenn Greenwald gets to the point: (and it’s a damn shame this even has to be pointed out…)

The First Amendment is actually not that complicated. It can be read from start to finish in about 10 seconds. It bars the Government from abridging free speech rights. It doesn’t have anything to do with whether you’re free to say things without being criticized, or whether you can comment on blogs without being edited, or whether people can bar you from their private planes because they don’t like what you’ve said.

If anything, Palin has this exactly backwards, since one thing that the First Amendment does actually guarantee is a free press. Thus, when the press criticizes a political candidate and a Governor such as Palin, that is a classic example of First Amendment rights being exercised, not abridged.

This isn’t only about profound ignorance regarding our basic liberties, though it is obviously that. Palin here is also giving voice to the standard right-wing grievance instinct: that it’s inherently unfair when they’re criticized. And now, apparently, it’s even unconstitutional.

And, of course, wingnuts worldwide are going batshit with fear mongering that the coming liberal “movement” is going to be straight out of 1984 replete with state owned banks, military tribunals without due process, violation of domestic privacy laws, ethics violations and incompetency.

Good thing McCain and Palin are here to save us from all that.

Update:  Sam Cook at Comparitech has written a nice article on the First Amendment and free speech online that I highly recommend.

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