Friday, October 31, 2008

Palin and the First Amendment: Give me a friggin' break

By Michael J.W. Stickings

This... is... simply... ridiculous:

In a conservative radio interview that aired in Washington, D.C. Friday morning, Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin said she fears her First Amendment rights may be threatened by "attacks" from reporters who suggest she is engaging in a negative campaign against Barack Obama.

Right, so she's allowed to say whatever she wants, but the media aren't allowed to criticize her. Got it?

She's not attacking Obama with her smears, just asking questions, but the media are attacking her and seeking to shut her up. Got it?

Bull... fucking... shit.

This isn't about free speech -- no one is talking about taking her rights away from her, and there's no threat to the future of the country in this regard -- it's about running a vicious and dirty campaign, about lying, about seeking to deceive the American people.

If Palin is so worried about the First Amendment -- and you know she isn't; this is just more of the usual media-bashing and scapegoating, a common right-wing tactic -- maybe she should take a look at her own party and its record on civil liberties.

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UPDATE: Read Greenwald:

If anything, Palin has this exactly backwards, since one thing that the First Amendment does actually guarantee is a free press. Thus, when the press criticizes a political candidate and a Governor such as Palin, that is a classic example of First Amendment rights being exercised, not abridged.

This isn't only about profound ignorance regarding our basic liberties, though it is obviously that. Palin here is also giving voice to the standard right-wing grievance instinct: that it's inherently unfair when they're criticized. And now, apparently, it's even unconstitutional.

Well argued, as always.

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