The best vacations leave you feeling renewed and invigorated, ready to take on the world.
You expend a week on the shore somewhere or at Disneyland or at home binging Netflix and return to work impression freshly energized and inspired.
You know what I’m talking about? Laura Ingraham sure does.
After taking a “pre-planned” Easter vacation( which just so happened to coincide with advertisers falling her show after she taunted Parkland survivor David Hogg ), Ingraham returned to Fox News on April 9 to deliver a sizzle rant about how conservatives are being persecuted and shut down in America.
Ingraham’s return to the air included a pledge to “protect” the First Amendment.
Upon her return, Ingraham revealed that her prove would feature a new segment. It’s called “Defending the First, ” and according to ABC News, Ingraham has promised that she’ll “expose the foes of the First Amendment, of free expression, and every believe while showcasing those brave voices making a difference.”
Ingraham followed this up with an impassioned plea for anyone who’s been the subject of First Amendment violations to call on her for aid: “If you have been subjected to menaces or intimidation because of your speech, I want to know about it, ” she said. “Tweet me, because without free speech and a free conscience, we are not genuinely a free people.”
Is a boycott truly a violation of the First Amendment though?
In her speech, Ingraham referred to herself as a “victim” of a boycott. The reality, though, is a little different. Ingraham’s speech was not curtailed by the governmental forces , which is what the First Amendment is about.
Whenever this subject is brought up, I think of this XKCD comic, which is a nice reminder of which rights the First Amendment protects.( Hint: It’s not the right to a TV present .)
Let’s break it down farther :
Had Ingraham been arrested, thrown in jail, or otherwise detained by agents of the government, then yes, she would absolutely have a phase.
As the comic perfectly explains, however, as much as Ingraham may like to think of herself as a victim, freedom of speech doesn’t protect you from the consequences of the things you say. Nor can it force anyone to listen to you if what you’ve said isn’t to their liking.
So if you malign the survivor of a mass shooting for not get into a college and advertisers decide that’s not where they want to put their money, their repudiation isn’t curtailing any civil liberties.
Boycotting is a legal and time-honored tradition of voting with one’s money.
While Ingraham paints boycotting as something merely “liberals” do, we must remember that conservatives are not new to cutting off business they do not agree with.
In 2017, conservatives boycotted Keurig( in the strangest style) when it stopped advertising on Sean Hannity’s show. They also boycotted Nordstrom after it dropped Ivanka Trump’s line. When Target announced a move to be more inclusive of the trans community in 2016, a boycott reportedly resulted the chain to lose millions of dollars.
President Donald Trump is no stranger to calling for boycotts either. While campaigning in 2015, he suggested Starbucks should be boycotted for not putting “Merry Christmas” on their cups. And in 2017, he called for NFL fans to walk out of games if players kneeled during the national anthem and said that protesting players should be fired.
Will Ingraham be championing those that have been hurt by these boycotts as well?
Let’s not forget that Ingraham was stimulating these points on her nationally broadcast talk show.
The idea that she’s a victim feels a little hollow when you realise Ingraham’s speaking from a national pulpit and earning millions of dollars while demanding compassion and righteous indignation from her legions of supporters — supporters she is allowed to speak at on a regular basis without anxiety of repercussions even as she refers to those who oppose her as “Stalinist.”( FYI: Stalin would have never stood for this kind of free-wheeling invective on public media .)
You may recollect the time Ingraham was accused of doing the Nazi salute, accused Hillary Clinton of doing the same thing in reprisal, and then still aimed up with her own show instead of being prosecuted? Sounds a lot like free speech to me.
The First Amendment affords us all the right to speak out.
Defending the First Amendment builds perfect sense, but as XKCD so brilliantly points out, we owe it to ourselves and each other to understand what we’re defending first.
Ingraham’s talking phases will surely riles up her fanbase. But her rhetoric — that any criticism of conservatives is tantamount to First Amendment violation — is disingenuous and divisive.
The First Amendment protects Ingraham’s right to say what she wants. It doesn’t mean anyone has to listen.
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