Any of us are free to say what we will, without reprisal from our government...sort of. But none of the exceptions...and there are a few...apply here. Hellin Thomas, bigot that she had been, is, and will be has a perfect right to say any damn thing. The Federal government nor the states can legally prevent her, or punish her under the law.
But none of us have a license...a complete freedom from consequence...to say things. Nor does the press. What we say ALWAYS has consequences, and the First Amendment never was intended to suspend cause and effect, just to make one set of effects off-limits to government.
Thomas has a right to her views, and to express those views. She has no right to any particular venue for publishing those views. No newspaper has to hire her or retain her. And no other person has any obligation to listen to her.
Strangely, there are apparently many people around the world...and here...who just do not get this whole "free speech/press" deal. Some are folks that really should know better. (h/t The Corner)
But it's the next bit of the story that concerns me. She was also dumped by her speaking agency, which issued a statement: "In light of recent events, Nine Speakers is no longer able to represent Ms Thomas, nor can we condone her comments on the Middle East."
The agency's president, Diane Nine, later emailed HuffPost to say: "We no longer represent Helen for books or lectures or anything else."
So, in the land of the free, where freedom of speech is guaranteed under the constitution, a person who expresses what are deemed to be controversial views is effectively gagged. Has Ms Nine never heard of Voltaire?Well, I can't speak for Ms. Nine, but my guess is that she knows her Voltaire at least as well as Roy Greenslade. Even I know that Voltaire would not contend that Ms. Nine HAS to represent Thomas, as that would certainly impinge on Ms. Nine's rights. And I very violently disagree that Thomas is "effectively gagged" because a speaker's bureau declines to represent her. I mean, there are several hundred million of us who are "effectively gagged" if that is true.
But Mr. Greenslade makes it clear why he has so much trouble with this simple application of liberty; he hates liberty.
It is one of those rare occasions in which one can see clearly how people in America who are willing to express anti-establishment opinions are demonised, marginalised and finally excluded from public debate.
Did I say "people"? I mean, of course, those who are identified as liberals. Right-wing TV and radio hosts can say what they like, however outrageous. Some iconoclasts are obviously freer than others.See, to the collectivist Greenslade, this is one of those "rights" that are only properly seen through a lens of ideology. He is impelled in pure knee-jerk to put this in a LEFT-RIGHT framework. And Thomas has been an undeservedly honored member of the MSM in America for decades, while many of her colleagues held their noses, knowing her race hate, and protecting the truth FROM the American people.
Ideas have markets, just as do other things in which free people may trade. Hellin Thomas destroyed her own brand all by herself. In the wreckage of that, nobody HAS to give her a megaphone, though someone still may. If Thomas is seen by enough people as having valuable things to say, she will find people to help her transmit them. A quirky little outfit called Al-jazeera comes to mind.
Just by way of reminder, I wanted Thomas to stay right where she was, and to live a long and outspoken life. Nothing would have better served the interest of showing Americans who we are dealing with in the MSM than good OLD Hellin.