Monday, May 11, 2015

Chris Cuomo and the Widespread Misunderstanding of Freedom of Expression

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CNN's Chris Cuomo

Everyone makes mistakes....and if you talk for a living you'll undoubtedly "misspeak" from time to time.

CNN's Chris Cuomo (the SAME CNN host who once described one of the French “Charlie Hebdo terrorists” as “African-American”), however attended Law School AND makes his living as a TV Commentator, so you'd expect him to have at least a cursory understanding AND a broad support for the 1st Amendment...BUT apparently that's NOT the case, at least not for those who disagree with the views of Chris Cuomo.

In the wake of the unprovoked jihadist attack in Garland, Texas, Chris Cuomo tweeted out, “Read the 1st Amendment, hate speech is excluded from protection.”

Funny story, the 1st Amendment DOES NOT mention “hate speech,” moreover, “hate speech,” insulting speech and deliberately offensive speech are ALL protected by that 1st Amendment.

Worse yet, his petulant “clarification” actually amplified his error; For last time (today), I didn't mean the language of 1A, I meant the case law. And hate speech has been protected except for fighting words.

FIRST, that’s NOT a retraction, which is required in this case, because what he initially said was unfounded and in error. SECOND, “fighting words” and “hate speech” are two different things, actually “fighting words” can be considered a very small and narrowly defined sub-strata of “hate speech.”

In 1949 the Supreme Court created the “hate speech doctrine” with the Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire decision, when it ruled;
“There are certain well-defined and narrowly limited classes of speech, the prevention and punishment of which have never been thought to raise any constitutional problem. These include the lewd and obscene, the profane, the libelous, and the insulting or "fighting words" those that by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace. It has been well observed that such utterances are no essential part of any exposition of ideas, and are of such slight social value as a step to truth that any benefit that may be derived from them is clearly outweighed by the social interest in order and morality.

That very doctrine is incredibly flawed. We DO NOT outlaw insulting speech, or "obscene," or "lewd" speech...those leave far too much to interpretation. The majority of Americans (I believe something like 82% of Americans oppose race/gender-based preferences) are "insulted" by pro-preference speech.

But even THAT doctrine is far from settled, as the ACLU, among other organizations have consistently fought against it. Back in 2007, the ACLU filed a “Friend of the Court” brief on behalf of an Oregon man (William Charles Johnson) who’d been charged under Oregon’s “fighting words” statutes for using his truck’s PA system to shout anti-gay slurs at two women who’d cut him off in their car.

Apparently Chris Cuomo hasn’t kept up with the case law on that very controversial doctrine. It appears we’re all going to get a lesson in how illegal criminalizing political and disagreeable speech really is, as the Wisconsin “John Doe Investigations” into Governor Scott Walker’s relationship with the Club for Growth and other “Right-wing” groups is not only going to be shot down, there will apparently be some very strong and negative repercussions for those who brought those investigations...and their SHOULD BE.

What’s more troubling is the hideous optic that all this media cravenness creates. Chris Cuomo and company expressed little, if any outrage over Andres Seranno’s “Piss Christ,” and Cuomo is allegedly a Roman Catholic. In fact, CNN, like the rest of America’s national media seemed to celebrate Serrano’s work.

Given that, Chris Cuomo and his ilk’s reticence at offending jihadist Muslims appears to be entirely motivated by little more than abject cowardice, otherwise they’d have exhibited a clear-cut consistency on the subject of offending religious observers.

The fact that Cuomo and others reflexively offered no sympathy for the intended victim of this very effectively thwarted terror attack is even more troubling, as that too smacks of a deep and abiding moral cowardice.

The fact that Cuomo and many of his national media brethren continue to assail Pam Geller as an “anti-Muslim bigot,” is also quizzical, considering that Ms. Geller has made abundantly clear that her ONLY opposition is to “jihadist Muslims.” Jihadist Muslims are those devoted to imposing Sharia Law (“political Islam”) on the rest of the world. THAT is NOT an opposition to or bigotry toward Islam (the religion), it is an opposition to a nefarious political ideology that stemmed from a perversion of that religion, called “Jihadism” or “political Islam.”

So, is Cuomo and his ilk so utterly ignorant on that issue, or is it that they actually sympathize with its anti-American and anti-Western agenda?

It would appear that it’s the former, as he seems blissfully unaware of the FACT that many Arab-Muslims stand with pam Geller’s anti-Sharia, anti-Jihadist movement, including Ayaan Hirsi Ali (a Somali-born American activist, writer, and politician. She is known for her views critical of female genital mutilation, political Islam and supportive of women's rights), Irshad Manji (a Canadian author, educator at New York University, and advocate of a "reformist" interpretation of Islam) and Brigitte Gabriel (an American author and activist who teaches that political Islam keeps countries backward, and that it teaches terrorism.

Given that, WHY are Chris Cuomo and others who are so obviously ignorant and misinformed on the issue commenting on it for a living?

Yeah, I know, he comments on 1st Amendment law, apparently without knowing much about that, either.

Kind of goes to the sad state of America’s media, doesn’t it?

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