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Gaffney’s First Amendment argument FAILS
Gaffney’s First Amendment argument FAILS
Washington Times columnist Frank Gaffney is throwing a temper tantrum because Paul Krugman called him and his newspaper out for putting forth hate speech. In a today’s column, entitled "Free speech, but not for me?" Gaffney says:
Tuesday, June 16,2009 08:39
Daily Kos

Washington Times columnist Frank Gaffney is throwing a temper tantrum because Paul Krugman called him and his newspaper out for putting forth hate speech.

 

In a today"s column, entitled "Free speech, but not for me?" Gaffney says:

 

I was surprised to see the New York Times columnist take a swipe at me and the paper that has long been my home. Since Frank Rich, another New York Times columnist, and numerous bloggers have all written essentially the same thing as Mr. Krugman, it is obvious that a new line of attack against conservatives is emerging. It needs to be stopped in its tracks.

 

Gaffney"s argument is that by criticizing him, Krugman is trying to deny him (Gaffney) his First Amendment rights. To find out why that FAILS, on so many levels, follow me below the fold.

 

ObamOcala"s diary :: ::

First of all, let"s all remember that critcism is not suppression. Simply calling what Gaffney wrote "hate speech" is not the same as saying Gaffney should be fined, imprisoned or otherwise prohibited from saying what he said. Krugman simply said:

 

...supposedly respectable news organizations and political figures are giving aid and comfort to dangerous extremism.

 

What will the consequences be? Nobody knows, of course, although the analysts at Homeland Security fretted that things may turn out even worse than in the 1990s — that thanks, in part, to the election of an African-American president, "the threat posed by lone wolves and small terrorist cells is more pronounced than in past years."

 

And that’s a threat to take seriously. Yes, the worst terrorist attack in our history was perpetrated by a foreign conspiracy. But the second worst, the Oklahoma City bombing, was perpetrated by an all-American lunatic. Politicians and media organizations wind up such people at their, and our, peril.

 

Note that nowhere does Krugman call for a law prohibiting newspapers and other media outlets from paying people like Gaffney to spew their garbage. He simply says responsible media outlets wouldn"t do it.

 

And therein lies the key to the failure of Gaffney"s protest that Krugman and other liberal pundits are trying to "silence" him.

 

The First Amendment gives Frank Gaffney the right to stand on a street corner or get up at a party and say anything he wants to say about President Obama (short of directly threatening to kill him or overtly calling upon others to do so, of course, which Gaffney has not done).

 

But the First Amendment doesn"t give him the right to flat-out make stuff up and then get paid to distribute the resulting drivel to a national audience.

 

Criticism of a president"s policies, and even of the president himself, is and should be, as Gaffney points out, fair game.

 

But taking a few lines from a president"s speech to a Muslim audience and using those lines to stoke fears that President Obama is in league with terrorists, or planning to impose Sharia law on Americans, clearly crosses the line of responsible criticism. Of course, one would not expect Gaffney himself to recognize that fact.

 

It should not, however, be too much to ask those who sign his paychecks to know where that line is drawn.

 

The Source


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