EDITORIAL: Liberal censorship in guise of fighting ‘hate crimes’

Congressional Democrats want to study how to silence conservatives

Question of the Day

Should Congress make English the official language of the U.S.?

View results

Ronald Reagan reminded us of the need to always fight for, protect and defend our freedoms, because freedom is never “more than one generation away from extinction.” Liberty is not the sort of thing lost all at once; it disappears bit by bit through proposals like those recently advanced by Sen. Edward J. Markey, Massachusetts Democrat, and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, New York Democrat.

They propose to have the National Telecommunications and Information Administration watch television, listen to radio and surf the Internet on a scavenger hunt for speech that they say encourages “hate crimes.”

The Hate Crime Reporting Act of 2014 represents the latest effort to deputize the federal government as the online speech police. “It is important,” says Mr. Jeffries, “to comprehensively evaluate the scope of criminal and hateful activity on the Internet that occurs outside of the zone of First Amendment protection.”

What type of speech goes beyond the reach of the First Amendment? There is no doubt the Internet has its dark corners. The same freedom that allows us to explore new ideas, criticize our government and post cat pictures also serves as a platform for misguided individuals to spew invective and racism. It’s an unfortunate byproduct of liberty.

What the congressional Democrats are targeting, however, isn’t virtual Ku Klux Klan rallies. The left slaps the “hate speech” label on just about anything with which it disagrees. They aim to shut down conservative voices.

The National Organization for Women has repeatedly accused popular talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh of promoting hate speech. Feminists have demanded that the Federal Communications Commission pull the licenses of the radio stations airing his nationally syndicated program. “It’s time for the public to take back our broadcast resources,” wrote Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan and Gloria Steinem in a joint op-ed essay for CNN. “Limbaugh has had decades to fix his show. Now it’s up to us.”

While Mr. Markey’s legislation only creates a study of the issue, the idea behind it is to empower the government to determine what speech is acceptable and to “fix” the speech that is objectionable. Many leftists, as we have seen, have a liberal interpretation of what’s objectionable.

Special-interest groups, from the recording industry to Las Vegas casinos, have all pushed their own legislation to regulate the Internet to gain a market advantage for their products and services. Most, thankfully, have been defeated.

The freedom to express our thoughts and ideas on the Internet is far too valuable to let go without a fight. Mr. Markey’s bill isn’t likely to go anywhere this session, but it shows the precarious state of our First Amendment freedoms that he introduced it in the first place.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
TWT Video Picks
You Might Also Like
  • Maureen McDonnell looks on as her husband, former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, made a statement on Tuesday after the couple was indicted on corruption charges. (associated press)

    PRUDEN: Where have the big-time grifters gone?

  • This photo taken Jan. 9, 2014,  shows New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gesturing as he answers a question during a news conference  at the Statehouse in Trenton.  Christie will propose extending the public school calendar and lengthening the school day in a speech he hopes will help him rebound from an apparent political payback scheme orchestrated by key aides. The early front-runner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination will make a case Tuesday Jan. 14, 2014, that children who spend more time in school graduate better prepared academically, according to excerpts of his State of the State address obtained by The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

    BRUCE: Bombastic arrogance or humble determination? Chris Christie’s choice

  • ** FILE ** Secretary of State Hillary Rodham testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the deadly September attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador J. Chris Stevens and three other Americans. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

    PRUDEN: The question to haunt the West

  • Get Breaking Alerts