the First Amendment: freedom of (Palin's) press

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In an interview with Chris Plante at WMAL yesterday morning, Sarah Palin complained about the media coverage of the McCain campaign. In itself, that is nothing new; the Right constantly alleges bias whenever their spin isn't treated as gospel truth. Their persecution complex leads to some astounding feats of projection (Coulter, Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Goldberg, et al.), but seldom does it lead to an assertion this counter-factual:

"If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations, 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."
(audio and transcript here at ThinkProgress)

Glenn Greenwald
takes her to school:

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

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

According to Palin, what the Founders intended with the First Amendment was that political candidates for the most powerful offices in the country and Governors of states would be free to say whatever they want without being criticized in the newspapers. In the Palin worldview, the First Amendment was meant to ensure that powerful political officials such as herself would not be "attacked" in the papers. Is it even possible to imagine more breathtaking ignorance from someone holding high office and running for even higher office?

Palin should read the Bill of Rights, including the First Amendment that she so clearly does not understand:

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.

I don't see anything in there about political divas being immune from criticism.

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1 Comment

The thing I find remarkable is that there are those, and they aren't few, who will testify that this woman is still a political force. I've heard it on MSNBC, from pundits and journalists like Matthews.

So the question I have is, are they simply acknowledging her political power based on her appeal, or are they saying that this woman is actually smart?

That's sort of a rhetorical question, because I've heard several actually say she's smart.

If that is true, that she's smart, then we're dealing with a supremely manipulative political person.

If there's comfort to be found, it's in her ignorance, nay, her convoluted logic, because that's much less worrisome than Palin actually having brains.

She seems to me to be horribly misinformed, but that doesn't seem to bother the base(est). Obviously, that's a plus for a party with a significant wing who are perfectly proud of their fascist sensibilities.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on November 1, 2008 9:07 AM.

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