ABC News reports:

    In a conservative radio interview that aired in Washington, D.C. Friday morning, Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin said she fears her First Amendment rights may be threatened by “attacks” from reporters who suggest she is engaging in a negative campaign against Barack Obama.Palin told WMAL-AM that her criticism of Obama’s associations, like those with 1960s radical Bill Ayers and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, should not be considered negative attacks. Rather, for reporters or columnists to suggest that it is going negative may constitute an attack that threatens a candidate’s free speech rights under the Constitution, Palin said.”If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations,” Palin told host Chris Plante, “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.”

Salon’s Glenn Greenwald explains why this argument is frighteningly wrong:

So Dumb It Hurts

    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 here 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. The First Amendment was meant to ensure that powerful political officials would not be “attacked” in the papers. It is even possible to imagine more breathaking ignorance from someone holding high office and running for even higher office?

Source: HP

A few readers comments from the WSJ

The real question is – is Sarah Palin being dumb – or as with this socialist argument against Obama – simply trying to manipulate the audience?

If you notice Palin won’t actually say Obama is a socialist – just that Joe the plumber said that he thought it sounded like socialism – and then by the way – we find that Joe Plumber didn’t say anything about socialism to Obama’s face – that was said in an interview with Fox News Laura Ingraham.

If she repeats this 1st Amendment line – we will know that it is being exploited – if she never mentions it again this will confirm our suspicions that she is dumb-da-dumb-dumb dumb!!

    That is the dumbest statement I have ever heard a politician make about the First Amendment. The First Amendment protects the right of private citizens — including the press — to speak freely, without government interference. That right is strongest when exercised in relation to public figures like Palin.
    * * *
    If she is upset, she needs to win over supporters with the strength of her ideas. The fact that she can’t speaks volumes about her credibility and the validity of her ideas.
    * * *
    The fact that she’s now twisting the First Amendment, which essentially protects a “free market for political ideas, shows just how poorly she understands the philosophy of her own party. It’s also just poor taste.

Comment by Falstaff

    Sounds like she can dish it out, but can’t take it. If she wants to express her opinion on the media, why shouldn’t the media be able to express their opinion of what she has said. Isn’t that what First Amendment rights are all about?

Comment by No Sympathy for Sarah

    The point is not Palin’s First Amendment rights; it’s the fact that a lot of what she and McCain have been saying is negative and often false. She can, and does, say whatever she wants about Obama. At the same time, her detractors have the right to call her on the negativity and falsity of her speech. The First Amendment has not been abridged by anyone here. She missed the point entirely.

Comment by Missed the Point

Advertisements