Former right wing blowhard Ed Schultz–who actually is still an authoritarian blowhard– used his show on Friday to call for a decency law to regulate political speech over the airwaves. The impetus for all this was some Rush Limbaugh speech he found offensive. He invited Al Sharpton and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee into his echo chamber to concur with him. From Sharpton, we get this dandy of a quote:
People can say whatever they want but not on the air, not on federally regulated airwaves and not when those licenses are very difficult to get and they should be upholding a standard that they mock; they mock the licenses of this government gives rather than acknowledge it is a privilege to express yourself to the american public.
Sheila Jackson Lee gave the impression that it should be a crime to insult politicians over the airwaves, particularly politicians like Nancy Pelosi, who apparently should be immune from public criticism because she was the first female house majority leader.
As pointed out in the first installment of this series, there are plenty of Democrats who apparently have issues with the 1st Amendment. Now we can chalk up more Democrats to the scoreboard.
Similar to this previous post that addressed a former TSA’s justification of body scanners on the grounds that travel is a privilege granted by the State, I would likewise here take exception to Sharpton’s remarks that imply political speech is another privilege granted by the government. Free speech is not “free” when it is only confined to your basement. To those who appeal to licensing privileges to justify “regulation,” I would suggest an alternative resolution to this apparent dilemma: abolish the licensing privileges. And another suggestion: if Limbaugh is on the dial, change the station.