Thursday, March 15, 2007

Freedom of Speech

So we're all aware of Ann Coulter's remarks towards Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards about a week ago. This is old news so I'll get right to the point -- my problem is with this recent "defense" of sorts in Coulter's favor, which argues that petitioning newspapers to cease printing Coulter's column is akin to limiting her freedom of speech; or worse, it's akin to censorship.

How is this so? The 1st amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees freedom from the government limiting a person's speech, yet it says nothing about guaranteeing a forum through which to disseminate that speech. Coulter has no 1st amendment right to have her column printed in a newspaper.

The question that those who are urging newspapers to drop Coulter from their pages are asking of editors is simply this: does Coulter's column provide for the public interest? For a functioning democracy to survive, media has to be relevant, coherent, and potent. Media should be a "4th estate," asking the tough questions to those in a position of power in order to simultaneously provide for an informed populace while serving as a watchdog to the government. I think it's patently obvious to those paying attention to Coulter's career that her columns have never provided anything even resembling these principles.

This is not a censorship issue, and those who believe it is need to retake their high school civics class.

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