A neo-Nazi group more than four decades ago announced plans to march in full Nazi regalia through the Chicago suburb of Skokie, home to the largest concentration of Holocaust survivors outside of Israel. I was outraged when the ACLU and other liberal organizations defended the march on First Amendment grounds, particularly since the lawyer representing the civil rights group was Jewish. I remember his argument well: The real test of free speech is permitting the expression of even the most reprehensible positions and ideas.
Legal challenges forced the march to be held in Chicago, but it proved to be one of America’s finest moments. The less than two dozen Nazis who showed up to march were drowned out by an estimated 2,000 counter protesters. The march lasted all of 10 minutes but served as a wake-up call to American Jewry that antisemitism was still very much alive in America.
The current unrest in America has made me appreciate the precariousness of free speech and the wisdom of the ACLU’s controversial position. Posting blog posts these days is a frightening experience, as I wonder if my disdain for the media and Twitter will cause the mob to come after me. My natural instinct is to keep my head down, but I’m inspired to keep speaking out by people like William Hawkins of Georgia, who posted this comment on a National Review feature about Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton’s recent experience with the New York Times. (the National Review bills itself as a “conservative” publication):
For years I have been learning slowly and now quickly to absolutely hate the press in most of the forms that we know it. I do not enjoy despising but the sickly stupidity and aggressive propagandizing are wearing me down. I’m a reformed Democrat and the stance of almost everything I see here at National Review strikes me as liberal in the sense I once took for granted.
There’s nothing controversial about the ACLU’s stands these days. The organization advocates popular issues like Black Lives Matter, Women’s Rights, and Prisoner’s Rights and a host of other causes championed by the New York Times. There’s no concern about First Amendment protections for people whose jobs are threatened for not adhering 100 percent to the dictates of these movements.
People like New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who is facing calls to retire for saying, “I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America.” Brees and his wife have done considerable self-flagellation renouncing the belief since, which only exacerbated the mob attacks. As NR’s Kyle Smith noted, capitulating to mobs demanding your execution is a surefire way to professional destruction.
Brees, who recently donated five million dollars to Louisiana for Covid-19 relief, last year delivered a record-setting performance. Yet former NFL stars and others have called NFL teams to hire Colin Kaepernick, who was benched years ago because of his penchant for throwing interceptions and racking up one of the worst accuracy records. A player’s political beliefs, rather than performance, are now deemed more critical to play football.
The ACLU so far has expressed no concern for University of Chicago professor Harald Uhlig who supports Black Lives Matter but tweeted the movement “just torpedoed itself” by supporting “defund the police.” The cancel crowd, co-lead by New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, want Uhlig fired as editor of the prestigious Journal of Political Economy. Notably, the media is running stories saying defunding the police doesn’t “really mean defund the police.” Someone forgot to tell Uhlig.
The media enjoys the enormous protections it does because it’s supposed to be a champion of free speech and a guardian against those who threaten it. But the media is responsible for the conformist thought reign of terror and celebrating elected officials who denigrate America with lies.
One of those officials is Minneapolis Congresswoman Ilan Omar, who last year told a group of Minneapolis high school students about the time she encountered a “sweet, old…African American lady” who had been arrested for stealing a $2 loaf of bread to feed her “starving 5-year-old granddaughter.” Omar recalled that after seeing the women escorted into the courtroom and fined $80, the legislator lost control and shouted, “bullshit.”
Great story, save for one thing. It likely never happened. Minneapolis police don’t arrest shoplifters unless violence is involved. Further undermining Omar’s credibility were her repeated denials she was having an affair with her political consultant. She married him in March. Despite her credibility issues and her avowed antisemitism, the New York Times was delighted to provide her with a forum to declare, “the nation’s ideals are under attack, and it’s up to all of us to defend them.” Yet the opinions of a decorated officer and Harvard-educated Senator aren’t welcomed in the Times’ opinion pages.
Media reports celebrating Seattle’s autonomous zone anarchists are another example of their dishonesty. The National Review has done an excellent job detailing the biases of the Times and Washington Post and how they downplayed reports about crime. But even NR overlooked a critical fact.
If you look at the photos of the occupied territory, you’ll see there are no homeless persons. Homelessness is so pervasive in Seattle that even its liberal denizens recently admitted to a local television reporter they are ashamed and embarrassed about their city. Yet Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan is celebrated in the media as a progressive because of her defiance of Trump.
Here’s the segment aired by a local television station in March. If you can’t watch in its entirety, you’ll get the gist in the first few minutes how conditions in parts of Seattle are what you’d expect in a Third World country.
The media and their entertainment enablers also look to incite fear with unfounded speculation. An example this week is Daily Show host Trevor Noah asking Joe Biden about the possibility that Trump won’t vacate the White House if defeated. With the exception of his daughter and possibly his son-in-law, Trump has few loyalists and he couldn’t continue running the country by himself on Twitter. People closest to Trump are so disloyal they leak highly damaging information about him hoping to bring him down. Yet Biden legitimized the question saying he’s given considerable thought about the possibility, adding his “single greatest concern” is Trump is going to “try and steal this election.”
Then there’s the Trump Russian collusion conspiracy the media peddled for several years that’s been revealed not to be true.
What’s most frightening about the current thought reign of terror is there aren’t consistent rules or standards for the mob’s outrage. Social media influencers are posting images of themselves in blackface. But talk show host Jimmy Fallon, who the media won’t forgive for his kid gloves treatment of Trump when he ran for election, recently faced calls to resign after a Saturday Night Live skit from 20 years ago surfaced of him wearing blackface.
Comedian Sarah Silverman was given a career pass when it surfaced she once wore blackface. The same Sarah Silverman who’s made films for Disney, one of the companies who pulled their advertising from Tucker Carlson’s show because he’s had a more critical take about the recent unrest. Disney owns ABC News, but the company is no champion of free speech.
Funny, with all the talk about renaming military bases with Confederate names, The Walt Disney Company hasn’t yet announced plans to rebrand itself. Walt Disney was widely regarded as a racist and sexist and faced allegations of antisemitism. In today’s climate, allegations are the same as facts.