Sarah Palin's First Amendment of Convenience

Phil Robertson's Comments Aren't Immune from Accountability


Here we go again. 

I tried. I really resisted the urge to write about the umpteenth time the right wing freaks out when someone exercises their First Amendment rights and the outrage when someone dares call them on their comments.

Phil Robertson, patriarch of the Duck Dynasty family and self described "white trash" was interviewed by GQ Magazine and said some pretty ignorant things regarding homosexuality and the African American experience in the South.  
"It seems like, to me, a vagina — as a man — would be more desirable than a man's anus, that's just me," the reality star said.


"I'm just thinking: There's more there! She's got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I'm saying? But hey, sin: It's not logical, my man. It's just not logical."


"Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there," he explained when asked by GQ's Drew Magary what exactly he considered sinful, "bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men."

A&E, the network that airs their show and probably makes a pretty penny doing so, suspended Robertson for the comments

Almost immediately, the hair on fire right wingers claimed a violation of freedom of speech and religious persecution. [Insert eye roll here.] Even a few of my Facebook friends, some of whom are gay, didn't see it as such a big deal and joined in a chorus of censorship. [Insert forehead slap here.]

In swoops MENSA member Sarah Palin with a tweet/Facebook status:
Free speech is an endangered species. Those “intolerants” hatin’ and taking on the Duck Dynasty patriarch for voicing his personal opinion are taking on all of us.
[Insert forehead smash into keyboard here.] Is "intolerants" a word now? No Pea Brain, it's not "taking on all of us." It's taking on the person making a public statement under their employ and the consequences those comments can have on their company.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (remember him?) weighed in with these pearls of wisdom:


"'I remember when TV networks believed in the First Amendment. It is a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended,' said Jindal in a prepared statement sent through email and Twitter this morning.

...

'The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with. I don't agree with quite a bit of stuff I read in magazine interviews or see on TV. In fact, come to think of it, I find a good bit of it offensive. But I also acknowledge that this is a free country and everyone is entitled to express their views,' said Jindal.

When TV networks believed in the First Amendment? Well, except for the FCC and censorship rules. And yes, Scooter, everyone is entitled to express their views. That doesn't make everyone immune from the consequences of what they espouse. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from criticism or accountability.  And if you're so hot to defend everyone's viewpoints, please show me your quotes in defense of Martin Bashir after he was suspended and resigned for the suggestions he made in regards to Sarah Palin. In fact, Palin should have been the first person to defend Bashir's right to free speech, right?


It was refreshing to see though, that many in the media did come out and say, ‘Look our standards have got to be higher than this,’” Palin said. “Those with that platform, with a microphone, a camera in their face, they have to have some more responsibility taken.”

Oh. Never mind. 

How many times must we go over this? The First Amendment states: "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."

It was written to protect the ordinary citizen from government censorship. Robertson stated his opinions and beliefs which is his right, but his employer, a private entity, decided it was not in their best interests. They have the RIGHT to do what they think is necessary to mitigate the blowback. This is different than the government stifling free speech, which is what the First Amendment is all about. But why is it that politicians, the very people that run government and should know the Constitution, consistently get this so wrong? That's rhetorical question of course. 

Everybody happy, happy, happy?

One more thing: If you ever find yourself in AGREEMENT with Sarah Palin, I can pretty much guarantee you that you're on the wrong side of the argument. 

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