Freedom Of Speech

2478 words - 10 pages

Freedom of Speech, Hate Speech, & Talk Radio
Brice Hinchman

Freedom of Speech, Hate Speech, & Talk Radio

What is Freedom of speech? Well, the definition for freedom of speech is the ability to speak freely without being subject to censorship or without fear of retaliation from a governing body. There are at least two documents, the US Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that acknowledge that free speech is an unalienable right and protect it for all. There is another form of speech that may or may not be protected, depending on the circumstances, under the same documents and that is hate speech. Some of the limitations that are put in place by Government, ...view middle of the document...

But these changes were to protect the individual rights and the safety of others. To be specific in my claim, the speech that causes undo harm or potential panic that may cause harm is where the freedom of speech is no longer acceptable. Yelling such phrases as “Fire” in a crowded theater, where there is no fire, will cause panic. When the panic erupts, it is very likely that someone will get hurt as they stampede to the door. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes was reading the decision for the unanimous Supreme Court ruling for the Schenck v. United States in 1919 stated the following:
“The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent. It is a question of proximity and degree” (Moyers, UNC TV)

So we have to ask ourselves, is talk radio Hate speech? Well Patricia Williams,
a columnist for “The Nation” seems to think so. “The Nation” is a self proclaimed political left wing champion publication. So it does not surprise me to hear that Williams thinks that the right wing conservative talk radio shows like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, or the countless others are “putting nothing less than hate onto the airwaves, into the marketplace, electing it to office, teaching it in schools, and exalting it as freedom” (Choices, 236). The plain and simple truth is Williams has an agenda of her own that she has to push. Under the freedom of speech, she is allowed to voice those opinions. Well this raises some interesting ideas. Are the political view talk shows, both left and right wing, going too far in their free speech, is it really considered hate speech, and is it creating an injustice or inequality for one side or the other?
Well hate speech is defined by Dictionary.com as “speech that attacks a person or group on the basis of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.” Well by this definition, the idea that Williams is suggesting that these political talk shows are nothing but hate speech is wrong. If you spend any amount of time listening or paying attention, the attacks that most of these talk shows do are based on perceived ignorance or political ideology, and not on any of the defined terms of what hate speech is about. Her many attempts to connect the conservative radio shows with attacking people based on race
and gender are just her way of trying to push an her political agenda.
It appears that the perceived media bias and the radio icons create a social divide on many issues, with politics being a major player. Well the Right wing has found their successful medium to discuss the hot topics and that has made the left wing mad. They consider the successfulness of the right wing conservatives an injustice. Most left wing radio talk shows are a financial failure or a flop and there is a good reason for this. When looking at the business aspect, the majority plays a...

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