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.”
Snicker. Only one problem there Sarah … you obviously don’t know what the First Amendment says. Here, let me quote it for you:
“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.“
See that? CONGRESS SHALL MAKE NO LAW … ABRIDGING THE FREEDOM OF SPEECH, OR OF THE PRESS. It does not say “I have the right to attack my opponent without being criticized in return”, or “The press shall not have the right to criticize an idiot who thinks she’s ready to run the country.”
You have the right to say whatever you want as long as it is not libelous or slanderous. You have been toeing that line awfully close, and personally, I think you’ve crossed it a few times, but it is an election, and a little more leeway maybe should be allowed.
However, we the people, the bloggers, and the press, have the right to criticize you, to mock you, and to laugh at you, and to attack you and your policies right back. The beautiful thing about the First Amendment is that it’s a two-way street.
And guess what … thanks to New York Times Co. v. L.B. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964), since you are now a public figure, the actual malice standard, which requires that the plaintiff in a defamation or libel case prove that the publisher of the statement in question knew that the statement was false or acted in reckless disregard of its truth or falsity, comes into play.
The irony? If you’re actually elected, there are several million of us “fake” Americans who fear for our own First Amendment rights … so if you want this job, then you better be prepared to put up with the crap that comes with it.
Now, I’d like for you to shut-up and go away, but I can’t force you to do so. What I can do is to continue to tear apart everything you say to expose and ridicule your naiveté and ignorance.