FREE SPEECH: PORTLAND-STYLE

Silly me.  I have always thought free speech means that, except for a few extreme situations (e.g. screaming “fire” in a  crowded theater, advocating violent overthrow of the government, those sorts of things) we all have the same right to say what is on our minds, even if some people disagree with it.

Well, evidently the Mayor of Portland, Oregon has a different view of what free speech means.

Excerpted from Martha Bellisle’s article at the Minneapolis Start-Tribune:

The mayor of Portland, Oregon, on Monday urged U.S. officials and organizers to cancel a “Trump Free Speech Rally” and other similar events, saying they are inappropriate and could be dangerous after two men were stabbed to death on a train as they tried to help a pair of young women targeted by an anti-Muslim tirade.

Mayor Ted Wheeler said he hopes the victims will inspire “changes in the political dialogue in this country.” 

It comes amid a wider debate in the U.S. about the First Amendment, often in liberal cities like Portland and Berkeley, California, and on college campuses, where violent protests between far-right and far-left protesters have derailed appearances by contentious figures.

(Killer Jeremy) Christian’s social media postings indicate an affinity for Nazis and political violence. He is accused of aggravated murder, intimidation — the state equivalent of a hate crime — and being a felon in possession of a weapon and is scheduled to be in court Tuesday.

The federal government has issued a permit for the free-speech rally Saturday and has yet to give a permit for an event June 10. The mayor says his main concern was participants “coming to peddle a message of hatred,” saying hate speech is not protected by the Constitution.

How much is wrong with this article – both the story itself and the presentation by Ms. Bellisle? Plenty.

Let’s start with Mayor Wheeler’s urging that a rally in support of the sitting President of the United States – you know, the guy this country elected a half year ago – be canceled.  You can stop right there and question his judgment…if not his sanity.

But that’s just the beginning:  what about the reason:  because a nazi sympathizer in Portland let loose a hate-diatribe at women in hijabs, then killed two people who defended them?  What does that have to do with Donald Trump?

Did Mr. Trump in any way advocate violence against peaceful Muslims?  I dare anyone to show me how or when: specific quotes, please.   And even if he did – which, again, he did not –  a rally in support of the President of the United States remains fully legitimate, fully protected free speech.

Is Mayor Wheeler claiming that Donald Trump is a sympathizer, an adherent, of the deranged, hate-filled apparent murderer, jeremy christian?   Based on WHAT?  Nothing, that’s what, because there is no basis of any kind whatsoever to this slab of idiotica.

Note to Ted Wheeler:  buzzfeed.com (hardly what you’d call a right wing website) uncovered social media postings that show jeremy christian supported bernie sanders and jill stein – and did not vote for Donald Trump.

So tell us, Mayor Wheeler:  are you urging that there be no rallies in Portland which support Bernie Sanders or Jill Stein?  If not, why not?

Now that we’ve disposed of Wheeler, let’s talk about Martha Bellisle’s “reporting”:  specifically this paragraph:

It comes amid a wider debate in the U.S. about the First Amendment, often in liberal cities like Portland and Berkeley, California, and on college campuses, where violent protests between far-right and far-left protesters have derailed appearances by contentious figures.

Violent protests between far-right and far-left protesters?  Contentious figures?

That suggests an equality between the two which is non-existent.  In fact, since the “far right” is mentioned first, it suggests that right wingers are the senior partner in those violent protests.

Who was violently protesting in Berkeley, Ms. Bellisle? Right wingers who refused to allow a left wing voice to to be heard, or left wingers who refused to allow a right wing voice to be heard?

Do you think Ann Coulter is a left wing ideologue?  That the Berkeley “antifa” fascists were a hard-right group, violently protesting her left wing message?  Can you possibly be that deep into Delusionville?

Or is it just that you, in keeping with the Associated Press’s lamentable descent into partisanship posing as straight news, decided to create an illusion in the hope it would convince readers both sides are equally culpable?

This, folks, is what passes, in some places, for political discourse and “neutral” news coverage.

Still wondering why Donald Trump resorts to tweeting to get his message out?

1 Comment

  • Ken I don’t think you understand the thinking of the left. If the conservatives and the right would just shut up everything would be great. That is how you can think and say things and act like this mayor and reporters and hollywood etc.
    See it is simple once you understand how they think.

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