Jay Ambrose: John Kerry’s war on citizen speech
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., is really ticked at our free press, not liking one little bit how it affords ordinary citizen critics of our government a chance to be heard.
ěThe media in America has a bigger responsibility than itís exercising today,î he said, which in some ways is right, though not in the ways he means.
ěThe media has got to begin to not give equal time or equal balance to an absolutely absurd notion just because somebody asserts it or simply because somebody says something which everybody knows is not factual,î he went on in an MSNBC interview, and guess what he was referring to? Why, the new evil beast of horrified leftist ideologues: the Tea Party.
ěIt doesnít deserve the same credit as a legitimate idea about what you do,î Kerry continued. ěAnd the problem is everything is put into this tit-for-tat equal battle and America is losing any sense of whatís real, of whoís accountable, of who is not accountable, of whoís real, who isnít, whoís serious, who isnít.î
Itís interesting that Kerry made clear he doesnít consider this an argument of equals, for Iíve long suspected this richest man in the U.S. Senate ($186.6 million, $7 million yacht, married well) is psychologically akin to the monarchs of old who thought their authority divinely conferred, meaning no lower-class disparagement allowed.
These crowned despots were as serious as a branding iron in the face. In the early 1600s, when a Scotsman said he believed the Bible a better guide than kings, the English Court of the Star Chamber granted no trial in deciding to afflict that punishment along with cutting open his nose and hacking off his ears, one account recalls.
In the American colonies, however, newspapers got rambunctious despite laws disallowing criticism even if it were true ó in fact, especially if it were true, historians say. Ready to have at royal governors unlike almost any newspapers anywhere else in the world, many kicked rear ends whenever they thought rear ends were in need of kicking, and wise juries said the truthís OK to print, no matter what the law harrumphs.
It got so bad ó actually, so good ó that these newspapers helped start the Revolutionary War, getting rid of the royal leaders altogether, although every now and then someone like King Kerry will try to silence the common folks. How dare they? Donít they know their place?
In fact, the tea party activists do know their place. They are constitutionally empowered citizens (given the right to free speech, to peaceful assembly and to petition for a redress of grievances) who get it that a failure to participate signals a willingness to abdicate. Contrary to Kerry and others who have worked around the clock to wreck our future and hate it when someone notices, they are not dummies. All kinds of top intellects, including Nobel Prize winners in economics, share their debt dread.
Also contrary to Kerry, the pressí chief flaw is not being overly solicitous of tea party views. Many mainstream news outlets have a liberal bias, as has been shown in repeated studies with hundreds of examples, and thatís to Kerryís immense benefit.
Kerryís youthful declaration that U.S. soldiers in Vietnam daily committed heinous war crimes with every officer knowing about it was a reckless rampage immensely hurtful to thousands of wholly innocent American veterans. He said over and over again that he had been sent illegally into Cambodia on Christmas, 1968. Not even supporters who had been with him in Vietnam would back him on that, and his repeated alterations of the tale made fabrication easy to detect.
Nevertheless, during his 2004 presidential campaign, news outlets took care not to tread much on any number of questionable claims.
If they are now going to avoid inanities as Kerry says he wants, he will be quoted meagerly at best, perhaps a few sentences a year making their ignominious way to public attention.
Jay Ambrose is the formerWashington director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard newspapers. Email address: SpeaktoJay@aol.com.