Embassy Attacks

'When Censorship Makes Sense,' and Other Journalistic Responses to Hecklers Trying to Veto a YouTube Film Trailer

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Can't imagine this happening in America, can you?

We have previously noted in this space the alarmingly restrictive free-speech concepts recently expressed by former Joint Chiefs of Staff employee Sarah Chayes, University of Pennsylvania Assistant Religious Studies Professor Anthea Butler, and a host of other government/media types. Let's catch up on some other commentary:

Tim Wu, The New Republic, "When Censorship Makes Sense: How YouTube Should Police Hate Speech":

A better course would be to try to create a process that relies on a community, either of regional experts or the serious users of YouTube. Community members would (as they do now) flag dangerous or illegal videos for deletion. Google would decide the easy cases itself, and turn the hard cases over to the community, which would aim for a rough consensus. Such a system would be an early-warning signal that might have prevented riots in the first place.

Steven Kurlander, Hernando Today, "Time to reset boundaries of free speech":

Given the known consequences, it's time to ban garbage that mocks the God of a billion people and purposefully incites the worst religious passions. It's time the Supreme Court reconsidered whether such fiery speech should indeed be protected.

Thomas Garrett, The Baxter Bulletin, "'Movie' makers responsible for outrage, deaths":

As freedom of speech goes, Klein and Nakoula have done the equivalent of shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theater to create panic, which actually is not constitutionally protected as free speech. With such a precious freedom comes great responsibility. Expressing ideas, dissent, beliefs — even ones most people would find distasteful and hateful — is a fundamental freedom in America.

But, to paraphrase an old saying, the freedom for your fist ends at the tip of my nose. These two men slammed their video fist solidly into the face of Muslims everywhere. It also slammed into the faces of Christians, Jews, people of many other faiths and beliefs, and people of no faith.

Dan K. Thomasson, Winter Haven News Chief, "Cost of free speech often higher than we like":

The Internet has been both bad and good for free speech, breaking down governmental barriers and providing information that hundreds of millions might otherwise never receive. At the same time, it has turned the big U.S. companies that mainly operate on it into First Amendment arbiters with far more judgmental input on these matters than governments have.

We've been writing about this issue for decades. Here, for example, is Jonathan Rauch's great April 1993 piece "The Truth Hurts: The Humanitarian Threat to Free Inquiry."

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59 responses to “'When Censorship Makes Sense,' and Other Journalistic Responses to Hecklers Trying to Veto a YouTube Film Trailer

  1. Google would decide the easy cases itself, and turn the hard cases over to the community, which would aim for a rough consensus. Such a system would be an early-warning signal that might have prevented riots in the first place.

    I fail to see how publicizing the hell out of controversial videos and starting an on-line flame war in the “community” will reduce controversy over these videos. It strikes me as an excellent way to generate even more violence.

    1. It’s like these people have no idea how the internet even works.

      4Chan would OWN that shit in about a week. They’d ban Red Cross videos as controversial and upvote “Hitler Did Nothing Wrong” videos anyone tried to get deleted.

      1. I would trust 4chan to run our DOJ more than the current administration or Mitt Romney.

      2. I wish 4chan would ban Tim Wu from the internet. He’s one of the best examples of liberal fascism.

      3. Or it would end up like Reddit, where anything opposing groupthink would be instantly voted down.

  2. Tim Wu, The New Republic, “When Censorship Makes Sense: How YouTube Should Police Hate Speech”:

    We can just stop with the headline.

    Censoring YouTube makes sense if and when YouTube decides it makes sense.

    That is all.

    If Tim Wu doesn’t like the way YouTube polices hate speech, then he should either use another service or start a better one of his own.

    1. The entire article if I wrote it: “When Censorship Makes Sense: When You Own the Thing You Are Censoring”

  3. On the con side, I don’t see why anyone should care what The Baxter Bullitin, Hernanado Today, or The Winter Haven News Chief have to say.

    I’m appalled by the reaction of some influential people to the video in question, so surely you could have some up with some choice quotes from people who actually matter.

    1. Also, WTF are The Baxter Bullitin, Hernanado Today, and The Winter Haven News Chief?

      1. Sexual positions too horrifying for even me to describe.

        1. But not to try

  4. Nobody has explained it to me yet why I should care even a little what a “former Joint Chiefs of Staff employee” thinks. If I wanted to know about running a big office building, I would ask her. Otherwise she means less than nothing to me.

    1. Your assuming that anyone who “worked” at the Pentagon knows something about running a big building.

  5. This is why Lenin shot all his intellectuals as soon as he gained power.

    1. No, these are exactly the sort of intellectuals that the Lenins of this world love

      1. They should come up with a term to describe these idiots. Surely they’re useful for something.

  6. A shame there isn’t a group of free speech radicals in some third world country to call for the deaths of these people who express such offensive views.

  7. Every single one of these men should be rounded up and hanged from the nearest tree branch or lamppost.

    1. ZOMG hate speech! Reason needs to be censored! Not shouting fire in a crowded theater!1!11!

  8. But, to paraphrase an old saying, the freedom for your fist ends at the tip of my nose. These two men slammed their video fist solidly into the face of Muslims everywhere. It also slammed into the faces of Christians, Jews, people of many other faiths and beliefs, and people of no faith.

    They “slammed their video fist” into people’s faces?!?!?!

    I don’t know whether to laugh, accuse Garrett of trolling, or vent my anger at this level of stupidity through acts of vandalism against Garrett’s property. Since I have a different mindset than Muslim fanatics, I will likely just do the first two.

  9. But, to paraphrase an old saying, the freedom for your fist ends at the tip of my nose. These two men slammed their video fist solidly into the face of Muslims everywhere. It also slammed into the faces of Christians, Jews, people of many other faiths and beliefs, and people of no faith.

    They “slammed their video fist” into people’s faces?!?!?!

    I don’t know whether to laugh, accuse Garrett of trolling, or vent my anger at this level of stupidity through acts of vandalism against Garrett’s property. Since I have a different mindset than Muslim fanatics, I will likely just do the first two.

  10. But, to paraphrase an old saying, the freedom for your fist ends at the tip of my nose. These two men slammed their video fist solidly into the face of Muslims everywhere. It also slammed into the faces of Christians, Jews, people of many other faiths and beliefs, and people of no faith.

    They “slammed their video fist” into people’s faces?!?!?!

    I don’t know whether to laugh, accuse Garrett of trolling, or vent my anger at this level of stupidity through acts of vandalism against Garrett’s property. Since I have a different mindset than the rioting fanatics, I will likely just do the first two.

    1. That was the excerpt that got me, too. My response was something like, “What the motherfucking fuck?”

  11. Such a system would be an early-warning signal that might have prevented riots in the first place.

    Why, pray tell, do Muslims have the privilege to engage in rioting? Why should I abridge my rights in order to prevent someone from engaging in activity they have no legal grounds to engage in?

    I suppose our lewd women should also wear pants if they don’t want to be raped either?

  12. Contra Voltaire, the free speech platitude of phony liberals seems to be, “I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend those who will go to their death to deny you the right to say it.”

  13. As freedom of speech goes, Klein and Nakoula have done the equivalent of shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater to create panic, which actually is not constitutionally protected as free speech.

    Not at all the same. It would be more like shouting fire in a crowded theater after telling everyone before they entered the theater that someone was going to shout fire. If you are aware of it in advance, it’s your own idiot problem if you freak out.

    1. Unfortunately Wendell Holmes idiotic opinion, that itself was used to rationalize a fucking terrible decision, will remain with us forever and be trotted at any convenience when it comes to free speech

    2. It’s like a movie you went to a theater to see showing scenes of a fire.

  14. BTW, after our discussion the other day I have started taking notes for a Mohammad time travel story to put up on Amazon.

    I’m thinking of having an HR contest to select the title.

    The story will have a three-narrator intertwined structure: Mohammad’s POV, as he encounters a time traveler pretending to be an angel; the pseudoangel’s POV, in the “No Islam ever existed so we have to make it up” timeline; and the POV of the time travelers who start in the new, Islam-dominated timeline and are trying to frag Mohammad (ironically, these are kind of “timeline suicide bombers”).

    The Mohammad timeline has the potential for some real dick moves, naturally. I might choose to make the time traveler trying to trick him be really transparent, with the implication being that Mohammad had to be a real dope or rube to get tricked. Then again, I could choose to make him a schizophrenic, whose own delusions are neatly complemented by our time traveler’s deceptions. Or I could let him in on the scam. I haven’t decided. It goes without saying that Mohammad was either crazy or lying, but I’ve never been able to decide which one. And stupid would probably be the most fun. It’s a hard choice.

    1. So is there a third, end-result timeline (ours)?

      1. What I would probably do is introduce enough differences so that the implication is that there are several more iterations to go before our timeline is produced.

        1. Interesting. I like it.

    2. You spelled “Mohammad (PBUH)” wrong.

    3. Couldn’t you also make all of this happening in the head of some crazy fuck that’s in a mental hospital in a modern but alternate state of Israel, held by Mossad agents working on a time machine that found him wandering the streets yammering on about a religion that never existed (Islam) that wants to wipe the Jews off the face of the earth?

  15. it’s time to ban garbage that mocks the God of a billion people and purposefully incites the worst religious passions.

    the worst religious passions you say?

    Won’t someone silence this anti-religion bigot?

  16. These two men slammed their video fist solidly into the face of Muslims everywhere. It also slammed into the faces of Christians, Jews, people of many other faiths and beliefs, and people of no faith.

    Unlike Thomas Garrett of The Baxter Bulletin, I’m not going to claim to speak for large groups of people, but my considerable personal experience with atheists is that we are overwhelmingly in favor of free speech, even the most die-hard, Myers-sycophant progressives. So, massive fail there.

    1. “O, ye of little faith. Want a cookie?”

  17. stupid would probably be the most fun. It’s a hard choice.

    I would be inclined toward mendacious puppetmaster:

    “What won’t these dumb fucks to believe?”

  18. I notice they never talk about whether what is being said is true or not, its about whether it hurts certain groups feelings.

  19. to

  20. the equivalent of shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater to create panic

    You know who else wanted to create panic in a crowded theater?

    1. Oliver Wendell Holmes?

    2. Steven Spielberg?

    3. Henry Bromell and William H Macy?

      1. I think he actually yelled, “Gotcha, bitch!” in a crowded theatre.

        1. He said “Sic semper tyrannis.” This is “Gotcha, bitch” in Latin.

  21. The Free Speech clause is supposedly the most “sacred,” non-controversial part of the Bill of Rights, and yet it’s disturbing to see how thin the support for free speech is whenever the slightest upset happens.

    1. Brought to you by the same people who brought you campaign finance laws to limit political speech, campus speech laws and hate crime statutes, now laws against blasphemy.

      Proglodytes, indeed.

      1. campus speech laws codes

  22. “Given the known consequences, it’s time to ban garbage that mocks the God of a billion people…”

    And given the known consequences of banning ‘garbage’, what calculation led you to this erroneous conclusion?

  23. So, should we be filing a lawsuit against the MLK estate? I mean, think of how much damage he caused by offending Southern racists and making the KKK blow shit up and burn things down.

  24. You know “Godwin’s Law”, where the first person to mention Hitler and/or Nazis on an internet discussion automatically loses the argument?

    I think there should be something similar with Oliver Wendell Holmes. A “Holme’s law”, where the person who invokes him in any way loses the argument, particularly his moronic “fire in a crowded theater” quote.

  25. Nakoula deserves to be in jail. Not because of the content of the video, but because he violated probation he had received for fraud. The terms of his parole prohibited him from using aliases and using the internet without permission from his PO.

    1. Funny how the authorities noticed his misdeeds just in time to jug him to appease the Nutbags of Islam and pump up the narrative that it was the video that sparked the Benghazi outrage.

  26. Given the known consequences, it’s time to ban garbage that mocks the God of a billion people and purposefully incites the worst religious passions. It’s time the Supreme Court reconsidered whether such fiery speech should indeed be protected. – Steven Kurlander

    So does this mean the left will finally stop mocking Jews and Christians? Somehow, I think not. I somehow doubt sauce for the goose will also be sauce for the gander.

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