NPR ombudsman: Constitution should not protect speech that insults ‘prophets and gods’

Charlie Hebdo die on my feet I’ve met some really nice people over the years who love NPR. Most of them are fairly intelligent as well. However, the peculiar thing about these individuals is that, despite their intelligence, they have a propensity to say frighteningly stupid things. On Feb. 6,  NPR’s outgoing Ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos was able to provide the perfect example.

Mr. Schumacher-Matos wrote in his final column:

I am not Charlie.

The French news media may have their ethical standards, but they are not American or sacred universal ones, and they shouldn’t be French ones either. The United States has never had absolute freedom of the press. And the framers of the Constitution—I once held the James Madison Visiting Professor Chair on First Amendment Issues at Columbia University—never intended it to. You wouldn’t know this, however, from listening to the First Amendment fundamentalists piping up from Washington to Silicon Valley.

In this case, the competing social and constitutional demand is the control of hate speech in the interests of social cohesion, without which the very idea of a nation is impossible. …

I do not know if American courts would find much of what Charlie Hebdo does to be hate speech unprotected by the Constitution, but I know—hope?—that most Americans would. It is one thing to lampoon popes, imams, rabbis and other temporal religious leaders of this world; it is quite another to make fun, in often nasty ways, of their prophets and gods. The NPR editors were right not to reprint any of the images.

There you have it: a smart man who is completely unaware of all the frighteningly stupid ideas he’s putting out into the world.

It would be rather bizarre if journalists started publishing nuclear launch codes and the identities of CIA agents in foreign countries, all while operating under the assumption that they could do so with impunity. If one were going to use terms like “First Amendment fundamentalists” to describe “free speech radicals,” then perhaps defenders of such journalists would qualify for membership. However, to use “First Amendment fundamentalist” as a pejorative to describe Charlie Hebdo’s American advocates is absurd.

Charlie Hebdo has said all sorts of “nasty” things about Christians. As a Catholic man, I find the publication’s illustrations of Jesus to be downright revolting — but I will defend their right to publish such pictures until my last breath. The fact that an NPR Ombudsman could ever publish a column in which he advocates giving religious radicals veto power over the content journalists provide their readers only shows how warped our culture has become.

There is no “constitutional demand” to control “hate speech.” There is only the desire among society’s self-proclaimed cultured class to control the actions of the rest of us.

“Hate speech” laws do not act as a salve for the red hot fissures that often occur between disparate groups in a country like The United States of America — they are in fact accelerants. Such laws infuse words with unwarranted power and give every group’s grievance mongers a reason to seek their own list of off-limits speech.

Speaking of off-limits, NPR closed down the comments section on Mr. Schumacher-Matos’ op-ed. Telling, isn’t it?

In the fight for Western Civilization’s soul, the mindset cultivated by men like Mr. Schumacher-Matos is a loser.

NPR closed commentsRelated: Papers go into censorship mode over Paris terror attack; free speech heroes hang up their capes

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Obama admin. continues to deny that Islamic terrorists are Islamic; taqiyya practitioners rejoice

Josh EarnestPresident Obama said in September, 2014 that the Islamic State group was not Islamic, so on some level it should come as no surprise that his administration would deny the Islamic nature of the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack in Paris. However, it is still worth chronicling for all the world to see.

The Washington Times reported Tuesday:

The White House tried to explain Tuesday why it has refused to use the term “radical Islam” in describing the Islamist terrorists responsible for last week’s Paris attacks and other acts of violence across the globe.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the administration doesn’t want to legitimize those terrorists or the “warped” view of Islam they hold. Also, Mr. Earnest said, the phrase “radical Islam” simply is not an accurate way to describe the enemies of the U.S., France and other nations across the globe.

“I certainly wouldn’t want to be in a position where I’m repeating the justification they have cited that I think is illegitimate. They had invoked Islam to justify their attacks,” he told reporters. “I think what I’m trying to do is to describe to you what happened and what they did. These individuals are terrorists. … We have chosen not to use that label [of radical Islam] because it doesn’t seem to accurately describe what happened.”

Islamic warriors are permitted to use taqiyya (deception) in their war against infidels. Given that, we can reasonably assume that in terrorist cells and radical mosques throughout the world, men and women are listening to Josh Earnest and hysterically laughing.

Imagine a scenario where millions upon millions of Catholics all across the globe cheered on “Confessāre,” a radical organization that crucified non-Catholics and “baptized” its enemies in blood. What are the chances that the Obama administration would refer to such deeds as “radical Catholic terrorism”?

If Mr. Obama did refrain from calling Catholic terrorism by its true name, what are the chances that articles titled “Don’t beat up on Obama for avoiding the ‘C’ word,” would appear like the Los Angeles Times’ “Don’t beat up on Obama for avoiding the ‘I word'” did on Monday? The answer is obvious — and, deep down, even the Los Angeles Times knows that the White House’s Orwellian language games are embarrassing.

Michael McGough wrote Monday:

“When the president does try to parse the relationship between Islam and extremism he can sound silly. In an address to the nation last September, he said the self-described Islamic State wasn’t really Islamic. That prompted one critic to tweet: “I was unaware our president was a theologian with knowledge sufficient to declare that which is, and is not, Islamic. Now I know.”

Perhaps Bill Maher — a man I rarely agree with — said it best last Friday when he responded to Islamic terrorism in Paris: “When there’s this many bad apples, there’s something wrong with the orchard.”

The truth hurts, and in this case Bill Maher has his finger directly upon the pulse of Truth. Unfortunately, Mr. Obama and millions of other Americans would rather lie to themselves instead of forcing 1.6 billion Muslims to have a serious conversation about their bad apple problem.

Obama, Biden, Kerry MIA at France’s anti-terror rallies; Eric Holder — in Paris — skips out on march

France Attacks RallyMillions of people took to the streets of France today in a show of solidarity against terrorism. Roughly 3 million people — “more than the numbers who took to Paris streets when the Allies liberated the city from the Nazis in World War II” — backed over 40 world leaders during the event. The U.S. government, for all intents and purposes, decided not to send a single recognizable person.

There was Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo. There was President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker. There was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, French President Francois Hollande, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

There was Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. There was Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. There was Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and a whole host of other dignitaries.

President Obama was nowhere to be found. Vice President Joseph R. Biden was nowhere to be found. Eric Holder was actually in Paris — but he didn’t attend the rallies. Perhaps he decided to sit in a bathroom stall while the entire city marched in the streets. (The official line was that he was in a “meeting.”)

France Attacks RallyFor the Obama administration, today was just like any other day: Ambassador to France Jane Hartley was asked to roll out of bed, brush her teeth, and meander on over to the march.

The Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks perpetrated by Cherif and Said Kouachi killed 12. On Friday, gunman Amedy Coulibaly killed four more at a kosher supermarket. All three men died in shootouts with authorities, but Coulibaly’s common law wife, Hayat Boumeddiene, has fled to Syria.

Given the nature and motivation for the attacks — and their links to the Islamic State group — it is embarrassing that a.) the Obama administration didn’t arrange to get U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry out of India in time for the Paris march, and b.) that zero Democrats or Republicans in Congress took part.

The Islamic State group has made it abundantly clear that it plans to attack on U.S. soil. When that happens, it will be a telling sign if the only representatives who meet with our elected officials in the aftermath are no-name career bureaucrats already shuffling around embassies in the nation’s capital.

Papers go into censorship mode over Paris terror attack; free speech heroes hang up their capes

Charlie HebdoThere are countless angles one can cover when they’re writing on the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack that left 12 people dead, including the paper’s editor. The instinct is to focus in on the attackers, but in this case the real story is that the so-called defenders of free speech are in many cases hanging up their capes. They’re like Superman, if Superman saw a house on fire and said, “There might be Kryptonite in there. I can’t take that chance. Hopefully the fire will go out on its own.”

Buzzfeed reported Wednesday:

[T]he New York Times explained their decision not to show the images in an email from a spokesperson: “Under Times standards, we do not normally publish images or other material deliberately intended to offend religious sensibilities. After careful consideration, Times editors decided that describing the cartoons in question would give readers sufficient information to understand today’s story.”

Other outlets made more subtle choices to censor the images, with some using cropped photos that do not include the actual image of Muhammad. Three images of Charb were released on the Associated Press wire after the shooting, and none of them included a photo of the cover itself.

AP spokesman Paul Colford told BuzzFeed News, “You’re correct: None of the images distributed by AP showed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. It’s been our policy for years that we refrain from moving deliberately provocative images.”

Was that a policy that was in place for “years” or “minutes”? Gawker reported that AP was willing to sell images of the infamous “Piss Christ” up until …. yesterday afternoon.

AP PCAsk yourself this question: Why was a piece of “art” that portrayed Jesus submerged in a jar of urine okay for The Associated Press to sell, but an uncensored picture from Charlie Hebdo is not?

Charlie Hebdo die on my feetPerhaps it has something to do with the fact that newspaper editors are not afraid Catholics will behead them when angered.

Free speech has taken a beating in the last few months. First there was Sony Pictures Entertainment, which had to be dragged kicking and screaming to do the right thing after it was hacked by the “Guardians of Peace,” and now major news outlets are giving credence to idea that content should be censored if it is deemed blasphemous.

Any western newspaper that goes out of its way not to offend the kind of people who would burst into an office shouting “Allahu Akbar!” while armed to the teeth is a newspaper that is not living up to its responsibility to defend free speech. If an individual works at a major newspaper and his mentality is, “Hey, I’m just the guy who manages the Twitter account — I didn’t sign up for defending free speech,” then that is not an individual who should be employed at said major newspaper.

If western media outlets are still clueless as to what they are up against, then they should spend more time listening to the words of Britain’s radical Islamic cleric Anjem Choudary: “If freedom of expression can be sacrificed for criminalising [sic] incitement & hatred, Why not for insulting the Prophet of Allah?”

Anjem ChoudaryLace up your boots and put on your capes, free speech superheroes. You have work to do. It’s embarrassing that such a thing even needs to be said.