The 1st Amendment

In what may be becoming a series, today I tackle the first amendment of the Constitution of the United States in order to point out to Dr. Laura that she does already, in fact, have protection under the first amendment while hosting her radio show which she uses as a racist, misogynistic, homophobic platform.

Let’s just see what the first amendment says, shall we? [via]

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

What Dr. Laura does on her radio program, that’s commercial speech.  She’s allowed to say whatever she wants as long as the people paying her say it is okay.  Her first amendment rights simply protect her from the government punishing her for what she says.  So, if she feels limited in her ability to say the n-word on radio without pissing people off, that has NOTHING to do with the first amendment.  Because clearly, she can say the n-word all she wants over and over again in the context of an amazingly racist rant without any punishment from the government.

While I am pleased that her radio program will be off air because I think her ideas are hate-filled and terrible, her reasoning for abandoning her show is stupid and wrong:

“The reason (for retiring) is I want to regain my First Amendment rights, she explained. “I want to be able to say what’s on my mind and in my heart and what I think is helpful and useful without somebody getting angry, some special interest group deciding this is the time to silence a voice of dissent and attack affiliates, attack sponsors.”

The first amendment, Dr. (DR!) Laura, doesn’t protect you from making people angry.  People are allowed to get angry with you for whatever you say, wherever you say it, whenever you say it and the government can’t do a damn thing about it.  “Special interest groups” can do what they want to “silence a voice of dissent” (HA!) and they can certainly pressure affiliates and sponsors to stop supporting your program.  That still doesn’t violate the first amendment.  So, you can hate all those things, you can hate the political game, you can hate how money works, but you cannot say that this has absolutely ANYTHING to do with the Constitution or your civil rights.  Give me a fucking break.

We’ve seen this before, though.  This inflation of constitutional rights with not liking being picked on for saying crappy things about other people:

“If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations,” Palin told host Chris Plante, “then I don’t know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media.” [via]


2 thoughts on “The 1st Amendment

  1. Pingback: That Damn 1st Amendment « Speaker's Corner


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