Salvato aims to protect 1st Amendment – and misses the mark
Writing for GOPUSA, Frank Salvato has a column up regarding the firing of Don Imus titled You Either Abide By The First Amendment Or You Don’t. His argument is basically that Imus’ comments, as repugnant as they may have been, are protected under the First Amendment. He sees “the larger issues surrounding the Imus matter are: whether his First
Amendment right to free speech has been usurped and whether racial
activism — or any activism for that matter — coupled with political
correctness have grown so out of control that they contravene the
sanctity of our constitutional rights.”
I understand where Salvato is coming from but he misses the basic point about the First Amendment. It’s a restriction on actions that the government can take against a citizen for speaking his mind. It is not a prohibition against other citizens taking legal actions. The action that the marketplace took in calling for Imus’ firing and the subsequent firing by MSNBC and CBS are not violations of the 1st Amendment. They are, in fact, the exercise of the 1st Amendment rights of those very activists and the companies involved. There is no requirement that private citizens must sit still and listen to someone say things they find repulsive and not respond. Salvato misses this and because it’s the base of the issue, his argument as a whole misses the mark.
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