The First Amendment

October 31st, 2009

Conservatives are insisting that Obama is crushing the First Amendment by treating Fox News for what it is, namely, a partisan, right-wing propaganda machine. They’re hypocritical idiots, of course.

Back in the real world, things are a bit different. In fact, with a new journalistic shield law, Obama is moving to protect First Amendment rights far more assiduously than Bush ever did–more, in fact, than conservatives would like. But this was never about actual First Amendment rights; it was about abusing journalism and twisting it into a political tool, they trying to hide behind the First Amendment.

Just to get it straight: the First Amendment protects the individual’s right to speak freely, and protects the press from government interference or intimidation. It does not, as Carrie Prejean seems to think, shield you from being criticized when you say something stupid. And it does not mean, as most conservatives seem to think, that you can pretend a propaganda machine is an objective news outfit and be “protected” from others telling the truth. Nor does it mean that you can bully the White House into giving that propaganda machine the same access as actual journalists.

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