Sunday, February 20, 2011
Demotivational Poster: Anti-Free Press
"Because every day, this elected leader [Hugo Chavez] is called a dictator here [in America], and we just accept it! And accept it. And this is mainstream media, who should – truly, there should be a bar by which one goes to prison for these kinds of lies." – Sean Penn
“What do you mean ’knowing there are jailed journalists’? I think there should be more jailed journalists!” – Ann Coulter
About a year ago, actor Sean Penn—who often compared Bush to a dictator, accusing him of the “deconstruction of civil liberties” and “dangerously heightened presidential autonomy”—suggested that American journalists be jailed if they call Hugo Chavez a dictator. (Yes, wherever did they get the idea that Hugo Chavez was a dictator? Would a dictator jail political dissidents and journalists, violate human rights, and abolish presidential term limits, making him president for life?)
As could be expected, conservatives were infuriated (and rightfully so!) that Penn would suggest such a thing. But wasn’t it ironic that conservatives wildly applauded Ann Coulter for making a similar remark? When asked whether it was more important to remain allies with Israel or recognize that there are jailed dissidents and journalists, Coulter replied that there should be more jailed journalists.
Now I happen to be a longtime fan of Miss Coulter, though I disagree with half the things she says and stands for. This is one of those things. For there is no constitutional right more vital than freedom of speech and of the press. If the government has the power to silence people who criticize it, it has the power to get away with anything. After all, who’s going to tell them to stop?
How ironic is it that Ann Coulter and Sean Penn, who are on opposing sides of the political spectrum—one far-left, the other far-right, share the same disdain for freedom of the press? It only proves that both sides approve of free speech, provided it’s there own. Everyone else should be jailed!