Civil Rights Watch: First Amendment under pressure

Civil Liberties Watch: First Amendment Under Pressure

Although it is becoming more clear by the day that the embassy attacks in the middle east last week were not merely the result of an inflammatory movie, but a planned and well-orchestrated attack, the voices seeking to weaken the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution are becoming more shrill.

A professor of religious studies at the University of Pennsylvania, Althea Butler, wrote that the maker of the film should be imprisoned. Hilariously, she even touts her status as a tenured professor to trot out the obligatory, “yes, I support freedom of speech, but…” (There’s always a “but,” isn’t there?) Journalist Mike Barnicle said that the preacher Terry Jones, who had merely promoted the film, should be arrested. Naturally, his fellow journalist Donny Deutsch was quick to agree. Many supposedly liberal celebrities called for the filmmakers to be punished.  The White House confirmed that it had requested Youtube to remove the film, which, to their credit, they refused to do.

Perhaps some background of precedent is necessary. No less a constitutional authority than music producer Russell Simmons brought up Oliver Wendall Holmes’ famous observation that, “you can’t yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theater” as a reason to imprison the filmmaker. Ironically, Simmons has championed himself as a defender of free speech in the past, but seems to have changed his mind. To be fair, he wasn’t the only dopey public figure to make this case.

To use the theater example, falsely yelling “fire” in a theater could conceivably result in an immediate panic, resulting in a very probable, immediate loss of life or serious physical injury.To say this is the same as watching a film on Youtube that makes bad pornography look positively Spielberg-esque  is absurd.


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About the Author
is a retired USAF PJ, current U.S. government contractor, and lover of sandwiches. He can often be found peddling a rusty beach cruiser around the beaches of San Diego, smoking dried banana peels and arguing with hippies.

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  • Steve75

    My question is a little off topic and rhetorical. How is it that at all of the protests that we see on CNN and other networks coming out of the middle east all of the signs are in english?

  • Wiggy111

    @bkgreenfeet  Get out your barf bag before reading this:   http://hotair.com/archives/2012/10/25/father-of-seal-killed-in-benghazi-hillary-told-me-we-will-make-sure-that-the-person-who-made-that-film-is-arrested-and-prosecuted/

  • Icegator

     @SEAN SPOONTS    Right, and I beT her type would be the first to have a conniption if someone wanted to limit freedom of the press!

  • SEAN SPOONTS

    @Icegator Agreed. But look at the reaction of Ms Eltahawy to free speech she doesn't like; censorship, vandalism and denounciation. She has no idea what free speech is. She's a garden variety fascist.

  • MedicSteve2

     @SEAN SPOONTS That was a flippin hilarious video. I felt bad for the lady who got her sweater trashed, but, WOW!  That Mona-Lisa chick was off the scale.     I could hear the voice of my dad saying, "Steve, A little knowledge is a dangerous thing."  My old man gets smarter all the time.