March 27, 2011

The Bob Wright/Ann Althouse email exchange about what free speech means in the context of saying Roger Ailes needs to kick Glenn Beck off Fox News.

Back on February 2, I wrote “When did the left turn against free speech?” and used some clips from a Bloggingheads I did with Bob Wright, in which I talked about free speech values and rejected Bob's attempt to restrict the idea of free speech to the constitutional right to free speech, which only deals with the problem of government restrictions on speech.

The text of my post, however, doesn't restate our disagreement about the meaning of the term, and Bob emailed me to complain. And then last Friday, I did another Bloggingheads, and Bob brought up his beef about the definition of the term again. So I invited him to give me permission to publish the whole email exchange, and he agreed, so here goes...

In the blog post, explaining Bob Wright's position, I said that he thought that "free speech is too dangerous because it might be false and it might inspire bad people to act out in terrible ways." Since Bob's point was that Roger Ailes should kick Glenn Beck off the air, Bob said:
Don’t you think most people take ‘free speech’ to refer to speech that is unconstrained by the government? In which case [that] passage from your blog post is a somewhat misleading characterization of my views?...

I said not once but twice in our exchange that I absolutely wasn’t suggesting any government constraint on speech.
I responded:
I said in the diavlog itself [in a clip embedded in the blog post] that I don't agree with that limitation. Free speech is a value that extends beyond the right that people have against government, just as privacy and autonomy are larger ideas than their corresponding legal rights. Moreover, it is when people lose the value in its larger form that they slip into accepting government limitations. There's an interrelationship between cultural values and the law, and an evolution of values against free speech can play out in legal restrictions later on.
Bob said:
Just about everyone loses the value in its larger form, including, I venture to say, you. Surely there is *some* essay or article that you would say a conscientious newspaper editor shouldn’t publish, right? Say, for example, an op-ed piece recommending that all black people be killed? And, again, the question isn’t whether the editor should be *allowed* to publish it; we’re talking about moral sanction, not legal sanction. I’m saying that pretty much everyone, when you examine their beliefs closely, *does* believe that moral sanction has *some* place in shaping our discourse. But maybe you’ll surprise me and say that an editor who publishes a piece recommending the killing of all blacks shouldn’t be be condemned, and wouldn’t be condemned by you. Is that your position?
I said:
What's missing from that hypothetical is that the newspaper has free speech rights too. It doesn't have to pass along other people's speech unless it wants to, just as I don't have to quote people on my blog unless I decide too.

It doesn't have to publish anything it doesn't want, for whatever reason. This is what it means to acknowledge that corporations deserve free speech too.

The moral sanction is just more free speech as I see it.

The simpler way of putting that is that people continue to argue about what is true, what is good and what to do and believe. That's free speech. My preference is to argue on the substantive merits rather than to gasp about how bad people need to be cut off from the people who are choosing to listen to them.

Again, I support the free speech of the publisher. No one has to reproduce any speech they don't want to... for any reason, so there is no need to say exactly where the line is for any given organization to decide what they want to say or offer up as an op-ed.
Bob said:
Exactly. And when you choose not to quote people on your blog are you denying them free speech?

No, right?

So when I advocate that you not quote someone I’m not advocating that you deny anyone free speech.
That’s the exact analogy: If Roger Ailes chooses not to give Glenn Beck a show, he’s not denying him free speech. So if I advocate that Roger Ailes not give him a show, I’m not advocating that anyone be denied free speech.
I said:
I agree that you are exercising free speech when you aim moral suasion at Ailes. You're doing the public shaming thing, which I understand. But Fox News wants Beck on the air, because a lot of people like to listen to him. You can avoid him yourself, but you want to stop the people who want to hear him from getting to hear him by convincing Fox that speech like that is not acceptable. So you're using speech to make an argument about what speech is acceptable and trying to persuade Fox to agree with you about the narrow range of acceptable speech, trumping the preferences of the people who do want to be able to see Beck on TV. If your method worked, there would be a narrower range of speech available to people who are currently eager to hear that sort of thing. You don't trust them enough to try to persuade them with arguments running in the other direction from Beck's. You want them to be protected from speech you think is bad. I see that as an anti-free speech position, because you aren't about talking more to the people you want to influence, you're about protecting them from the dangers in the speech you think is bad.
Bob said:
OK, so now I’m pretty convinced of the truth of something I suggested earlier in this exchange: If Roger Ailes ran a show whose host was devoted to encouraging people to kill every black person they see, you (a) would not condemn Roger Ailes and (b) would consider me anti-free speech if I did condemn Roger Ailes.

That’s in some sense a defensible position. But I’m sure you’ll agree it’s a minority position—most Americans don’t consider it “anti-free-speech” to condemn Ailes for at least *some* programming decisions, and to try to shame him into changing them. That’s why I said your depiction of my views as anti-free-spech is misleading. Most people don’t define “anti-free speech” the way you’re defining it.

Please do me one favor: Let me know whether my first paragraph, above, does or does not mischaracterize your position. If it doesn’t, then I think I totally understand your position and there’s probably not a lot to be gained by further elaboration. If it does mischaracterize your position, then I’m afraid I remain confused. (Wouldn’t be the first time!)
I said:
I think your hypothetical has the same problem that made Godwin invent his rule about bringing up Hitler. It's not conceivable that Fox would have a show like that, and if we lived in a world where there were shows like that on widely seen networks, everything would be different. How did it happen that blatantly racist speech (even without the incitement to murder) became off-limits in our culture? Not because extra-sensitive shamers got way out ahead of the rest of the culture and deprived people of access to speech they wanted to hear. In any case, we are so far beyond the imaginary world where there could be a show like that, that I have no idea what strategy I would adopt if something so bizarre came into being.

To make a hypothetical that is enlightening to this discussion, you have to have some speech that there really is currently a big or at least decent audience for, that a lot of people think is worth listening to, and then ask me if I would join you in saying these people should not get what they want. That's what you're doing with Beck. To me, this unwillingness to trust people to hear and think for themselves and to be challenged with additional speech is what characterizes you as anti-free speech.

You're trying to get me to abandon my definition of free speech, but I'm not going to do that. It's funny that your argument is based on what "most people" supposedly think. If the judgment of the people should prevail, why not let the people who want to watch Beck have their Beck? The issue is whether freedom of speech is a high value and where it appears in your hierarchy of values.
Bob said:
Well, IMHO, the purpose of a specific hypothetical in cases like this has nothing to do with its plausibility; the point is to establish the parameters of a person’s general guiding principles. So in this case, depending on how you answered my hypothetical, you’d be saying that either (a) yes, there are at least *some* situations in which you’d adopt the position that (when adopted by me) you call anti-free-speech; or (b) your reluctance to condemn speech, and those who help amplify it, is extreme, and places you among a very small minority of Americans.

So the point is that either (a) I’m anti-free-speech only in the sense that you are; or (b) I’m anti-free-speech only if you adopt a definition of “anti-free-speech” that is held by very few people—which gets us back to my original complaint: your depiction of my views as anti-free-speech was, according to conventional American usage, misleading; for the average American, “freedom of speech” is about the first amendment.
I said:
So the Godwin rule is misguided in your view. I disagree. As I said, when your hypos are off-the-wall implausible, they don't help us think about the real world. I'd have to begin by imagining myself in Crazy World and then come up with a way to think in Crazy World. That might be a fun game, but it's not useful in figuring out what to do in the real world, which is what matters.

My standard free speech answer is going to be in favor of expression, access to expression, and more speech, not repression of speech and not cutting off conversations that are still in play because they offend some other people who think the conversation should have already ended. I'm not against condemning offensive speech, though, as I've said. That's part of the "more speech" remedy to bad speech. I don't think it's very effective speech however. I'd rather see engagement on the merits with people like Glenn Beck, not hollow assertions that he needs to shut up. That's actually counterproductive. People who want to hear him are going to see him as more worth listening too. As Rush Limbaugh loves to say: "The left will tell you who they are afraid of."

So if Google or Facebook, private corporations, took steps to squelch free speech that would just not even make sense to you as a concept because they can't affect free speech since they are not the government? If people organized and regularly showed up at events to shout down speakers they disapproved of, it would be incoherent to urge them to respect free speech.

I realize it irks you to be characterized as anti-free speech, but surely you must realize that is telling me what powerful rhetoric it is. I'm scarcely going to abandon it because it irks you. You are encouraging me to keep using it as a way of saying what I'm trying to say. Why would I back off and adopt a weaker form of expression?
Bob said:
By that logic you should call me a rapist and a child molester! After all, I would protest that allegation, too—and that protest would just show what “powerful rhetoric it is” and would thus “encourage you to keep using it”.

Here’s a hypothetical that, I hope, is plausible enough for you to entertain: If a poll of your readers showed that most of your readers take “anti-free-speech” to mean “in favor of government censorship” *then* would you quit using the term to describe someone who is manifestly not in favor of government censorship? (Don’t worry, I won’t try to conduct any such poll—and I don’t purport to be sure what the results of such a poll would be. I’m just curious….)
I said:
Bob, you are indulging in logical fallacies like mad. If I'm doing something I already choose to do and believe in doing, and you give me an additional reason for doing it, that doesn't mean that I would do other things for the sole reason that was that additional reason. For example, if I love a dress in the store and it fits me, plus it's cheap, so I buy it, that doesn't mean I'd buy other things because they're cheap and nothing more.

Defining terms is a huge part of argument. The notion that a term means what would come in first in a vote on the definition is absurd. What would liberalism or feminism or equality or fairness or any number of important terms mean if the meaning was frozen at the current first definition. Even the dictionary doesn't work that way: there are multiple uses for the same word.

As for the right to free speech, the First Amendment says that "Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech." Just on that text alone, you can see that there are 2 different things "the freedom of speech" and the specific direction to Congress not to abridge it. Now, if you say freedom of speech is nothing more than the direction to government not to abridge the freedom of speech, try to picture what the text would need to be: "Congress shall make no law... abridging Congress's proscription against abridging the freedom of speech" which would make no sense at all. The freedom of speech is something which we enjoy, and the Constitution bars Congress's interference with it.
Bob said:
Ann, I’ll bet you thought you had worn me out. Wrong! Although I have to admit that I don’t think I’ll last much longer.

As for your first paragraph: Obviously I’m not saying that you take the vociferousness of someone’s protest against your characterization of their views as the sole criterion for believing your characterization was valid. But for you to take it into account at all—to think that vociferous protests to *any* extent *validate* your characterization of their views—strikes me as odd. When someone tells me I’ve misrepresented their views, I think, “Oh, shit, maybe I did” and then go check to see if I did. I’d sure save a lot of time if I adopted your approach, and took every complaint about my accuracy as a degree of validation.

As for your final paragraph: I gather you’re saying that the authors of the constitution are here suggesting that “freedom of speech” can be constrained by something other than the government (though, actually, this doesn’t quite follow logically from the phraseology; i.e., they’re not literally implying it). That may be true, but it says nothing about whether, more than two centuries after the constitution was written, the phrase “anti-free-speech” has come to mean “in favor of government constraints on speech”.

Speaking of which: You failed to answer my hypothetical about whether, if most of your readers indeed shared this understanding of “anti-free-speech,” you would refrain from applying the term to me. So first you said you wouldn’t answer a hypothetical because it was implausible, and now it turns out you won’t answer plausible hypotheticals either?
That's the last email, dated February 22. Funnily, the conversation began before the Wisconsin protests began and ended 9 days into the real-life, free-speech extravaganza in my neighborhood. I'd like to say I let him have the last word, which sounds gracious, but I can see that Bob left some questions for me that I never answered. Except I think I did answer it. Obviously, I stand by my definition of "free speech," and I wouldn't change my position based on a poll of my readers!

But here's a poll anyway:

Do "free speech" values extend beyond rights held against the government?
Yes.
No.
It's complicated.











  
pollcode.com free polls

188 comments:

paul a'barge said...

Bob Wright?

Tell me again why I should care?

I don't.

mariner said...

That was a long discussion to establish that Bob Wright wants free speech for himself (and people he likes) but not for Glenn Beck (and people who like him).

MikeR said...

I don't know the answer to your poll, but that was a great email exchange. Ten times better than bloggingheads IMHO. You both did very well.

Jason (the commenter) said...

mariner: That was a long discussion to establish that Bob Wright wants free speech for himself (and people he likes) but not for Glenn Beck (and people who like him).

They only want what's best for the greater good. Also to dictate what's good (which the majority of people OBVIOUSLY supports).

mesquito said...

What is the source of Bob's Wright's reputation. Has he written a famous book? Done something laudable? From what I've seen he's a smug partisan hack who has never demonstrated even the weakest grasp of the doctrines he pretends to oppose. Is he still another case of a medoicrity rising through the culture by falttering the sensibilities of the powerful?

Doug Wright said...

Would Bob Wright, may his name not be used in too much vain, allow Father Coughlin to express his views on his radio show? What about Huey Long? Or what about Rev. J. Wright, Obama's perhaps former pastor?

We all have that right not to listen, which is as important in so many ways, in addition to freedom of speech. If we truly are to remain true to our Constitutional values, then the market place of ideas and societial values has to be the judge of what expressed views are heard across the land.

God bless Bob Wright because his views are barely acceptable and then only in so far as his audience of listeners agrees with him or at least wants to know his views.

Professor Althouse has with stood the test of time for this brief period of internet bliss and who can tell what happens tomorrow when we all might change our information gathering habits.

Cheers and enjoy this slight period of anti-AGW.

Michael K said...

I note that he immediately goes to a racist example. Why not postulate a vile speech advocating killing Jews ? Maybe that isn't much of an outrage on the left these days.

I don't think government has to step in to protect speech but there certainly should be public revulsion at the efforts of the left to censor speech by boycotts and protests.

The left has an immediate reflex to shut off opposing views which is why they are so quick to ban comments on leftist blogs.

Michael K said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
shiloh said...

Re: fixed, it comes down to ratings, not free speech ie if beck is hurting fixednoise overall product, such as it is, by bringing down the other conservative shows on the network he will eventually get the boot.

His recently being bounced from (4) of his radio stations notwithstanding.

Supply and demand!

Beck like bachmann is "bat shit crazy" and wears thin quickly ...

As always, no charge for my keen grasp of the obvious.

Lex said...

I also found this exchange much more illuminating than the "diavlogs" (ugh), largely because it's impossible to shout over other people via email. . .

I do think it is a bit odd to see Godwin invoked in favor of keeping Beck on the air -- he must be the biggest Godwin-violator in the history of modern media. OBAMA IS HITLER! EVERYONE IS HITLER! STALIN IS ALSO HITLER! OBAMA IS STALIN AND HITLER! ALSO, MUSLIM ABORTIONISTS! I know you're not agreeing with Beck, only with Fox's right to keep him on the air...but I think the likelihood of Fox News sponsoring a nutter may be less remote than you admit.

(I voted for the broader definition of free speech, FWIW.)

Fen said...

Althouse: it is when people lose the value in its larger form that they slip into accepting government limitations.

I wish I had said that.

Alex said...

Beck like bachmann is "bat shit crazy" and wears thin quickly ...

MSNBC had to clamp down on Schultz's "Psycho Talk" segment and fired Olbermann.

Wilson said...

I remember the Illinois Nazis marching in Marquette Park in Chicago, and if they didn't come right out and say it, one could logically assume from the uniforms that like their historical counterparts, they were in favor of eliminating minorities. And guess what, the ACLU supported their right to march. Presumably the City of Chicago was using the same logic as Bob Wright -- that some speech is so inflammatory that it must not be heard. They lost.

Alex said...

For open minded liberals(yeah oxymoron), please go to:

Newsbusters.org

The best online documentation of the MSM left-wing bias.

That's if you're open minded.

Alex said...

The point is Althouse supports free speech for ALL people and let the free marketplace of ideas sort it out. Liberals are for strict speech controls against anything they disagree with. F.e., speech codes on university campuses that allow black racists to spew forth anything the want, but if you are non-black you best beware to respond.

madawaskan said...

Completely agree with the Althouse's take on the Goodwin's Law aspect.

As one military historian put it:

First they'll sit on the sidelines and then they'll critique the style in which those that dare to speak out- speak out.

And then when it is verboten it is forgotten.

Better to talk about ___________ then to forget.


I detest Goodwin's Law because it fulfills what that professor predicted.

Lincolntf said...

When a political Party or movement encourages it's own beloved leaders to hurl slanderous/hateful verbal assaults ("He betrayed our Country!", "Get in the streets and get bloody!", "You are fucking dead!") at their political enemies, then they should probably not worry so much about the free speech of cable TV hosts.
Remove the hysterical zealots from the Lefty leadership and the Glenn Beck's of the world will naturally fade away.
But Bob can never admit to the hatred and extremism that characterizes his side, so he drags out the "Kill all blacks!!" maguffin to make his point. Intellectual lightweight.

(More importantly, I just successfully drilled into an incandescent bulb without breaking it. The most boring video in Youtube history available soon.)

Dust Bunny Queen said...

it comes down to ratings, not free speech ie if beck is hurting fixednoise overall product, such as it is, by bringing down the other conservative shows on the network he will eventually get the boot.



That is how the free market works.

A) If no one wants to buy your product (let's assume a hypothetical product like liverwurst sandwiches, one of my favorites) or your product is priced too high, you will go out of business. If people don't want liverwurst sandwiches the free market will eliminate them and bring out an alternative.

B) However, to have Bob Wright whining about the quality of the product and demanding like a petulant child that because the product isn't to HIS liking (maybe he hates liverwurst sandwiches or ate a bad one when he was a kid) that NO one should be able to buy liverwurst sandwiches.

Even though there are plenty of other sandwich choices out there, Bob wants to remove liverwurst from the menu for everyone.

The A) is an example of free market, B) is censorship and totalitarian action.

*Liverwurst on sourdough with cream cheese, pepperoncini's, roasted red bell peppers, brown whole seed mustard and alfalfa sprouts..nom nom

Coketown said...

Ann, I'm surprised you didn't press Bob on his metaphors as they relate to his role as founder and editor-in-chief of bloggingheads.tv. Participants on those diavlogs routinely say things that I'm sure a substantial majority of people find abhorrent. Does Bob have a moral duty to censor those speakers whose ideas and rhetoric fall outside the mainstream?

I'm sure if you asked Bob why he shouldn't censor certain viewpoints on his channel, but Roger Ailes should, he would come out nonplussed. And I'm so glad to be able to use 'nonplussed' in a sentence!!!

Alex said...

Remove the hysterical zealots from the Lefty leadership and the Glenn Beck's of the world will naturally fade away.

That's an excellent point. I view Glenn Beck/Sean Hanity types as antibodies to the leftist virus that has infected us for decades. I don't care for their over-generalizing method, but as a weapon against the left they serve a purpose.

Atom Kid said...

The Left have always been against free speech. Whether it is Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot, Adolf Hitler (yes National Solcialism is a leftist movement), Mao Zedong ...etc.
Democrats have been anti-free speech when they abandoned their reasoned philosophy of liberalism and embraced the madness of government totalitarianism.

Alex said...

DBQ - except leftists are against free markets anyways, much less in free speech. When is the last time you ever heard a leftist march for freedom? These days it's for unions, welfare, Gaia, etc... No freedom-lovers in that lot.

lemondog said...

What is the source of Bob's Wright's reputation.

I've never read anything by him and I find BH boring for the most part, but he was a pulitzer finalist

Is Wright sympathetic to Canada's hate speech law?

Voted values extend beyond

DADvocate said...

Wright does seem to specialize in logical fallacies, especially false dichotomies. His obvious position is that some non-governmental entity should regulate speech so that only that which is acceptable to the lefties is heard and read.

Alex said...

Does Bob have a moral duty to censor those speakers whose ideas and rhetoric fall outside the mainstream?

Bob wants to censor any view that isn't part of the orthodox left. You can tell that he can barely tolerate talking to Ann. Even though he knows she's a moderate, anyone to the right of Commie-bastards like him is Attila the Hun. It's a very binary world for the likes of them. Keep that in mind when you see the spewings of garage/Ritmo types.

Marilee said...

So, does Mr. Wright think that if some find the rantings of a few union protestors offensive that they (those who find it offensive) should be allowed to limit the protestors speech??
The wheel can spin both ways..unless you think only YOUR speech is acceptable. I thought Olberman was a buffoon, but never thought he should be silenced. The market did.

Alex said...

I mean the professor is a very amiable, likeable sort. But whenever she gets on a Bloggingheads video with Bog Wright or any other leftist they act like she's Hitler or something, like they're gonna catch some right-wing virus just from talking to her. Funny isn't it?

Alex said...

It's like Bob can barely contain his disgust at Ann for leaving the left-wing reservation. Remember she once voted for Jesse Jackson. I notice that the left holds a special contempt for the reservation-leavers then for life-long conservatives.

PoNyman said...

Megan McArdle consistently points out that cultural values have to be in place to make laws valid and enforceable. Her points are typically about bankruptcy, our fairly lax bankruptcy laws are only possible because culturally we have a high standard on making sure that creditors are paid back. If we didn't have those cultural values our laws would be much more strict and our current rules would be void (see the housing crisis). I think this is similar to speech, our cultural values are typically to allow more speech hence our relatively lax speech laws. The moment culturally we see speech as limited the laws will quickly follow. This parallels what I think of the neo-con attempts to dump democracy into countries. The people in the country don't have the cultural values yet to backstop the new democratic rules and laws that are in place, setting up potential failure. I think the culture values come first and then the laws will follow. Not perfectly, but then we live in the real world, mess and all.

(I do think the US as a country, though, does have the moral responsibility to help people suffering under repressive regimes with aid, diplomacy, and, yes, sometimes force.)

DADvocate said...

MSNBC had to clamp down on Schultz's "Psycho Talk" segment and fired Olbermann.

Every time I come across Ed "Big Fat Idiot" Schultz when I'm surfing the channels, he's fussing about Beck, Hannity or Limbaugh. I find it quite revealing that the lefties prefer to assault the right wing's talking heads rather than discuss issues with any truthfulness or reality based logic.

paminwi said...

I will say in all honesty that even though I had heard of Van Jones in the context of him being Obama's Green Czar that because of Glenn Beck I have paid more attention to the activities he is involved in now. Is that a bad thing because I learned more about him from Beck?

Do you all discount all statements from a person because they say crazy things sometimes?

Alex said...

Notice the leftist hysteria at Ann for just covering the WI brouhaha. She hasn't joined the counter-protest, she hasn't campaigned for any candidate, no speeches. Just New Meadia coverage showing the public what the left is by pointing a video camera at them. Basically they feel(rightly so) that unbiased New Meadia coverage damages their left-wing cause and they must Alinsky Ann. She should keep that in mind.

madawaskan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
shiloh said...

The A) is an example of free market, B) is censorship and totalitarian action.

And then there's Charlie Sheen ie very popular tv show, its overall contribution to society very debatable :) notwithstanding.

But CBS felt compelled to cut their losses and can Sheen rather than pander to the megalomaniac narcissist ...

And yes, I know megalomaniac narcissist is redundant.

Which begs the question: What human charateristic category does beck fall into. ;)

rcocean said...

So the Godwin rule is misguided in your view. I disagree. As I said, when your hypos are off-the-wall implausible, they don't help us think about the real world. I'd have to begin by imagining myself in Crazy World and then come up with a way to think in Crazy World. That might be a fun game, but it's not useful in figuring out what to do in the real world, which is what matters.

Ha, you proved Bob is only marginally better debating in print than he is in BHTV.

Just for the Record, Bob "Crazy-town" Wright has never shown that Beck "lies!!!" or "killed People!"; he never done anything but recite Media Matters talking points. Not surprising since he doesn't listen to Beck.

kcom said...

"As always, no charge for my keen grasp of the obvious."

As always, I feel I totally got my money's worth.

Alex said...

There are websites advocating for genocide, but they get very few hits and no MSM coverage. So, it seems to me that the free marketplace of ideas has consigned them to their pitiful little corner of the universe. What's wrong with that? Or maybe we should pass anti-racism laws like Canada & Europe have that actually outlaw verbalizing racist/genocidal thoughts.

I'd rather have the racists, KKK, neo-Nazi types with their pitiful websites then lock them up in jail making martyrs out of them. Europe is just so dumb. They go from one extreme(Hitler) to the other(Communist).

Alex said...

Which begs the question: What human charateristic category does beck fall into. ;

The question remains why are you obsessed with right-wing talking heads? Surely recalling Walker is the #1 agenda item.

madawaskan said...

I have to admit I didn't wade through it all but it's all very patronizing on Wright's part isn't it?

They can't handle it! That seems to be his argument.

And, then he wants to pin Althouse down to his narrow hypothetical.

Somehow Bob Wright imagines and wants the rest of us to imagine that there is a big right wing audience out there for-

a show whose host was devoted to encouraging people to kill every black person they see...

And we must answer the question of his fervent imagination before addressing any other reality!

Damn it!

(This is why Liberals like to deal with hypotheticals, -they never really want to be proven wrong.)

rcocean said...

I had a hard time following Bob's "logic" but is seems that if don't stop Beck now, the New York Times will be demanding that Black people be killed.

A slippery slope that begins and ends in "crazy-town".

Trooper York said...

"mesquito said...
What is the source of Bob's Wright's reputation"

He is Frazier Crane's brother.

Chuck said...

Maybe you should have asked old Bob, whoever that is, if you disliked Ed Schultz and wanted MSNBC to take him off the air, would that be acceptable.

The left is so enthralled with free speech, as long as it adheres to there philosophy.

You took up way too much time with that guy. I've got to look him up to see if it was worth it. Probably not.

shiloh said...

As always, I feel I totally got my money's worth.

Then it's a win/win situation as both parties are satisfied ...

madawaskan said...

Did Althouse give him a pop quiz or somethin'?

PaulV said...

Since Bob Wright is engaging in hate speech when he compares what Beck has said to someone calling for death to any group. I defend Wright, he has a right to make an ass of himself.

WV raili/ I rail against what Wright said, but he only hurts himself.

madawaskan said...

I'm regretting writing this:

And, then he wants to pin Althouse down to his narrow hypothetical.

I should have said *punny*.

Alex said...

What is this new civility I keep hearing about?

traditionalguy said...

The deep truth about fearless speech or freedom-from-fear speech is that it is man's basic Unalienable Right referred to by Tom Jefferson in his 1776 Declaration. A people are free until the exact moment that speech is forbidden by a group calling itself a Government, or a Church, or a Union, or an Army. Live free or die means no fear of death when speaking the words that come to you in a time of persecution or imprisonment. Jesus covered this very basic subject in his final teaching about the future given to his disciples the week before his sacrifice of Himself. ( See, Luke 21:12-19, which are good verses to read before your court case starts).

Alex said...

tradguy - it's all nice in theory but in reality there are always speech codes and restrictions. Just try saying whatever you want at work, and see if you don't get fired.

madawaskan said...

And maybe replaced *to* avec-

"with".

Trooper York said...

I wish they would take Bob Wright off of the Internet. I mean he is the epitome of out of touch liberal elist douchenozzle scum bags.

But I believe he has a right to his opinion and to infect the internets with constant disgusting douchebaggery.

Of course he would not be willing to grant the same right to anyone more conservative than Pete Seeger.

Alex said...

Trooper - Bob Wright being on the internet is more useful to the conservative cause then forcing him off. The more the leftist liar talks, the more he buries himself.

Trooper York said...

Off I don't want to force him off the internets. He is the one who wants to silence people he doesn't agree with. He can talk all he wants because he is like Horace.

Not the poet but the Angel in that stupid Christmas Movie.

Even time he opens his stupid douchenozzle trap he creates more conservatives.

madawaskan said...

Horace...

I liked Horace...

It's A Wonderful Life?

Trooper York said...

Wait the Angel was Clarence not Horace.

Horace was the worst second baseman the Yankees ever had.

Sorry I was reading old yearbooks this morning.

The Crack Emcee said...

Say, for example, an op-ed piece recommending that all black people be killed?

I haven't finished reading this exchange, but I had to stop and mention how much I love being stuck in the middle of it like this - not gays or hispanics or women - no, it's got to be the blacks. BAM! - right in the kisser! Let me tell you guys something:

Some days, this assimilation thing ain't all it's cracked up to be.

I'm sure, if Droopy knew how jarring it is to come across myself like that, in this context, and in this example, he'd probably never do it, but, I'm also sure, he doesn't think that deeply or far ahead. I mean, come on:

He's never shown the capacity for it before.

I'ma go back now and finish the rest, but, this time, with my guard up.

RichardS said...

What does Wright thing of Joe Klein's charge of "sedition," aimed at Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck.
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0410/36020.html

Does Klein believe in restoring laws against seditious libel? Does he believe the common law was wrong, and that, as the Sedition Act of 1798 had it, truth is a legitimate defense against the charge?

Or is Klein simply using the term to stress the evil he sees is their rhetoric, while allowing that Madison was right to regard the law as unconstitutional?

David said...

But Fox News wants Beck on the air, because a lot of people like to listen to him. You can avoid him yourself, but you want to stop the people who want to hear him from getting to hear him by convincing Fox that speech like that is not acceptable.

Just as I can avoid Bob Wright.

madawaskan said...

Wait...that was Clarence.

Trooper York said...

I think conservatives should take bloggingheads tapes to schools to show kids and say; "Kids if you want to be a liberal this is what you are gonna look like....think about it."

Trooper York said...

madawaskan said...
Wait...that was Clarence."

Yes, he is the Angel in "It's A Wonderful Life" and Prince's father in "Purple Rain."

madawaskan said...

I think we both have dyslexia.

I'm still trying to figure out who the hell the

"Self adsorbed(sic) crow" is.

Rabbits being naive about you know what should never work but it does....

I think it's because it's a children's story.

Chef Mojo said...

Free speech is an inherent right, and should not be subject to suppression. The defense of speech is the most important thing I know of, second only to the right to defend oneself.

Tolerance of objectionable speech is a test of character, and as such, the vast majority fail the test.

Althouse is not a free speech absolutist; she places the rare restriction on this blog, which is why I don't use the "n-word" around here without context. Fine. Her blog, her rules.

Self regulation is fine, but, in the end, the right is inherent and absolute. The arbitrary enforcement of speech rights is a blight upon liberty.

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
madawaskan said...

I thought Prince's father was Michael Jackson or Bobbo.

Speaking of which when the hell are you going to write up Marysol's mudder you know the female Al Pacino of Miami Housewive's?

DKWalser said...

Althouse,

Please reassure Wright that we caught on to the distinction he was trying to make between government actors and non-government actors. No, our misunderstanding his point is not the problem. For him, the problem is we understood his point.

He's alright with non-government actors using their free speech rights to intimidate and punish those who "misuse" their free speech rights. If some "ordinary Joe" signs the wrong petition or contributes to the wrong cause, Bob's all in favor of using free speech to hound Joe's employer until Joe is fired. He's down with hundreds gathering on Joe's front lawn to shout obscenities in protest of Joe's misuse of his free speech rights. Who cares that Joe's kids are scared nearly to death by a mob screaming and shouting in front of their home? Joe's got to learn that misuse of speech rights has consequences. His kids should learn the lesson, too!

Rather than use more speech to explain why someone's view is wrong, Bob wants to use more speech to intimidate anyone from ever expressing a wrong idea again. We got your point, Bob. We've rejected it.

Synova said...

Normally I'd answer that "free speech" only pertains to government censorship, but you said "free speech values" which seem more encompassing by definition.

But when the issue comes up it's often in a pro-active free-speech context, as though "free speech" requires that people be given an audience and that the choices made by people are the same thing as censorship. People make decisions all of the time about what book or magazine their store will carry or what they will listen to on television or radio. I've often said that when Librarians fuss over censorship all they are really doing is engaging in a turf war. (They get to chose what is on the shelf of a public library or not but anyone else wanting an opinion on that is evil incarnate.)

NORMALLY I'd agree with Bob Wright.

But when he was talking about Beck it wasn't even to arrange a boycott of Beck, "Hey, don't listen to Beck because he's icky." It was about the notion that OTHER PEOPLE needed to be protected from Beck.

I'm not big on boycotts and monkey-business, but generally figure that voting with your dollars is legit. It gets boring after a while not to buy Pepsi or even to care, or whatever. Buy American! as the unions would say. So sure, go ahead, vote with your dollars. (The boycotts aimed at regular folks because of their political opinions in order to get them fired or destroy a Mom and Pop business are pretty dang vile. Personal retaliation on protesters in Wisconsin would be equivalent. Also, cases where people's personal information is put on the internet in order that strangers can harass them.)

In any case, it wasn't just "don't watch Beck" it was "other people need to be protected from Beck."

All government is, really, is the organization of people. The danger of do-gooders doing good for your own good against your will is why it's so terribly dangerous to allow government to control information.

The principles don't change just because Wright is talking about an informal mob of persons doing good for your own good against your will by trying to make sure that people don't hear the wrong ideas, instead of government doing it.

The principle that it's *acceptable* to attempt to control what ideas others have access to is the dangerous part.

That's quite different from a vow that "those people won't get any of my money."

Trooper York said...

I can't write about Momma Elsa because she is too cool for school.

I am saving that one up!

Trooper York said...

Everybody knows who the self adsorbed crow is,

madawaskan said...

I've never known the details of that...

I could be the commenter that's posted the longest with out ever knowing what the hell is going on....

Hell I went on vacation and came back and found the Boob Wars...

I'm always out of it.

madawaskan said...

I am *this* close to trolling this site as ....her.

I gotta go watch Scarface first.

Synova said...

I also wanted to state that the hypothetical "what would Ann do if her commenters all disagreed with her about the scope of free speech" is silly.

The last thing I would *ever* expect would be that she'd do something other than argue with us some more.

garage mahal said...

Speaking of censorship from the government:

Two children cited in capitol for holding a sign And Part 2

Walker ignores court ruling on restricting access and rights of free speech, and freedom of assembly. Thousands and thousands of kids got very valuable civics lessons about Republican governorship.

Trooper York said...

A Mama Elsa troll would be awesome.

It would be a combination of Lem and hdhouse if you could imagine that.

madawaskan said...

Oh ya now the "ad" all makes sense.

That last installment cracked me up. I think it's the best one yet.

Alex said...

He's down with hundreds gathering on Joe's front lawn to shout obscenities in protest of Joe's misuse of his free speech rights.

Cite please, so that I know it's not just right-wing fantasy.

madawaskan said...

It would be a combination of Lem and hdhouse if you could imagine that.

LOL!

Alex said...

Walker ignores court ruling on restricting access and rights of free speech, and freedom of assembly. Thousands and thousands of kids got very valuable civics lessons about Republican governorship.

Bringing kids to political protests is child abuse. You are robbing them of their childhood.

madawaskan said...

I think you'd have to get smashed on the Cuba Libres just to pull it off.

Becky said...

Your arguments are a joy to read. Seriously.

Freeman Hunt said...

So Bob thinks it would be okay to try and force every liberal who conservatives think is a liar out of media?

Belkys said...

Moral Mojority people said we wont buy nore Ajax if the continue supporting Charlie´s Angels and they bowed. wasn't that a free speech problem?

rmblam said...

Why not pick from the alleged sea of offensive things Beck has said to justify kicking him off of Fox? The hate speech "clause" is an attempt to become gatekeepers of what speech is acceptable. This all also reminds me of what the media attempted to do to Matt Drudge (silence and discredit his speech). The disdain is palpable in the video below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkk7VUMSUlo

PS: I expect Beck will leave Fox. His plans extend beyond them, I gather. They wanted him. He doesn't need them. What comes next in the media world?

madawaskan said...

Last shot-

You know if Crack was a Housewife he'd be Neena.

Alex said...

Free speech is not an "inalienable right", because there are no inalienable rights. Only those that you can secure by force. When has anything worth having ever been granted without struggle and fight?

Belkys said...

FWIW here: outside the USA freedom of speech hold against private encroachment too

PaulV said...

Alex said...
He's down with hundreds gathering on Joe's front lawn to shout obscenities in protest of Joe's misuse of his free speech rights.



Alex, it happened in MD. DC police
escourted SEITU protester out of jurisdiction. Wright's MSM spiked story

Synova said...

"Every time I come across Ed "Big Fat Idiot" Schultz when I'm surfing the channels, he's fussing about Beck, Hannity or Limbaugh."

My parents are visiting and my dad (who makes me look moderate) had Schultz on. He was fussing over Michelle Bachmann.

I don't generally watch television.

I also got to see some Rachel Maddow. Wow. She doesn't even pretend not to be a partisan hack, does she.

Meade Watch said...

We have a place for deranged, bipolar lunatics like Glenn Beck, and that's Fox News. I see no reason to change anything.

If he were to start his own network, could it really be any more ridiculous than the one he's on now? Probably now.

Alex said...

Oh wow a new sockuppet, fun times!

Alex said...

Alex, it happened in MD. DC police
escourted SEITU protester out of jurisdiction. Wright's MSM spiked story


Link please.

PaulV said...

link to seiu protest thaat scared child
http://bigjournalism.com/acary/2010/05/24/as-d-c-cops-fine-tune-their-story-wheres-the-washington-post-on-the-seiu-protest-at-the-bank-of-america-execs-home/

mesquito said...

Bob has reached middle age without ever learning the First Rule Of Tolerance*

*If it's easy it ain't tolerance, dumbass.

traditionalguy said...

Alex...You got the point about free speech without fear. It may well cost a job, or a family relationship, or a life. But do not fear them and you will win in the end, because fear is the weapon they are using on everybody. The famous Marlon Brando film, On the Waterfront, presents the issue as only the post WWII veterans understood it. We have to refuse to wimp out in this generation.

Alex said...

tradguy - discretion is also the better part of valor. Only fight those battles you know you will win. However every time I have to shut up in the face of a liberal or I'd lose my job, I die inside a little.

The Crack Emcee said...

Well, that didn't take long:

OK, so now I’m pretty convinced of the truth of something I suggested earlier in this exchange: If Roger Ailes ran a show whose host was devoted to encouraging people to kill every black person they see, you (a) would not condemn Roger Ailes and (b) would consider me anti-free speech if I did condemn Roger Ailes.

I've got to stop reading before Bob figures out something else for "people" to do to a "black person". (And why do I get the impression he'd be confused if he heard my I'm-not-a-hyphenated-American riff?)

It's scary what a conventional Liberal Bob is. Having and running Bloggingheads, for instance, and acting as gatekeeper to who can get on. He's a perfect metaphor for how I see the world, and a good example of why I stay so pissed at it. Hey, Bob, if you're out there, check this out:

This is Arianna Huffington. She another gatekeeper - and a completely destructive cult leader and loon.

She, too, is pushing this Abandon Glenn Beck Crusade but, as you can see here, it's clear she's a liar who totally misrepresents what Beck does.

Now - before you come up with another way for me to die - I'd like to ask:

Are you doing anything to expose Arianna Huffington's role as a cultist?

Are you doing anything to stop Arianna Huffington's influence from digging deeper into American culture?

Are you doing anything to see if this Glenn Beck Is Dangerous line is a farce - especially when promoted by someone like Arianna Huffington? You know, like even watching Glenn Beck?

As far as I know, Glenn beck doesn't have blood on his hands, but Arianna does. Are you going to do anything to take the spotlight off of Beck, and put it on Arianna, now that you are aware of that fact? Or are you merely going to accept that you're ideological "soulmates" and hush up, letting the cards fall where they may?

Hit me back and let me know. Or maybe Ann can make a post of my questions to get your attention:

Considering all the ways you can conceive of me dead, I hope it happens soon, because something tells me, one way or another, I'm not long for this Earth.

KenK said...

Bob Wright is an asshole. Who cares what he thinks about anything?

Alex said...

Paul - that left-wing chick kept excusing the SEIU thugs because "families are struggling". So basically it's open season on CEO houses.

Alex said...

Crack - their first goal is to make all of us insane. Don't let them win. Focus on your music and take it one day at a time.

edutcher said...

The poll question and the thrust (if I may) of the exchange reminds me of the old Lefty wheeze, "War is too important to be left to the generals.

(well, we know what the Hildabeast and President Wee-Wee have done with that)

Wright can't seem to decide if free speech is too important to be left to Conservatives, Republicans, Libertarians, and Tea Partiers, or anyone - including the great unwashed that mindlessly votes Demo to keep the checks coming in - that isn't one of the Anointed Lefty Elite.

rmblam said...

Why not pick from the alleged sea of offensive things Beck has said to justify kicking him off of Fox?

And those would be what, exactly?

He seems to have racked up an admirable record exposing the psycho Commies which infest the Administration (Hell, which are the Administration) and is going after Dr Evil, which no one else has the guts to do.

Granted, I think Beck is a self-important jerk, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have purpose in this universe.

Trooper York said...

Bob Wright is the Walking Wedgie. Just sayn'

The Crack Emcee said...

Alex,

Their first goal is to make all of us insane. Don't let them win. Focus on your music and take it one day at a time.

O.K., who told you my motto?

I wouldn't get through the day without it.

Thanks, Alex.

Luna said...

Bob won. There's no other way to put it. Every legal precedent supports Bob's argument, which you should recognize as a lawyer.

Bring pressure on Ailes to fire Beck in no way prohibits Beck from expressing his views; it would only mean removing the platform Ailes gives him.

And nobody is constitutionally entitled to have a corporate-provided platform to express their views.

Any private employer can fire an employee for saying something he/she does not like. Even if it's something innocuous like the word "bubblegum."

Lobbying the government to arrest Beck (which I actually think they should because he incites violence and sedition, which are against the law) would be oppressing his free speech. Lobbying his private employer to fire him does not.

Beck does not have a right to that platform. If he did, then you or I should be entitled to sue Ailes for not giving us a platform on FOX to express our views.

You may find it odious for people to lobby for those you like to get fired, but both sides do it. In fact, I would think you would like that because it's a component of capitalism.

Consumers lobby for and against those things they want private corporations to supply.

Chuck said...

@madawaskan said...Hell I went on vacation and came back and found the Boob Wars...

I'll go you one better Madawaskan. I went to Vietnam in '66 and came back to find my 21 year old girlfriend wearing a mini-skirt and thought she had took to 'hooking' while I was away.

Freeman Hunt said...

Lobbying the government to arrest Beck (which I actually think they should because he incites violence and sedition, which are against the law

He must be sneaky. Every time I catch him on the radio, he's telling people never to resort to violence and to change things through conversation and at the ballot box. He must know when I'm not in the car with the radio on and waits until then to call for violence and sedition.

Alex said...

Bob won. There's no other way to put it. Every legal precedent supports Bob's argument, which you should recognize as a lawyer.

Bob won what? Did Althouse ever say there was a legal problem with boycotts or private citizens calling to take someone off the air. You obviously didn't bother reading the emails. You already decided what you believe about Ann and that's that.

Alex said...

Lobbying his private employer to fire him does not.

Let's take this further. Should private individuals be hounded out of their jobs if they vote the wrong way? Should our votes be anonymous? Surely my vote should be public info so the SEIU can hound me at work, no?

Trooper York said...

Watch out for Luna I think he has tics.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Any private employer can fire an employee for saying something he/she does not like.

Not true.

There are very strict limits. The speech must be harmful to the business. The owner cannot just fire you for speech that he/she doesn't like.

I also think you need to look up the definition of sedition. You are a very confused young person and it is difficult to take anything you say seriously.

Please cite where Beck has called for violence.

Luna said...

Alex, it doesn't matter whether you or I think private individuals should be hounded out of a job. If 1 person wrote an e-mail to your employer to claim you said X number of bad things, and could prove that you had done so, and your employer fired you, you would not have much (if any) recourse.

And no, I don't agree with the SEIU that votes should be public. I believe strongly in secret ballots, which I think is a foundational principle of our government.

Wow, aren't you surprised? I'm not actually a "died-in-the-wool" liberal deserving of your attempt to tar and feather my opinions.

And yes, Alex, she does imply that there is a problem with hounding Ailes to fire Beck because it prevents a segment of the population from being able to hear the voices they want.

(I could argue the failure of my hotel last week to provide Comedy Central did the same.)

Freeman, every time you hear Beck say that, it is because he's trying to create "plausible deniability." There's a very good South Park episode you should watch that might help you understand this.

"Obama is ushering in a Nazi government that will destroy the world as you know it and round up your family and kill you. Is it time for another revolution? I'm not calling for violence...I'm just asking."

Give me a break. Only the willfully naive cannot see through that.

And no, Trooper, I don't have tics. I have a sea.

The Crack Emcee said...

Freeman Hunt,

He must be sneaky. Every time I catch him on the radio, he's CLEARLY telling people never to resort to violence and to change things through conversation and at the ballot box.

FIFY. These people are uninformed, uninterested in knowing what they don't know, and dangerous.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Beck does not have a right to that platform. If he did, then you or I should be entitled to sue Ailes for not giving us a platform on FOX to express our views.

You do have that right. You will lose, but go ahead.

You may find it odious for people to lobby for those you like to get fired, but both sides do it. In fact, I would think you would like that because it's a component of capitalism.

No it isn't. The component of capitalism is when people vote with their wallets or with their presence in the establishment.

Consumers lobby for and against those things they want private corporations to supply.

Of course they do and they show it buy buying or not buying products. They can also express dismay and concern about the products and the company is perfectly free to ignore the buzzing little flies because they pay attention to what counts: the bottom line.....or in the case of FOX and Beck....ratings.

Alex said...

Luna-

And yes, Alex, she does imply that there is a problem with hounding Ailes to fire Beck because it prevents a segment of the population from being able to hear the voices they want.

What Ann is arguing is for a purity of free speech. Meaning of course it's legal to advocate Beck be taken off the air and it's legal for Fox News to fire him, but it's immoral to advocate for it. That's Ann's position. Why are you for shutting up dissenting voices?

Alex said...

DBQ - but all the big advertisers dropped their ads from Beck's program. I can't imagine it's very profitable for them with all the small-fry ads.

Trooper York said...

Bob Wright should be fired for giving effete eltitist snobs a bad name.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

And yes, Alex, she does imply that there is a problem with hounding Ailes to fire Beck because it prevents a segment of the population from being able to hear the voices they want.

(I could argue the failure of my hotel last week to provide Comedy Central did the same.)


Then your solutions are to:

1: tell the establishment that you would like the program

2: stay somewhere else if/when they decide not to provide the program for YOU if most other people don't give a rip about Comedy Central. If a lot of people want Comedy Central, they will give it to you if it doesn't cost them too much. If not....tough luck.

That is how the free market works.

Meade said...

(I could argue the failure of my hotel last week to provide Comedy Central did the same.)

And you would be right.

Luna said...

Dust Bunny Queen,

Actually employment laws vary from state to state, but in most states, your private employer can fire you for saying something he/she doesn't like and you cannot do anything about it because you are an "at will" employee.

In fact, your employer can call you names and you have no recourse. Look up "employment" and "bullying" sometime. Short of doing anything that meets the legal definitions of sexual, religious, age, or racial discrimination, your employer can do a whole lot of things and you can't do anything about it.

He/she can't fire you in violation of your contract (if you have one that doesn't state you are an at-will employee) or in retaliation for whistle blowing.

Look up "wrongful termination" sometime. It sounds like you are in for an eye-opening.

And I do think suggesting the president is a traitor and revolution might be in order meets the criteria of sedition.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

but all the big advertisers dropped their ads from Beck's program. I can't imagine it's very profitable for them with all the small-fry ads.

That may be so. I don't watch the show.

Time will tell, won't it. If the ratings go down he goes off the air.

If the ratings go up or stay where they are...SCORE for the small time advertisers!! And then the big time advertisers will be right back.

That's how it works in a free market society and not the totalitarian dream world that Luna lives in.

Freeman Hunt said...

Freeman, every time you hear Beck say that, it is because he's trying to create "plausible deniability." There's a very good South Park episode you should watch that might help you understand this.

"Obama is ushering in a Nazi government that will destroy the world as you know it and round up your family and kill you. Is it time for another revolution? I'm not calling for violence...I'm just asking."


Since that isn't an accurate representation of what Beck says, it's not much of an argument.

Also, this sentence, "Every legal precedent supports Bob's argument, which you should recognize as a lawyer," reveals that you either did not read or did not understand Ann's arguments. She's specifically not talking about law.

Henry said...

Oddly, Bob's hypotheticals reminded me of my childhood Sunday School lessons on forgiveness. Everyone knows that forgiveness is a virtue, a practice that saves one's own soul, and yet always, there's the adolescent intellect who complains, "What about Hitler? Do I have to forgive Hitler?"

No one is asking you to do that, bub.

Lgbpop said...

While all of you cavil about Mr. Wright's free-speech rights and Mr. Beck's free-speech rights, I just want to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Ailes for exercising his right to free speech by putting Mr. Beck's show on the air. At least he has the clarity of thought to realize that if one chooses not to listen or watch Mr. Beck, they can change the channel or tune in to a different station.

Now, if you all will excuse me I am going to go see what's on the radio.

Luna said...

Alex,

I'll respond to you because I think you seem reasonably intelligent. Dust Bunny Queen, not so much, so I'm not going to bother arguing with her. Her arguments are weak.

I have no interest in shutting up Glenn Beck or other dissenting voices, Alex. My only interest is in using my freedom of speech to tell someone I think they are committing a moral failing by giving a large platform to a hatemonger.

And Beck can use his freedom of speech to tell that same person he's not a hatemonger and deserves the platform.

And then it's wholly up to the private capitalist to decide what is in his best interest--listening to me and Beck's plummeting ratings and growing legion of conservative critics or listening to his still 1-million plus viewers.

To truly believe in "purity of free speech," then you would have to argue that everyone has the right to have their editorial published in whatever newspaper, no matter how hateful or offensive.

Well, they don't. Getting a platform from a private entity is something you have to earn, not something you have a right to.

You do, however, have a right to say anything you want. You just don't have a right to say it wherever you want to.

Writ Small said...

Try my poll instead to see if you agree with Ann or Bob:

A person is fairly thought of as anti-free speech if he or she does the following:

A) Expresses approval of or a desire for the government to control what its citizens can and cannot say.

B) Expresses approval of or a desire for a private company to control what its employees can and cannot say.

C) Both A & B are anti-free speech.

If you choose A, you agree with Bob. If you choose C, you agree with Ann. If you choose B, you're not too bright.

Trooper York said...

Well actually he has earned that right Luna. Beck brings in the people and even if big time ads are scared away others take the place of the ones who are gone. He brings buzz and noterity to Fox. His ratings might be falling but they seem to be far superior to his mirror images at MSNBC.

You don't drive out bad speech by banning it. You drive it out with good speech. By presenting your arguments so people want to hear them.

Judging by Keith Olberman and his ilk that hasn't worked out so well for Frazier's brother and his fellow travellers.

Trooper York said...

I actually have never seen any of Becks TV shows so I don't know if what Bob Wright is saying is true. My default position is that he is lying since everything he ever said about something I knew about was a flat out lie.

If Bob Wright told me the sun rose in the east I would face my beach chair to the west every morning.

He is just about the worst.

Luna said...

Freeman Hunt, funny how I know more about what Glenn Beck says than you do.

I guess you haven't been paying as much attention as you think or seeing only what you want to see?

Or maybe you can't put 2 + 2 together?

Trooper York said...

I haven't listen to his program or seen his show. But sight unseen I don't think he should be taken off the air no matter what. That wouldn't be right. The fact that Bob Wright wants to do that tells you all you need to know about him.

I mean you can guess what I think of someone like Bill Maher or Joy Behar or Whoopie. But I don't want them to be taken off the air. They have a right to make a living. No matter what they say. Or how they say it. Free speech means free speech.

Trooper York said...

The fact that you agree with the Walking Wedgie and want to get Beck fired says a lot about you too Luna.

And it ain't good.

Trooper York said...

Now if you were trying to get that new Forest Withaker serial killer show off the air....well I could get behind that.

That motherfucker with his lazy eye freaks me out. And the sexy girl in the show is Jeanine Garafolo? Who the fuck thought that was a good idea?

Jeeez.

Luna said...

Writ Small, the problem with your poll--like with most polls by conservatives--is that the questions themselves are intellectually dishonest.

What is free speech?

A) The right to say whatever you want without fear of arrest or punishment by the government provided it does not infringe upon the rights of others to remain safe.

B) The right to say whatever you want, as long as it does not endanger anyone, in a privately owned business or home and the owners of that privately owned place should not be able to demand that you leave.

I would like to see you argue that the guy sitting next to you at work has the right to say all sorts of controversial things out loud and tell your coworkers that you are a Nazi communist (even though that's an oxymoron) and for you to complain to your employer about it would be a violation of his rights to free speech.

You should just move your chair. And who cares if he's lying about you to everyone you work with? Go work somewhere else then.

How silly.

YoungHegelian said...

There is another issue here that those who would like to silence Glenn Beck have not dealt with:

Has Beck really said things that are so far out of the American political mainstream that he should be hounded out of business?

This is a simple empirical question. What has he said that's so far beyond the pale?

Notice I'm not asking what he said that would piss off liberals, but what has he said that would have the boys at the local VFW go "Glenn is bit fucked in the head"?

I don't watch Beck except for two exceptions: when he's on O'Reilly, where he has never said anything beyond the pale in 18 months of watching (he even said he was okay with gay marriage), and, once, I saw his show and he had a segment on George Whitefield, complete with two historians from William & Mary. You know, really dangerous fascistic stuff, those Great Awakening theologians.

Trooper York said...

Luna said...
I would like to see you argue that the guy sitting next to you at work has the right to say all sorts of controversial things out loud....How silly."

That's all you need to know about Luna. If you say something controversial at work he thinks you should be fired.

I guess Rex Ryan should get fired by the Jets because he keeps talking about having sex with his wife's feet?

How un-american can you get?

Trooper York said...

And that is very controversial because his wife has really ugly feet.

Luna said...

Trooper York, I would wholly support your right to lobby to get Bill Maher off the air.

I watch Bill Maher regularly. He's bigoted, offensive, and crude. He's also sexist and racist. I don't find anything wrong with you contacting HBO and expressing your views on Maher.

In fact, people did that after he said 9/11 was an inside job and was fired from "Politically Incorrect."

And I don't think anyone has the right to make Aflac rehire Gilbert Godfried.

These were decisions made by private companies.

I see nothing wrong in people exercising their free speech rights to complain about the offensive language of others.

And I don't even know who "Bob" is. I came to this blog from somewhere else, read the argument, and felt that he was right. He might have a whole range of opinions I disagree with, but on this one, I think he's in the right.

Luna said...

Young,

Yes, actually Beck has, and it's not only liberals saying he should be fired. Quite a few prominent conservatives or neoconservatives say that he's dangerous or insane.

He has actually said things that have, in fact, resulted in mentally unstable individuals seeking to commit acts of violence against others or threatening the lives of others.

Even O'Reilly criticizes Beck for being crazy.

Trooper York said...

Luna baby I call shenanigans.

I don't believe you. You must be one of the boringheads lemmings coming over here to take the Walking Wedgies side on this issue.

And when you say someone should be fired because they hold racist opinions then I guess you want Obama impeached? Just sayn'

Chip Ahoy said...

Bah.

Luna said...

TrooperYork,

Actually talking about sex with our wife to your coworkers who ask you to stop legally meets the definition of sexual harassment. Don't you watch your sexual harassment training videos?

By controversial, TrooperYork, I think you would have to agree it creates an unpleasant environment at work if everyone goes around saying incendiary things.

For example, regardless of my political leanings, I don't think it would be a good thing for someone to continually bash the president (regardless of who he is) out loud or state his abortion views (pro or con) repeatedly to his coworkers who just want to do their jobs.

Yes, I think people who disrupt the working environment probably be asked to stop. And I'm not the first person to think that.

YoungHegelian said...

@Luna,

Buddy, I thought you had an an argument, but then you post a howler like:

"Even O'Reilly criticizes Beck for being crazy. "

Yea, that's why O'Reilly tours with him!

O'Reilly gets into with Beck, but he gets into it with EVERYBODY!


Now I know you're just lefty talking points and have no evidence to back it up.

Luna said...

Trooper, I don't care if you believe me. I still haven't been to Bob's alleged blog, but the more I hear how much you hate it, the curiouser I become. If you hate it, I'm starting to think it must be good!

And I never said anyone should be fired for holding racist opinions. Even you.

There's a difference between the right to have an opinion, and the right to be given a platform for espousing that opinion.

It's a question of convincing his employer that what he's saying in the employer's space is so odious that he does not deserve to be paid to say it there.

And I'm all for that.

Lgbpop said...

"Yes, actually Beck has, and it's not only liberals saying he should be fired. Quite a few prominent conservatives or neoconservatives say that he's dangerous or insane.

He has actually said things that have, in fact, resulted in mentally unstable individuals seeking to commit acts of violence against others or threatening the lives of others."

I don't believe this at all. That's opinion. If you have names and proof, post them.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

He has actually said things that have, in fact, resulted in mentally unstable individuals seeking to commit acts of violence against others or threatening the lives of others.

Really? Provide some citations.

Screenshots or it didn't happen.

Deranged people believe all sorts of things. David Berkowitz believed a demon in his neighbor's dog told him to kill. Does this mean we should get rid of all Black Labradors?

Trooper York said...

Let me get this straight. If there was someone who continual bashed W when he was President in a loud and unrestrained way he should be fired?

I don't believe you. I don't believe any HR department in America would fire someone for that.

Of course Barry is different. He is a snail darter.

I just don't believe you or Bob Wright.

Trooper York said...

And I still think you have tics buddy.

Trooper York said...

But please don't go to boringheads buddy. I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy.

Big Mike said...

Okay, our side will shut down Glenn Beck as soon as your side shuts down Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow, Christine Amanpour, etc., etc., etc.

Isn't it funny that people who call themselves "liberal" want to decide who gets to speak and who doesn't?

Or maybe not so funny after all.

The Crack Emcee said...

Luna,

Freeman Hunt, funny how I know more about what Glenn Beck says than you do.

I guess you haven't been paying as much attention as you think or seeing only what you want to see?


Or she doesn't watch enough South Park!

Fucking hilarious. Hey, dumbshit, didn't you hear her?

SHE ACTUALLY LISTENS TO BECK! NOT AN INTERPRETATION OF WHAT BECK SAYS BUT TO THE MAN HIMSELF!

So (straightens collar, brushes hair) she knows what she's talking about and you don't.

'Nuff said.

Freeman Hunt said...

Freeman Hunt, funny how I know more about what Glenn Beck says than you do.

Great. Then you should be able to answer this question posed by YoungHegelian:

This is a simple empirical question. What has he said that's so far beyond the pale?

I await the quotes.

Alex said...

Luna - it seems we don't disagree on anything then. You are definitely 100% against the government deciding winners and losers right?

Alex said...

while we're on the subject of "free speech", can we also agree that illegal trespassing onto private property for protesting should result in arrests of the trespassers?

Freeman Hunt said...

That's really the heart of the matter, isn't it?

Beck hasn't actually said anything outside the bounds of American political discourse. But he does say things that some people don't agree with. And a few of those some people can't stand that other people listen to the stuff Beck says that they don't agree with, so they want him off the air.

Being unable to abide a different point of view is not the mark of a lover of free speech.

The Crack Emcee said...

They hate that Beck has been effective - just ask Van Jones.

YoungHegelian said...

@Freeman

Beck not says things that lefties don't like, he even claimed two scalps in the administration, both of them underlings of Valerie Jarrett.

One was trying to use goverment funds to drum up pro-Obama artists, and the other was Van Jones, that right-wing orgasm in a bottle of "OhmyGod, we actually caught the Dems putting an honest-to-God Commmie in office".

That's what pisses off the left with Beck.

YoungHegelian said...

@Crack,

Great minds think alike, or what, dude!

Alex said...

By controversial, TrooperYork, I think you would have to agree it creates an unpleasant environment at work if everyone goes around saying incendiary things.

For example, regardless of my political leanings, I don't think it would be a good thing for someone to continually bash the president (regardless of who he is) out loud or state his abortion views (pro or con) repeatedly to his coworkers who just want to do their jobs.


I have actual experience with this. A few years ago while contracting with a company, I had the pleasure of seeing many left-wing signs and people openly expressing their left-wing views. No right-wing views were seen, or I guess tolerated. Would you call that a hostile work environment. Thank god I'm no longer there.

What's wrong with a little political debate at work as long as people can keep it civil? My experience is conservative can stick to facts & logic while keeping a calm demeanor, but liberals get frothing at the slightest perceived slight.

Alex said...

Crack - Beck did some good work(Van Jones), but in th last year I think he's gone off the rails. Especially this year with all the conspiracy stuff related to the Middle East. He's become the crackpot he was always accused of being. It's a shame really because after the August rally he was really on a roll, could have used that energy for advancing rational discussion.

YoungHegelian said...

@Alex,

I agree with you that Beck's views on the ME are useless or worse, but they're not unheard of in moderate to hard right circles, which is a sizable chunk of the country.

It's like the meme of the left that the Iraq war was all about Israel. Do I agree? No, but that's an accepted line of thought in much of the US and international left, and it's certainly not beyond the pale of discussion.

Alex said...

Young Hegelian:

agree with you that Beck's views on the ME are useless or worse, but they're not unheard of in moderate to hard right circles, which is a sizable chunk of the country.

Oh I don't disagree that Beck represents a certain lunatic fringe. He does it very well. But let's not pretend it's more then 10% of the electorate.

The Crack Emcee said...

Alex,

I have actual experience with this. A few years ago while contracting with a company, I had the pleasure of seeing many left-wing signs and people openly expressing their left-wing views. No right-wing views were seen, or I guess tolerated. Would you call that a hostile work environment. Thank god I'm no longer there.

I've faced worse than that, and always by liberals.

YoungHegelian said...

@Alex,

When he goes ME fringey, he may be 10%, but on most other things, he a lot more mainline than that.

If he wasn't, it would be statistically impossible to have the ratings he does.

I know it may cause a few lefty heart attacks to say it, but I think the average Fox News viewer is better at separating wheat from chaff than he is given credit for.

Alex said...

When he goes ME fringey, he may be 10%, but on most other things, he a lot more mainline than that.

Oh it's not just ME, he's lunatic fringe on all the issues. Just a few months ago he had a program where he was trying to explain that were days away from financial DOOM if the Chinese ever stopped buying our securities.

The Crack Emcee said...

I don't know anything about Beck on the ME, and can count how many times I've seen him on TV on one hand. Like Freeman, I catch him on the radio with his sidekicks, where he's funny, informative, and only a little over-the-top. He's NEVER attempted to incite anyone to do anything, that I've heard of, unless buying a 10 year supply of emergency food counts.

I say his critics are cowards, who can't handle listening to a passionate man speak. He scares them because they know he's talking about them, they don't like the description, or the idea he turns the public on to what they're doing, making it harder for them to get away with it.

Speaking of which - anybody seen Luna?

vbspurs said...

You know when I saw (and commented on it at length) the Bloggingheads exchange, I thought more than 20 minutes was spent talking about the threats received by Ann and Meade. It was a bit much, I thought, considering there were a lot of world events the two could have been talking about.

But now that I have seen the email exchange, I see that Bob Wright must've been sitting on his hands to address the issue of what he claims is Ann misrepresenting his stance on free speech.

He clearly wanted to talk about it all along, and no wonder he showed scant sensitivity towards Meadehouse's predicament.

vbspurs said...

BTW, awesome email exchange. If only we could speak as well as we write.

traditionalguy said...

Speaking from personal experience, at a truly liberal church, any speech is listened to for its value in identifying the speaker's thoughts. The speaker is accepted and not ejected or harshly criticized. That takes some major self control, but it is worth the experience which is highly educational. In a pretend"liberal church" which exists to deny belief in the basics ( See, Apostles Creed), they will isolate and drive out anyone whose speech upsets the delicate unbelievers. That is analogous to Althouse and Wright's positions. All of this reminds me of Mark Twain's saying: "Everybody is ignorant...just in different areas".

Just Lurking said...

Trooper York, I would wholly support your right to lobby to get Bill Maher off the air.

You miss the point. Trooper York and true free speech advocates would never want to do that. You can't wrap your head around that concept, can you?

Synova said...

"To truly believe in "purity of free speech," then you would have to argue that everyone has the right to have their editorial published in whatever newspaper, no matter how hateful or offensive."

I usually hear this sort of baloney from the left, which is why I usually am on Bob Wright's side of this pointing out that it's government censorship that's the issue.

In fact, this was essentially the common argument against citizen's united, that it inhibited free speech to allow political speech to those non-person entities. That it was actually anti-free speech not to actively and pro-actively ensure that everyone else SHUT UP so that others can be heard.

Yes, hard core "free speech" is actually anti free speech because some are louder than others and free speech requires that the loud be silenced and the less loud be amplified.

"Well, they don't. Getting a platform from a private entity is something you have to earn, not something you have a right to."

And as has been mentioned, Beck earned the broadcasting slot.

Anyone is free to turn the channel and not watch, not listen. The only reason to do more than that is to try to take away the right of other citizens to make their own choices.

Canuck said...

Beck's puppets are awesomesauce!

Seriously, I can't watch much T.V. news, except for a little bit of CSPAN and CNN International, where they do some actual reporting.

In terms of "should Beck be taken off the air?" Don't care. That's up to Fox to decide.

vbspurs said...

Yes, hard core "free speech" is actually anti free speech because some are louder than others and free speech requires that the loud be silenced and the less loud be amplified.

Ain't that the truth, Synova.

I was once on a board where the Admin decided NO post would be deleted, or person censured for expressing any thought which crossed his/her mind.

It was bedlam -- people turned into stalkers and victims, and the signal was barely audible above the noise. The forum is no more.

Writ Small said...

But now that I have seen the email exchange, I see that Bob Wright must've been sitting on his hands to address the issue of what he claims is Ann misrepresenting his stance on free speech.

He clearly wanted to talk about it all along, and no wonder he showed scant sensitivity towards Meadehouse's predicament.


I totally agree with your assessment. People are so caught up in who is right about Mr. Beck (Ann is), they are missing the underlying principle Ann and Bob are debating.

It's a close call, but on principle, Bob is correct. Saying that a private organization should control what it's members who represent them say is not "anti-free speech" in the way that most discuss the term. Frito Lay didn't want to run the Christian-mocking commercial during the Super Bowl. If you supported that decision are you "anti-free speech?" Ann's position would say yes. Any suppression of content is anti-free speech. Bob's position would say that the govt. is not involved, so there are no serious free-speech issues at stake. The company used discretion within its rights and interests.

I would like to know what Bob thinks of that commercial controversy. Ann is consistent with her incorrect view (she was critical of Frito Lay). Would Bob be consistent and support Frito Lay's self-censorship?

Issob Morocco said...

Ann established a "No weird fallacy hypothetical zone" with Bob.

As a result she shot down every attempt he made to find a bizarro patchwork of scenario to which she, he thought, would surely have to agree.

She didn't.

Meade said...

John Stuart Mill said...

"Society can and does execute its own mandates: and if it issues wrong mandates instead of right, or any mandates at all in things with which it ought not to meddle, it practices a social tyranny more formidable than many kinds of political oppression, since, though not usually upheld by such extreme penalties, it leaves fewer means of escape, penetrating much more deeply into the details of life, and enslaving the soul itself.”

If John Stuart Mill were around today, he would likely ask, “When did Bob Wright and the left turn against free speech?”

Henry said...

@Issob Morocco - "No weird hypothetical zone"

Very concise. Nicely put.

Fen said...

Luna: I'll respond to you because I think you seem reasonably intelligent. Dust Bunny Queen, not so much, so I'm not going to bother arguing with her. Her arguments are weak.

Hey Luna, you should just shut the fuck up. You're too stupid to have first ammendment rights.

(Good. Goose. Gander.)

SGT Ted said...

Lobbying the government to arrest Beck (which I actually think they should because he incites violence and sedition, which are against the law) would be oppressing his free speech.

You are anti-free speech.

SGT Ted said...

He has actually said things that have, in fact, resulted in mentally unstable individuals seeking to commit acts of violence against others or threatening the lives of others.

bullshit. You just don't like what he says so, you are attempting to portray him as a criminal and beyond the pale and unfit for polite company, using Alinsky tactics. This is the anti-free speech values AA is talking about.

But the left is nothing if not a bunch of bullies using verbal and physical attacks to accomplish their goals. It isn't campus comservatives who disrupt speakers with whom they disagree politically.

If we were to apply Lunas standard to the left, most of them would be in jail.

themightypuck said...

"Sticks and stones will break your bones but names will never hurt you." was a pretty solid cultural value for a long ass time. Bob is wrong here but Ann is playing an unseemly game of "I won. I won."

themightypuck said...

In Godwin news, Alinski is the new Hitler.

blake said...

The problem with Wright's hypothetical is that he, of course, sees extremism in a fantasy view of the right. (Racism is right-wing, donchaknow?)

How about this extremist scenario: Op-ed pieces recommending that the government confiscate half of the wealth of some group of people in order to insert itself into their most private decisions.

That's crazy world for ya.

Yet nobody seems to be suggesting these voices be silent, despite their advocacy of mass theft.

Hey, isn't there a prominent meme going around the left (M. Moore, e.g.) that we have PLENTY of money, if we just take all of it from billionaires?

Now, that's offensive on just a basic math level.

The left advocates thievery, violence, racism, genocide, destruction of property, destruction of the rule of law, destruction of society, slavery, deceit, and on and on.

Nobody seems to be trying to get THEM off the air.

blake said...

I watched Beck once when he had on Amity Shlaes and a couple of other experts and he drove me nuts, just the way all these other talking heads do.

Shut up, dude. Let the guys who know WTF they're talking about talk about it.

I've seen him since then and he's gotten better. Never heard him advocate violence, never heard him compare anyone to Hitler (though I guess Stewart has a bit where he's clipped together Beck saying that), never heard him say much more than "do your reading". Outright "don't trust me or take my word for it".

I'm generally favorably inclined toward someone who says "educate yourself".

By the way, I love the "Dances With Smurfs" episode of "South Park", by the way, but you can't count on the boys to make an accurate parody of anything.

First, they're not that diligent. Second, they're trying to be funny.

Maybe reverse the order of those. One feeds into the other.

wv: produnce

No, I am not.

(Can we agree if Luna doesn't come back, it was a "concern troll"?)

blake said...

Alex,

Oh it's not just ME, he's lunatic fringe on all the issues. Just a few months ago he had a program where he was trying to explain that were days away from financial DOOM if the Chinese ever stopped buying our securities.

I saw that one--or an episode that week when he covered it--but I'd seen the same theory several times prior to that.

I don't get how that's lunatic fringe.

blake said...

That is, it might be wrong, but how is it lunatic?

Meade said...

"Bob is wrong here but Ann is playing an unseemly game of 'I won. I won.'"

It's not really that unseemly. She only said it once. And it's not like she's the president or anything.

Stephen A. Meigs said...

Woah, truly brilliant of you Prof. Althouse; you're very logical in that debate, and quick too, apparently. Here's something else to consider, that I mentioned a few years ago somewhere or another. Should speech against (legally allowing) that speech which does not involve free speech be free? Because if the former speech wins the argument and carries the day with society and the Supreme Court in some moment of mass stupidity, then a society is stuck with reduced free speech for likely much more than a day. So in the important sense it is more free speech, and better, imho, to be against the freedom to speak against free speech.

But to avoid a circularity making the proclaiming of a law against such speech illegal, and to promote debate about exactly how such a law should be written and enacted, speech against the freedom to speak about free speech should be allowed. It's important that debate about the law be open or it might be applied badly or become immune to improvement, or degenerate. For instance, I don't think Bob Wright's statements should be illegal, because they don't directly encourage speech to be outlawed. And sometimes it is hard to distinguish speech that is just offensive from speech that is basically threatening, and it wouldn't do to disallow arguing for the prohibition of the latter, or to excessively discourage arguments about where the line should be drawn between them.

Somehow I feel such a proposed amendment or law would be extremely unpopular, I guess because its proponents would appear "smart-alecky" hair-splitters out to prove the subtle logical mastery they themselves claim to possess be of extreme importance and of a par with Smullyan, but no matter, it would be a good change, I think, even though I feel there could indeed be a slightly better solution or dangers I haven't thought of, and yeah, mad scientist types sometimes underestimate the dangers of whatever uses their clevernesses, so people are rightly afraid of that sort of thing. Perhaps, indeed, the right restriction is even more logically complicated than I suggest, but hopefully I am not the sort to have much allowed sophistication to encourage an imprudent faith in something just because it involves cool logical intricacy.

A corollary of believing my views is that if Glenn Beck himself argued against freedom of speech about matters not related to freedom of speech, Wright would have been right and pro free speech to campaign FOX to fire him (notwithstanding Beck be popular).

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trooper York said...

Bob Wright may not agree with what you have to say but he will fight to the death to stop you from saying what he doesn't want other people to hear.

Well he might not fight to the death.

But he'll scratch you really good. And pull you hair.

So cut that free speech out you poopyhead conservatives

The Crack Emcee said...

Let this thread be a lesson to all about Liberalism and Luna:

Luna dominated this thread until the demand for proof was put forward and then - *poof!* - he's gone, never to be seen again.

I'm bookmarking it, in case he shows up anywhere else again, as a reminder of what kind of nonsense he, and Liberalism, will put people through for nothing.