Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Catch of the Day

Adam Serwer deflates Erick Erickson.  Enjoy.

By the way, Serwer also has a good post on silly liberal reactions to Tucson.  Which is fine, but I only mention it because I see that a high-ranking Democrat (in this case Jim Clyburn) has actually come out in favor of reviving the Fairness Doctrine.  Now, Clyburn is third-ranking Democrat in the House, and third-ranking member of the minority party in the House is sort of like being the back-up to the back-up to the Detroit Lions quarterback in January, but still...this is certainly going to help keep anti-FD rhetoric alive and well for years, I'd guess. 

(I'm afraid I tried, and failed, to find some way to work in a reference to the quarterback situation at Lawndale High.  Sorry about that).


  1. Interesting to see Serwer draw a contrast between right wing rhetoric and the proscription against yelling fire in a crowded theater. I was recalling my first encounter with the Constitution, in the waning days of the Cold War, when the caveats to the First Amendment seemed to be regarded with more sanctity then they are today. Perhaps because there was a giant Russkie enemy where speech was suppressed, Americans used to be more aware of, and careful about, the preciousness of our freedoms.

    When far-right-wing apologists claim that Jared Loughner was likely not influenced by Sarah Palin's gunsite graphic, they are surely correct. Neither that graphic nor any other particular instance of rhetoric is likely to be the straw that broke the camel's back.

    However, the accompanying argument, that the acts of folks like Loughner are the results of privately feverish brains, such that violent rhetoric in general is irrelevant, is as absurd as being sure the massacre was due to Palin's graphic. Words are powerful, thinking follows language (it doesn't precede it), and so what people hear is surely more important than what they think in their (feverish) brains.

    In summary, I think folks in general, and extreme rightwing apologists in this particular case, are way too blase about the limits of the First Amendment. Serwer might be wrong about one thing: a person very well might get away with yelling fire in a crowded theater in 21st century America, as long as they found a lawyer, and Fox News, to show that the resulting fatal stampede was started by someone who mistakenly thought they smelled smoke. These days, that's probably good enough.

  2. "the quarterback situation at Lawndale High"

    I tried to Google it. What IS the quarterback situation? Is there a link to a good news story you (or a commenter) could provide? Thanks!


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