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Just for fun

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Senior Contributor

Re: Just for fun

You are either for free speech or against it.




With perfect predictability, a top Democratic member of Congress responded to the tragic shootings in Tucson, Ariz., by proposing dramatic restrictions on free speech.

Speaking on National Public Radio on Monday, U.S. Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., the third-ranking Democrat in the House, blamed the shooting on irresponsible political discourse.

"I think that those of us who are armed with the gift of gab are responsible for what we say and how we say it. And when people hear things and feel that they can make a martyr out of themselves because of the discourse around the political arena, they sometimes react with ways that are socially unacceptable. But that does not absolve us."


His solution? Why, silencing the opposition, of course. He explained that violent rhetoric wasn't to blame for the violence in the 1960s because of federal regulations. Noting that the state has the authority to impose some limits on speech, Clyburn said we need more regulations now to prevent people from saying inflammatory things.

"We had restraint on speech back then. I came up in a time that the Fairness Doctrine did not allow media outlets to say things about a candidate or a person in public office without giving that person equal time to respond."

So the Fairness Doctrine would prevent shootings of politicians by mentally ill people? Sure. What it would actually do is shut down AM talk radio because no one would be allowed to criticize a politician on the air without giving the politician equal time.

Democrats tend to watch CNN instead of FOX News. Yesterday, CNN led a news story on political rhetoric and the Tucson shooting with this fact: "There's no evidence the heated political environment played any role in the shooting spree that left Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in critical condition and killed six others . . . "

But that isn't stopping the left from blaming the shooting on the right's political rhetoric and using the tragedy to try to silence their political opponents' speech. It's the Rahm Emanuel Doctrine in practice once again: Never let a crisis (or tragedy) go to waste.