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That Concept, “Free Speech,” I Do Not Think It Means…

[ 120 ] February 2, 2011 |

Shorter Ann Althouse: If you are not receiving millions of dollars a year and a broadcast platform from the News Corporation to put forward your ideas, your rights to free speech are being violated. Why does the left hate “free speech?” The left should understand that only university instructors should be fired for their political views.

UPDATE:  More here.   It’s easy to find further examples illustrating that Althouse does not believe in the ad hoc definition of “free speech” she criticizes nameless “liberals” for not adhering to.   Althouse is right to say that there are principles of free speech that extend beyond the First Amendment, but it’s idiotic to say that someone who believes that it’s irresponsible for Fox to pay Glenn Beck to spout demonstrably false conspiracy theories on the air doesn’t believe in “free speech.”

Comments (120)

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  1. DrDick says:

    I do not think that there is much of anything that means what Althouse thinks it does.

  2. FGFM says:

    She’s pretty worked up over this encounter: 3 blog posts along with challenging her liberal critics in Blogginghead comments section to play on her home field.

  3. Malaclypse says:

    Dear Cthulhu, I cannot believe I am about to defend Ann Althouse. But when she writes:

    But you don’t find the truth by “sifting and winnowing” in a pile of obviously worthless ideas. And you don’t learn to exercise critical thinking by reading a lot of material that is clearly wrong. And could the Capital Times learn the difference between “controversial views” and crackpot conspiracy theories?

    she’s not actually wrong. She may be wrong in her inconsistent application of this principle, but the principle itself is actually a fairly good one.

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      Right. But it’s hilarious to contrast that with the sophomoric “marketplace of ideas” stuff she uses in the Bloggingheads segment. (Particularly since the focus of the discussion is Beck’s equally nutty conspiracy theories.)

  4. Andrew says:

    I put a lot of effort into arguing with her readers in the comments and decided to give up soon after one of them presented net neutrality as an example of government-mandated censorship that the left advocates.

    Also, Bill O’Reilly was just jokin’ around when he said he wanted Air America people in chains. Give the guy a break.

  5. Jim says:

    “[F]or the love of God, why doesn’t every educated person in America know the name of the Supreme Court Justice who said that ['the best test of the truth is its ability to get accepted in the marketplace of ideas']“

    Yes, there certainly couldn’t be a stain attached to the name of Justice Holmes, that might outweigh the concept of “the marketplace of ideas.” Especially since, from her own link, he doesn’t actually use that phrase, and the first opinion actually employing it was penned by Justice Brennan.

  6. Joe says:

    Another laugher you should point out: She goes on and on in that bloggingheads episode about how the Left used to care about civil rights. However, she is claiming the Left is abandoning its commitment to civil rights by failing to defend a broad reading of federalism principles (States rights). States rights arguments have been the bane of all American Left movements since at least 1861.

    After I listened to that Bloggingheads, I just have to believe the woman is a complete sophist. She’s clearly not stupid (she had the highest law school GPA in her NYU law school class). But she just says things that are so totally intellectually dishonest that she has to know the idiocy of her positions.

    • Paul Campos says:

      She’s clearly not stupid (she had the highest law school GPA in her NYU law school class).

      Being able to do well on issue-spotting law school exams is an excellent measure of someone’s ability to do well on issue-spotting law school exams. It’s not a particularly good measure of anything else. It requires a *kind* of intelligence, but so does being able to memorize Pi to the 100th decimal.

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      She goes on and on in that bloggingheads episode about how the Left used to care about civil rights. However, she is claiming the Left is abandoning its commitment to civil rights by failing to defend a broad reading of federalism principles (States rights). States rights arguments have been the bane of all American Left movements since at least 1861.

      Seriously? Is that the “is the ACA constitutional” segment? I might have to go through the pain of watching it…

    • nb says:

      “The bane of all American Left Movements since at least 1861″ … you mean movements like the Republican Party, right?

  7. Scott Lemieux says:

    Especially since, from her own link, he doesn’t actually use that phrase, and the first opinion actually employing it was penned by Justice Brennan.

    Indeed, I’m 99% sure that Holmes never used the phrase, although he endorsed a somewhat similar concept.

    • Joe says:

      “the ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas — that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out”

      http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0250_0616_ZD.html

      FWIW. The fact someone disagreed with you doesn’t make them “the left,” Ms. Althouse.

      • Scott Lemieux says:

        Right. “Marketplace of ideas” was an (accurate) description of Holmes’s ideas used by others, but not actually his phrase.

      • 400metres says:

        Further, note how Althouse leaves off the “free” commonly prefixed to the phrase “marketplace of ideas”.

        That was Wright’s argument in my view, that Fox News (as with any corporate media organ) operates outside the “free” marketplace of ideas, because they completely control that marketplace. A truly “free” marketplace could only be regulated by the State, because once it’s brought under the control of a private entity, it ceases to be free by definition, because it’s no longer truly open to any individual person’s right to either support or criticize its message in any direct sense.

        In that regard, the actual marketplace of ideas within which Fox News and all corporate media operate is at its best when tempered by a modicum of self-awareness and restraint on the part of the owner-operators of that marketplace. And of course, that’s why we’re having this discussion to begin with: because Fox News does not exhibit reasonable restraint with regard to the ideas they unleash on the public as best exemplified by their continued recklessness in giving a daily pulpit to a personality as deranged as Glenn Beck.

        A truly free marketplace of ideas would look nothing like Fox News because if anyone were to enter the Fox News studio and attempt to approach Glenn Beck while he’s broadcasting his nonsense (in order to exercise the freedom that Althouse asserts we all have to counter any of his statements), that person would face arrest for trespassing. How does that fit into the understanding of free speech that Holmes’ was actually advocating (as opposed to the one that Althouse obfuscates to support her ideological bias)?

  8. Jason says:

    Acck. For having gone to look at her post, I am now stupider as a result. It has warped my brain.

  9. Lincolntf says:

    “Shorter Ann Althouse: If you are not receiving million of dollars a year and a broadcast platform from the News Corporation to put forward your ideas, your rights to free speech are being violated. Why does the left hate “free speech?” The left should understand that only university instructors should be fired for their political views.”

    The fact that you were forced to alter both the words and intent of Althouse’s post in order to criticize it makes me think that you might actually agree with what she said.

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      I don’t think I did either. She argues that because some liberals criticize Glenn Beck and a few want him fired that they oppose “free speech” — she doesn’t even claim that anyone is calling for censorship. And she does this despite having advocating firing an instructor for his (left-Beckian) political views.

      So I haven’t distorted her views. She’s criticizing nameless “liberals” for having a view of “free speech” identical to ones she’s expressed in the past.

      • Lyssa says:

        Forcing someone to be fired is pretty much shutting them down. And I’m pretty sure that the “nameless, faceless liberals” calling for that sort of thing included the person she was debating on bloggingheads, who clearly had a name.

        • Scott Lemieux says:

          Who, exactly, is in a position to “force” Fox to do anything? Not Robert Wright, for sure. You’d think that people who pretend to believe in an insanely broad definition of “free speech” would be able to tell the difference between “force” and “criticism.”

          • hv says:

            It also shows how little faith they have in their vaunted free market.

            Apparently, market forces really outrage conservatives, some of the time.

            Talk to the invisible hand.

        • DocAmazing says:

          Which name is….what, exactly?
          And are you going to agitate to get Dave Weigel or Keith Olbermann reinstated?

      • actor212 says:

        She argues that because some liberals criticize Glenn Beck and a few want him fired that they oppose “free speech”

        How is it “free speech” if he’s getting paid for it?

        • actor212 says:

          And before some numbnuts decides to get all “hmphy” about that post, let me put in terms a six year old can understand.

          “Free speech” is a right granted under the constitution for a private citizen to be able to speak his mind without government interference. It ends at the receipt of the first paycheck.

          No one says Beck can’t make his asinine arguments anyplace he chooses to, but it is quite legal for FOX to be forced to can his moronic ass and shut him down for the good and welfare of the rest of us.

    • The Wrath of Oliver Khan says:

      Looks like someone is not aware of all Internet traditions.

  10. Patrick says:

    Lots of ad hominem here. No argument. Althouse criticizes a tendency in the left to call for the removal of those with whom they disagree, rather than argue with them with something other than “you’re being dumb.” If you think she said something dumb, as you clearly do, quote what she said, and explain why you think it’s dumb. Shouldn’t be that hard if she’s as stupid as you believe.

    Unless, she’s not the stupid one.

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      1)I’m sorry you’re not aware of all internet traditions, but the “shorter” is a criticism. It’s stupid to say that the principles of free speech entitle anyone to keep a job no matter what they say. I linked her post; anybody can read it and explain if I’m being unfair. Interestingly, nobody has.

      2)LGM has argued against Beck, and has never called on him to be fired (although those that do aren’t violating principles of “free speech” in any case.)

      3)Also see the update. I don’t know that this tendency exists on “the left,” but it certainly exists with Althouse.

      • Patrick says:

        At the risk of getting our two arguments intermixed:

        1. Yes, the “shorter” is a criticism, but is should be followed by a fair, concise statement of her argument. Your “shorter” statement does not accurately or fairly describe what she argues. She makes no argument that principles of free speech entitle anyone to keep a job. Her point is that many on the left frequently call for removal rather than argue.

        2. Arguing about whether a network is “responsible” for allowing certain speech is beside the point, and doesn’t address the argument they consider “irresponsible.” It is nothing more than saying “shut up.” “Shut up” isn’t an argument. It is a call for having less speech, not more. They are allowed to do so, but don’t pretend that adds to the marketplace of ideas. It is only an attempt to subtract from it.

        3. “there’s no principle of free speech that entitles you to keep a job no matter what you say in the course of that job.” The principle she is talking about is arguing the point you find offensive, rather than calling on the dismissal of whomever made the offensive point. I don’t find that to be all that controversial, maybe you don’t either.

        So Fox can keep or fire GB, and the AP can keep or fire HT, based on their own business motivations, be they commercial, principle or anything else. And people can call on Fox or the AP to keep or fire either of them. But that doesn’t address their “offensive” arguments or statements.

        Thanks.

  11. Patrick says:

    Scott Lemieux:
    Althouse refers to the broader concept of “free speech” rather than the relatively narrow First Amendment right of free expression, which only prevents government suppression of speech. Why would that be a problem?

    And she distinguishes a university’s interest in defining standards of teaching (i.e. you shouldn’t teach something for which there is no evidence) from a network’s interest in allowing someone to spew wacky views. Wacky views may be in a network’s interest – to gain ratings (remember Olberman had MSNBC’s highest ratings for a time). Why is that hard to distinguish.

    And really, why would you say that she believes you only have “free speech rights” if you receive a million dollars per year? That is either deliberate mis-statement of her position, or you have utterly failed to understand a fairly simple argument. She clearly articulates that these rights extend to anyone, being broadcast on networks, internet, whatever. Again, why mis-state her argument rather than explain why she is wrong?

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      Althouse refers to the broader concept of “free speech” rather than the relatively narrow First Amendment right of free expression, which only prevents government suppression of speech. Why would that be a problem?

      I am aware of that. I still don’t see how see how even a broader concept of free speech means that Glenn Beck is entitled to keep his job no matter what he says, and I don’t believe that Althouse believes this either. It’s a feeble tu quoque.

      And she distinguishes a university’s interest in defining standards of teaching (i.e. you shouldn’t teach something for which there is no evidence) from a network’s interest in allowing someone to spew wacky views.

      But there’s no principled reason to make this distinction. Networks obviously have an “interest” in allowing people to say things that aren’t true, but people can argue that this is irresponsible without violating standards of free speech.

      And really, why would you say that she believes you only have “free speech rights” if you receive a million dollars per year?

      You pretty clearly don’t understand my argument. I’m saying that — pace Althouse — there’s no principle of “free speech” that entitles you to a million-dollar a year job no matter how you act.

      • Patrick says:

        The question is who decides who is entitled to a job? You think GB says something ridiculous or offensive. Should you simply shut down the speech? Why not refute the view? Why not argue? The question is: who decides GB is “entitled” (entitled by whom?) to keep a job?

        And what makes you say think that she believes the entitlement to free speech is contingent on a million dollar job? What exactly did she say to make that point? That is the point of your post, and it is incorrect.

        • Scott Lemieux says:

          The question is who decides who is entitled to a job? You think GB says something ridiculous or offensive. Should you simply shut down the speech? Why not refute the view? Why not argue? The question is: who decides GB is “entitled” (entitled by whom?) to keep a job?

          Well, first of all, we have criticized Glenn Beck (and I don’t believe any of has called for him to be fired.) Althouse is just lying when she asserts that liberals won’t argue against Beck. As for the question of who decides, it’s Fox — a matter which is not in any dispute. What Althouse is saying is that it’s a violation of “free speech” to even criticize Fox for putting Beck on the air, which is idiotic. At any rate, you must disagree with Althouse that AP was right to fire Helen Thomas for expressing anti-semitic political views.

          And what makes you say think that she believes the entitlement to free speech is contingent on a million dollar job?

          I don’t — which is why I didn’t say it. What I am saying is that there’s no principle of free speech that entitles you to keep a job no matter what you say in the course of that job.

        • hv says:

          The free market decides who is entitled to a job. What Ms. Althouse is outraged over is merely a market correction.

          The free market doesn’t bother to “refute” views; no profit in it.

  12. Skullberg says:

    Someone brought this up over there, but I assume you think the McCarthy era blacklists from the 50′s weren’t anything we should be upset about? I mean they weren’t being censored…

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      1)Well, actually, the government coercion was in fact an important part of McCarthyite blacklists. (McCarthy was, you know, a Senator. He held hearings. People who didn’t speak could face criminal sanctions.) Even the private blacklisting was done in the shadow of government coercion. The situations aren’t remotely comparable.

      2)The blacklist was objectionable for other reasons, but I still don’t think that principles of “free speech” entitle anybody to a particular job.

      3)There is, however, a difference between views expressed in the course of your job and (in some cases non-existent) political associations external to your job. Beck is much more comparable to the instructor Althouse wanted fired than to a director fired solely for being suspected of having attended a the wrong political meaning.

      • Skullberg says:

        Even the private blacklisting was done in the shadow of government coercion. The situations aren’t remotely comparable.

        I would argue the same shadow coercion is taking place right now. With Obama directly calling out Fox News, members of Congress complaining about right-wing news, and people openly calling for the fairness doctrine.

        2)The blacklist was objectionable for other reasons, but I still don’t think that principles of “free speech” entitle anybody to a particular job.

        So we shouldn’t care that they were forced from their jobs? Got it.

        3)There is, however, a difference between views expressed in the course of your job and (in some cases non-existent) political associations external to your job.

        But is he doing anything outside of his job description? Has he opened FNC up to lawsuits? Has he cost them viewership? Has he cost them ad revenues? Or is simply not agreeing with Obama and pointing out what liberals like Fox Piven and Van Jones actually say and mean something we shouldn’t allow as a society?

        This isn’t calling for FNC to can him for poor performance, this is outright censorship because he’s effective and you simply don’t like it.

        • LS says:

          The fact that you can’t tell the difference between what happened at HUAC in the 1940s or in the McCarthy hearings and the activities you point to displays a profound ignorance of history. Just spend some time reading neutral histories of the period, then get back to us, ok?

          • Skullberg says:

            I know full well what happened then – and while there are differences the role of congress people and the President’s demagoguery of this included actual calls for laws to be changed to limit the access of these people to their audience is different only in tactics and not intent.

            That you see members of the federal government targeting opposing media by name and threatening laws to restrict their dissemination as nothing to worry about is troubling to free speech.

            • Scott Lemieux says:

              threatening laws to restrict their dissemination as nothing to worry about is troubling to free speech.

              If this was actually happening anywhere but inside your head, you’d have a point!

              It’s also amusing that you continue to pretend to believe in an insanely broad conception of “free speech” while you can’t see any difference between criticism and censorship.

            • hv says:

              One of the key differences between Obama’s actions and the HUAC: sunshine.

            • Malaclypse says:

              That you see members of the federal government targeting opposing media by name and threatening laws to restrict their dissemination as nothing to worry about is troubling to free speech.

              You mean this? Yes, that was pretty troubling.

              On Wednesday, Ari Fleischer, the White House press secretary, denounced Mr. Maher, saying of news organizations, and all Americans, that in times like these “people have to watch what they say and watch what they do.”

              • Skullberg says:

                Yes, a call for civility is terrible.

                Or Rep. Giffors “We’ve got to watch what we say”

              • Skullberg says:

                Rep. Cleaver above

              • Gabriel Hanna says:

                @Malaclyf:

                On Wednesday, Ari Fleischer, the White House press secretary, denounced Mr. Maher, saying of news organizations, and all Americans, that in times like these “people have to watch what they say and watch what they do.”

                Amazing that people are still flogging this lie. If I said Al Gore claimed to have invented the internet you’d be all over it, but if the target is Ari Fleisher you’re perfectly happy to use bogus quotes.

                At that briefing two weeks after Sept. 11, I was asked about a racist comment made by a Republican congressman from Louisiana who said that if he saw a Sikh-American with a towel wrapped around his head, he would tell the Sikh to get out of his state.

                I said, “It’s important for all Americans to remember the traditions of our country that make us so strong and so free, our tolerance and openness and acceptance.” The president, I said, was disturbed by Representative John Cooksey’s remarks.

                Moments later, I was asked about Bill Maher’s statement that the members of our armed forces who fire missiles are cowards while terrorists who crashed planes into buildings are not cowards.

                I answered: “It’s a terrible thing to say, and it’s unfortunate. And that’s why — there was an earlier question about has the president said anything to people in his own party — they’re reminders to all Americans that they need to watch what they say, watch what they do.”

                My remarks urged tolerance and openness and were addressed to those who made statements and threatened actions against Muslims or Sikhs in America.

              • DocAmazing says:

                Moments later, I was asked about Bill Maher’s statement that the members of our armed forces who fire missiles are cowards while terrorists who crashed planes into buildings are not cowards.

                I answered: “It’s a terrible thing to say, and it’s unfortunate. And that’s why — there was an earlier question about has the president said anything to people in his own party — they’re reminders to all Americans that they need to watch what they say, watch what they do.”

                My remarks urged tolerance and openness and were addressed to those who made statements and threatened actions against Muslims or Sikhs in America.

                Well, that might work if you didn’t read or speak English. As it is, Fleischer is pretty clearly admitting that he is responding to Maher’s remarks, then adding a figleaf afterward once he was called on it.

            • actor212 says:

              That you see members of the federal government targeting opposing media by name and threatening laws to restrict their dissemination as nothing to worry about is troubling to free speech.

              Ummmmmmmm, citation? Please?

              Unless somehow the Daily Kos has become part of the FDA or some minor bureaucracy, I think you might have a serious, um, fallacy…in your argument here.

              And no, the Fairness Doctrine does not prohibit speech. It forces the publicly-financed media (you know, those free airwaves we’ve handed out?) from putting out a balance of opinions.

              If a broadcaster decides its not worth the loss in profit, that’s a business decision, not a censorship decision.

        • Scott Lemieux says:

          I would argue the same shadow coercion is taking place right now.

          Well, you could argue that, but you would be utterly wrong. Your views that it’s a violation of free speech for a public official to even criticize Fox News is fascinating. And let me know when the fairness doctrine gets to a vote in Congress (as opposed to nameless “people” “talking about it.”)

          So we shouldn’t care that they were forced from their jobs? Got it.

          You apparently missed the “objectionable for other reasons” bit.

          this is outright censorship

          No, it isn’t.

          • Skullberg says:

            “nameless people” like Senate Majority leader Harry Reid, Rep. Jim Clyburn, Sen. Stabenow

            Your views that it’s a violation of free speech for a public official to even criticize Fox News is fascinating.

            Wow, you’re reading comprehension is terrible. It’s not a violation, it is simply the government action that supports the coercion by non-governmental actors. You may have noticed it was next to a sentence that mentioned that.

            • Scott Lemieux says:

              it is simply the government action that supports the coercion by non-governmental actors.

              Except that there’s no “government action.” But thanks for playing!

              • Skullberg says:

                I guess I imagined President Obama’s criticism of right wing news and Rep Clyburn’s call for the Fairness Doctrine…

              • Scott Lemieux says:

                I guess I imagined President Obama’s criticism of right wing news

                Again, you conflate criticism with censorship even as you claim you’re not doing it. I’m interested in your explication of a concept of “free speech” that entitles Glenn Beck to keep his job under any circumstances but doesn’t permit him to be criticized.

                Rep Clyburn’s call for the Fairness Doctrine…

                When this has any chance of even getting to a vote in the House, lemme know, OK? And you do know that — while stupid — the fairness doctrine wouldn’t apply to cable news, right?

              • Skullberg says:

                you conflate criticism with censorship even as you claim you’re not doing it

                I don’t, I think it is fine to criticize him, but the attempts to silence him are another issue entirely. The Obama reference was just to show your “shadow of the government” was operable here as well.

                And you do know that — while stupid — the fairness doctrine wouldn’t apply to cable news, right?

                It would apply to his radio gig, and we don’t know how it would be handle cable news since I doubt it would take the exact form of the last one.

              • Scott Lemieux says:

                I don’t, I think it is fine to criticize him, but the attempts to silence him are another issue entirely.

                But Obama isn’t trying to silence him. Christ.

                it would be handle cable news since I doubt it would take the exact form of the last one.

                There’s not much point in arguing about the content of imaginary statutes that will never be enacted, but it’s moot in any case because it’s well-settled that an attempt to apply a “fairness doctrine” to non-boadcast media would violate the First Amendment.

              • Skullberg says:

                But Obama isn’t trying to silence him. Christ.

                Who said that? Not me, I think I’ve been pretty clear about this.

                well-settled that an attempt to apply a “fairness doctrine” to non-boadcast media would violate the First Amendment.

                There are numerous was around that that may pass constitutional muster. But the application of the FD to radio is well accepted and would apply to Beck. But that’s what our censors in Congress and on the left want. Less debate means less trouble.

        • Hogan says:

          So we shouldn’t care that they were forced from their jobs? Got it.

          Blacklisting isn’t just forcing someone from a job; it’s also denying them any comparable job. Is anyone calling for Beck (or anyone else) to be disallowed from publishing books, writing for magazines, creating and selling videos?

          • Skullberg says:

            Okay, the blacklisted actors/directors could have written books, articles or anything else so we shouldn’t be worried about it.

            • Hogan says:

              So you don’t know the meaning of “comparable.” Got it.

              • Skullberg says:

                You’re saying he should be fired from radio and television, but he can still write books like they’re the same thing…

                I think you’re the one with the comparable issue.

              • Hogan says:

                You may not be aware of it, but Glenn Beck, like many news commentators but unlike many actors and directors, already writes books. Lots of them. You may want to check them out.

              • Skullberg says:

                I’m not sure what the point is, writing books and hosting a tv program aren’t comparable jobs.

              • Hogan says:

                Writing about politics is a comparable job to talking about politics.

                If the words I’m using are too long, let me know and I’ll try to find shorter ones.

              • Skullberg says:

                So the actors int he 50′s could have performed in their living rooms for their friends, acting is acting even if the reach and remuneration are different. Got it, barring people from professions for political reasons is fine if they can do something tangentially related even if it pays less and shortens their reach (though I guess that is the point with censors).

              • Hogan says:

                So you also don’t know the meaning of the word “job.”

              • Skullberg says:

                They could work out a funding model even if it were modest. Maybe donations at the door, small private shows, who knows.

              • Hogan says:

                Sorry, man. I don’t think I can explain this with words shorter than “job.”

              • Skullberg says:

                Try longer ones since they can work out private showings of plays – it happens currently. But keep backing the blacklisters, that’s at least a consistent stance to take:

                As long as someone can get paid to do something that vaguely looks like the thing they want to do and would be paid to do if they were allowed, its okay to deny them that for purely political reasons.

              • hv says:

                keep backing the blacklisters

                I don’t even think you understand the very short word: “list” — which appears in “blacklist.”

        • DocAmazing says:

          So, once again, you’re going to agitate for the reinstatement of Dave Weigel, Keith Olbermann and Van Jones, right? iot is a matter of your principles, after all.

          • Skullberg says:

            Keith Olbermann asked to termination

            Van Jones resigned because his racism and trutherism were becoming a hassle for his boss.

            Dave Weigel was losing readership because of his odd reporting (and use of the term rat-f@cker)

            And where were the members of the Federal government calling for their punishment in all this?

            any more?

            • Scott Lemieux says:

              Dave Weigel was losing readership because of his odd reporting (and use of the term rat-f@cker)

              He was expressly fired for expressing political views on a private email list. By the standards being expressed by Althouse and her lickspittles here, it was as plain a violation of “free speech” as you can get.

            • DocAmazing says:

              Olbermann asked for termination? Got a citation? Links or it’s bullshit, Skullburger.

              Van Jones’s racism? I think we’ve discovered who we’re dealing with–black people are the real racists, right? And “resigned” following pressure is not the same as “resigned ’cause I got a better offer”.

              If you think Dave Weigel was odd, then you are in a strange position to talk about Glenn Beck, Skullburger.

              But thanks for playing. We’ll be sending you the Special Needs version of the home game.

              • Skullberg says:

                Olbermann asked for termination?

                http://www.deadline.com/2011/01/nbcu-statement-msnbc-and-keith-olberman-have-ended-their-contract-last-show-tonight/

                I think we’ve discovered who we’re dealing with–black people are the real racists, right?

                No, some people of all backgrounds and ethnicities are racists. Van Jones is one of them. And I know he resigned due to pressure, but that was a political position and his employment was hurting his employer.

                If you think Dave Weigel was odd, then you are in a strange position to talk about Glenn Beck, Skullburger.

                I’m pretty sure I’m on record as calling him wacky. I’ve never actually watched his show, only the slips I get sent from people outraged.

              • hv says:

                Shorter Skullberg: the reasons I don’t like people are valid; the reasons you don’t like people are censorship and blacklisting.

              • Skullberg says:

                Not at all, I’m on record as allowing all the debate you can get. The cases DA put forward were bad examples. One guy was fired from a political position because the politics were bad, one guy retied and one guy was losing audience due to his perceived conflicts of interest.

                I’m sure I have bad reasons for not liking certain people, but I don’t try to shut down debate like the censors on the left.

          • Lincolntf says:

            Speaking of Van Jones, have you caught the new video going around the Net? He, along with a variety of Leftist hate groups, held a protest to stop a conservative conference in Palm Springs the other day. The filthy racism and visceral hatred of America that the groups displayed in their effort to stop Conservatives from meeting should close the book on their scumbag movement. But it won’t.

        • hv says:

          This isn’t calling for FNC to can him for poor performance

          I counter-assert that it is. Poor performance covers a lot of territory.

  13. Lincolntf says:

    That parallel to Mccarthy calls to mind Representative Anthony Wiener using his position of power to silence Glenn Beck. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Wiener’s bizarre anti-speech campaign, but it revolved around discrediting Beck’s sponsors, specifically “Goldline”. Fortunately, the dimbulb Democrat from New York failed in his effort to intimidate the company while at the same time exposing the Democrat Party’s goal of silencing dissent through Congressional action.

  14. [...] we seem to be getting some Althouse defenders in comments here, I suppose I should expand on a couple [...]

  15. Aidan says:

    While I’m sympathetic to issues of academic freedom, and I understand that professors naturally feel even stronger, I do feel uncomfortable about the martyrization of Kevin Bartlett. Is it not reasonable to conclude that he’s unfit to teach? Would you object to a Holocaust denier continuing to teach your children and accept your tuition money based on the grounds of academic freedom?

  16. Malaclypse says:

    Is it not reasonable to conclude that he’s unfit to teach?

    I think that is a very reasonable thing to conclude.

  17. rcocean says:

    Did you send a thank you note to Althouse for all the traffic?

    • hv says:

      Let me guess, rcocean, you have a blog yourself. And you zealously check how much traffic it gets as a measure of your worth? And you would dream about the chance to even be nice to Ms. Althouse with a post she could link to, if only she would notice you! And here this LGM blog is, doesn’t even know what they are getting without even deserving it. Fucking liberals, why do they get everything good without even trying.

      Well?

      Am I right?

  18. brad says:

    Call me crazy, but it almost seems as if Althouse’s supporters here don’t believe in the right of elected Democratic office holders to free speech.

  19. jim says:

    ZOMG ITS ALL TRUE!
    TEH BRAINPOLICE ARE REAL!
    BEWAER THE HIPPY MEMORY HOEL, SHEEPLE!

  20. [...] that private corporations have to be committed to “viewpoint neutrality” with their terror over the consequences of restoring the fairness doctrine (which is totally going to happen despite [...]

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