Obamabots Throw First Amendment Rights Under-The-Bus

23 Jun

Protecting the constitution is the civic responsibility of all citizens. So why would seemingly pro-democracy Obama supporters try to silence a fellow citizen by blocking his First Amendment rights?

Simple, that citizen intended to say negative and controversial statements about “The One”. Whether you believe in Larry Sinclair’s claims or not, he has the right to say them in a public forum thanks to our good ole Constitution.

Completely disregarding the First Amendment right to free speech, many loyal Obamabots started a campaign to get Larry silenced from the National Press Club.

Here is a copy of an email sent around by firedoglakeaction:

This morning a group of volunteers delivered nearly 11,500 petition signatures to the National Press Club asking them to check the facts of Larry Sinclair’s story before giving him the stage.

But it looks like we need to keep pressure on the National Press Club getting the message yet.

Friday, as news was getting around Washington about our petition, the president of the National Press Club, Sylvia Smith, defended the event to the Politico, saying, “I’m not aware that we’ve ever turned anybody away for content.”

It’s up to us to convince her to do just that.

Please give a call to the National Press Club at 202-662-7500, and politely, but firmly, ask them to deny their stage to someone bent on slandering a public figure.

Their own code of ethics states, “I believe that advertising, news and editorial columns should alike serve the best interests of readers; that a single standard of helpful truth and cleanness should prevail for all; that supreme test of good journalism is the measure of its public service.” (emphasis added)

Sinclair’s lies about sex and drug use don’t even come close to meeting that simple criterion. Hopefully a gentle reminder to review their own code of ethics will be enough to get the National Press Club to cancel the event.

Thank you for taking action,

the Firedoglake Team

P.S. Please be patient when calling, their system isn’t designed to handle too many simultaneous calls, so you might take you a couple tries to get through. 

Who are they to decide what you or I can hear?

A fullscale effort to collect signatures and a phone call campaign against the National Press Club for the sole purpose of shutting down someone’s right to free speech? Really!?  With all the very real issues in the world today, silencing Larry Sinclair was your top priority? Really?!!

The Press Club runs a business renting out its facilities as a conference center in addition to sponsoring its own news events. It’s not in the business of censoring its customers.

According to president of the National Press Club, Sylvia Smith: “In the years I’ve been involved at the club, I do not know of any circumstance under which we denied a potential customer a room based on what they might say,” she said in an interview. “We do rent space to paying customers and we do not censor or ban the content of people who are our customers.”

She added: “The press club is made up of journalists for whom the First Amendment is a very, very important concept, and the idea of making business decisions based on the idea that something that might be controversial is not something I think a lot of us would be comfortable with.”

Today, Ben Smith over at Politico has a followup story  with more quotes from National Press Club, Sylvia Smith.

“I was astounded at the conviction the callers expressed that someone who has something nasty to say should be silenced,” Press Club President Sylvia Smith writes in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette.

She continues:

The underlying message I got from the callers and e-mailers was that the First Amendment and free speech are an impediment to the way they think things ought to be. Or that while some people are free to speak, others should not be.

That way of thinking is a lot scarier than allegations from Larry Sinclair.

Is this the “hope and change” everyone is touting as Obama’s new style politics!?

I’m reminded of the quote attributed to Voltaire: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” 

I think it’s time to remember just how awesome the First Amendement is:

The First Amendment protects individuals’ right to free expression. The First Amendment ensures that individuals have the right to speak, publish, assemble and protest, no matter the content of their speech. In fact, the First Amendment exists precisely to protect the most controversial, hateful or obnoxious speech from government suppression. The First Amendment protects all types of both pure and symbolic speech, including the right to read books, listen to music, watch movies, engage in artistic performances, and wear logos. The guarantees of the First Amendment demonstrate that the best way to counter problematic speech is always with more speech, not less speech.

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