TAKING BACK AMERICA!

    Wednesday, May 18, 2005

    We Have a Right Damn It!

    The First Amendment in the Bill of Rights declares: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. Does the phrase abridging the freedom of speech include irresponsible speech as well? Consider some examples -
    • If you yell FIRE (as it is your right of speech to do) when there is no fire and someone is injured you can face criminal as well as civil penalties;
    • If you threaten the life of the President of the USA (as it is your right of speech to do) you might very well get a visit from the Secret Service, maybe even be placed into custody or even jail - just for something spoken or written;
    • If you sell something and you say something about your product or service that is not true (as it is your right of speech to do) you might find yourself very open to civil penalties and possibly even criminal penalties;
    • If you burn some Korans and make a scene at some Islamic temple yelling how some self-illusioned potentate is worthless scum (as it is your right of speech to do) you might find yourself open to civil penalties or even criminal penalties if any civil rights are thought to have been violated.
    There are hundreds (or more?) other scenerios where responsible expression is expected and even required by people in our country. But what about professionals whose livelihood is speech or print?
    • What about a news station that exaggerates a story in such a way as to intentionally place our country at risk?
    • What about a major magazine company that intentionally publishes an article that isn't even true, knowing it will cause division between a group of people and our country?
    • What if lives are lost or put at risk because of irresponsible speech and print professionals?
    Individuals that are not even professionals are held to a much higher degree of responsible freedom of speech / expression than professionals, and somehow that just isn't right. The good people in this country should demand that such professionals be held no less accountable than we individuals.

    5 comments:

    Pundit said...

    The big problem is that the Bush administration should get more actively involved in formulating some form of legal action against newsweek. Amid all the confusion, nobody seems to be addressing the fact that the newsweek story came to them through some channel of communication. If they really wanted to, they could backtrack to the source. Any news item that results in the civil chaos and deaths that resulted from this is a crime, like shouting "fire" and anybody who used that source and fails to turn over on it is guilty of accessory to murder. I watched a news conference yesterday and the whitehouse spokesman was grilled by the press corp about how nasty Bush was for demanding Newsweek make a retraction or apology. The administration should not cave in on this. That act contributed to terrorism, adversely affected our ally, and endangers troops. Newsweek should be held criminally liable. And since that story allegedly came from somebody in the adminisration, not only is the leak and the lie inexcusable, it is a treasonable offense when it endangers our troops and affects the war effort over there.

    Pundit said...

    BTW--It is important that people be made to understand, as you point out, that ordinary people are held to a higher standard than the so-called professional journalists. (Contradiction in terms?) the ones who claim to be professional are demanding to be allowed a pass for having no responsibility at all.

    : JustaDog said...

    Good points pundit! It was also a bit disappointing (yet not surprisingly so) that CBS never apologized to President Bush or the Bush family for spewing on the national airways the fraud they committed. Again, just another example of 0 responsibility.

    Gullyborg said...

    You have the right to freedom of speech, unless Kevin Mannix catches you putting an elephant on your "Kitty Piercy is not my mayor" bumper sticker.

    The Rambling Taoist said...

    What about a news station that exaggerates a story in such a way as to intentionally place our country at risk?

    What about a news station that carries verbatim the Bush Administration's continued exaggerations that place our country at risk?

    What about a major magazine company that intentionally publishes an article that isn't even true, knowing it will cause division between a group of people and our country?

    Gosh. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the Newsweek article IS true. The allegations made have been documented over the past few months by several news sources. Go to workingforchange.com to get the scoop.

    The good people in this country should demand that such professionals be held no less accountable than we individuals.

    Finally, something you & I actually agree on. So how DO we make the president more accountable?