Debating the First Amendment

Last week President Trump started another controversy against the media. He tweeted out against TV late night talk show hosts saying maybe we should force equal time. Then he threatened to pull the licenses of some media outlets for fake news. Looking past the fact that Trump is obviously ignorant about how the license system works for broadcast stations (The networks don't have licenses only the individual affiliates do), this created quite the debate on social media.

Senator Ben Sasse came out against what Trump said with this tweet.

You know a provocative tweet like that is going to get responses from Trump supporters. Most notably Sean Hannity got into the mix with this tweet.

Tell me Sean, why is it “useless” to stand up for the First Amendment? When the President starts threatening to shut down media outlets because they report things in which he disagrees, it is a dangerous slippery slope. Could you imagine if Obama had said something similar about Fox News or conservative talk radio? No doubt Sean would have been outraged.

 Ben Sasse decided to respond to Hannity.

Hannity was not going to take that kind of criticism sitting down. He put out a string of tweets against the Senator.

I have to admit I don’t understand the last one. To only blame Sasse for not repealing Obamacare makes no sense. Sasse voted to repeal it and has openly been supportive of getting rid of the bad healthcare law. How does Sasse bear more responsibility for failure of repeal than the President? Hannity wasn’t done though.

This is another one that is confusing to me. Senator Sasse has been openly vocal against illegal wiretapping and government surveillance. Here is my question though. What has Trump done to stop massive government surveillance? In fact during the campaign Trump called for a boycott of Apple if they didn’t help the feds break into an iPhone. Is that protecting us from government surveillance? Hannity continues.

Sean in right that false statements with actual malice aren’t protected by the Constitution. That’s why we have libel and slander laws in place. Why didn’t Trump threaten to sue them for libel? Because he knows that it would be almost impossible to prove and would go nowhere in court. What truly amazed me though is it seems Hannity is calling for the President of the United States to be the ultimate decider of the “truth”. I thought he was a small government conservative. Why would you want to give any President that much power?

Let’s face it. There are really only two reasons why Sean Hannity is upset at Ben Sasse. He doesn’t like someone being critical of Trump, and he is focused on being against the mainstream media at all costs. I’m just as upset at media bias as anybody. I’m just as tired of Congress continually failing to repeal Obamacare. I’m just as tired of the constant bashing of Trump. BUT while we know what we stand against, we must also remember what we stand FOR. Someone who really supports limited government must see the danger of the President threatening to shut down speech for political reasons. Sorry but I got to side with Ben Sasse on this one.

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