Criticism Doesn't Violate the First Amendment, by David Henderson

September 16, 2017
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Over at Hit and Run, Reason’s blog, Robby Soave, whose work I normally like a lot, laid an egg. His post is titled “The Real Boobs Are People Who Think ESPN Must Fire Jemele Hill.”

You can read his post, which is not long, and figure out all the players.

Here’s the paragraph that was off-key:

Travis, Sanders, and Trump all seem to be making the same mistake: the First Amendment does not require ESPN to be politically neutral, or polite, or even-handed. It protects Hill’s right to call Trump a white supremacist, and also Travis’s right to say “boobs” on television.

Everything after the colon is true. But Robby never makes clear what mistake Clay Travis, a sports radio host, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House Press Secretary, and President Donald Trump are making.

What all three did was criticize ESPN. None of them said, or even hinted, that the First Amendment requires “ESPN to be politically neutral, or polite, or even-handed.”

Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are way too important to get wrong. And both freedoms include the freedom to criticize.

By the way, some of the worst comments in the blogosphere are on the Hit and Run site. But, in this case, a number of the commenters nailed it.

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