“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they may not want to hear.” A simple yet immensely meaningful quote from an English student Alexander Butcher. My retort to such a statement is when does certain speech go too far, or can our first amendment rights ever cross the line? ( Orwellfoundation.com)
Being a writer and independent podcaster I’m a staunch believer in freedom of speech and expression being absolute in almost any case. Similar to the way gun nuts defend their 2nd amendment right to bear arms, no matter the potentially deadly consequences of violence and mass shootings where firearms are the essential tool for mass murder.
But the focus here is deciphering between controversial subject matter, hate speech or the dangerous spreading of false information. We can analyze one of the more famous cases of disseminating lies and misinformation by former president Donald Trump via Twitter. Was it actually the content Trump was transmitting on a social media site with millions of users daily, or was it more so that it was emanating from the president of the most powerful nation on Earth?
I tend to believe that if the nonsense, and sometimes extremely hurtful comments, were coming from a total nobody it most likely would’ve been lost in translation amongst the billions of tweets from that particular site. Were Donald Trump’s first amendment rights infringed upon? Did the powers that be at Twitter ban Trump for life due to the rhetoric he spewed so often or perhaps for their own political reasons?
Moving on from the Trump vs Twitter argument, I’d prefer to dig a bit deeper and more current.
Alex Jones, head honcho at Infowars, where conspiracy theories run so rampant and at times so ridiculous you’d almost have to believe it’s all a sick joke. But the most egregious, legally consequential one of all was Alex Jones’ shameless and revolting theory that the Sandy Hook school massacre was a Hollywood style stunt. That bit of vile, trash ‘journalism” landed Jones in a defendants chair in a federal courtroom.
The ensuing trial was a massive defeat for Alex Jones both financially and in the eyes of the general public. Jones’ credibility as the king of conspiracy theorists took a major hit after his eventual admission that his belief the Sandy Hook massacre was a government hoax had been total hogwash.
Following this defeat Jones was ordered to pay nearly 50 million dollars in punitive damages to the parents of the Sandy Hook victims families (though that number could be greatly reduced due to Texas law). But whatever the final amount ends up being, Alex Jones’ reputation as an untouchable media menace has all but been destroyed. (Info courtesy of Texastribune.org)
Censorship once again became a major political issue on both sides of the spectrum. Trump, during his presidency obsessively accused media outlets of spreading fake news, while he also battled with CNN over their negative coverage all through his time in the White House. The Democrats went even further with their descreation of Julian Assange, and constant efforts to extradite him on charges of treason.
The United States of Americas credo of being the beacon of free speech and democracy is fading, very quickly.
There were always limits to the first amendment but compared to 95 percent of the world, our free speech laws were just. So to bear witness to the demise of such an immensely important law, which was ratified way back in June of 1788 is disheartening, to put it mildly (date courtesy of brittannca) Sadly it is creeps like Alex Jones who abused the privilege and gave the US government a green light to further erode our first amendment rights. That is certainly a damn shame!
Censorship and freedom of expression has no room for hypocritical thought processes. No matter what your political beliefs are, or your ideas of what can be deemed immoral, this is an issue where no middle ground should exist. You either believe wholeheartedly in the First Amendment or you don’t. On one hand you cant lambast folks like Tucker Carlson and Alex Jones on one hand, deny them their right to freedom of the press, yet on the other laud someone like Richard Mendhurst because you share similar views. Freedom of Speech should be always be absolute. (And I say that while a side of me can’t help feeling a tad overjoyed when a goblin like Alex Jones suffers financially).
Personally, Freedom of Speech is the one matter I would openly protest if its existence was ever truly in peril.
As a creative person and someone with some very controversial viewpoints I depend on the first amendment to protect my ability to speak my mind. Without that right the United States would have free reign to become a fascist government.
A free to use, comprehensive and independent search engine which is about to become your favourite. https://thereal.news
TheReal.News is a search engine that has had the spin removed. We use sites that we have studied for some time and monitored for integrity and we don’t use sites that we have seen which either spin or lie their way to the front page. Everybody is biased in some way or they aren’t breathing, but Bias and Bollocks are not the same thing.
People that tell the truth are quite easy to find because they cite references and sources to back up what they say. The opposite is also true.