There are two problems with a post derived from an article in the Washington Post (sorry, Radley), where democracy dies in the darkness. The first is that WaPo has done as much as possible to force readers to pay because Bezos’ baby needs new shoes. The paywall can be circumvented, but it’s a pain.
So linking to a WaPo story here puts you, dear readers, in the unpleasant position of either paying for it, not reading the underlying story or having to go through the rigors of climbing over the paywall. For this I apologize.
The second problem is that the news articles, as opposed to the editorials which at least are supposed to be opinion, at WaPo have become a cesspool of “moral clarity,” meaning all the information the reporter wants you to know to reach the “correct” understanding, without facts or contrary information to spoil her point. Meet Kim Bellware, Washington Post reporter.
Murdock’s issue underscores the deficiencies with the First Amendment and exposes a lack of neutrality in who it really protects, argued Laura Beth Nielsen, who chairs the Sociology Department at Northwestern University and wrote the 2004 book “License to Harass: Law, Hierarchy and Offensive Public Speech.”
“Right now, every local government is broke trying to deal with coronavirus. The idea that you would arguably subject yourself to a costly lawsuit — what town would want to do that?” Nielsen said. “But letting these organizations flourish and take root is scary, especially if you’re the Black or the Jewish family in town.
”She said Murdock’s individual battle is taking place in a broader legal and social environment where, “in the universe of the First Amendment, White people tend to win.”
Murdock is a rural town in Minnesota. Its issue is that some people bought an old church and want to use it as a “hof” for their religion called the Asatru Folk Assembly, which Bellware characterizes as “widely classified as a White supremacist hate group by extremism and religious experts.”
Nowhere is it mentioned that even people considered white supremacists get to exercise their religion. Nowhere is it mentioned that the same First Amendment Bellware’s “expert” explains “White people tend to win” has primarily been used to protect the establishment of mosques in Christian communities. It could be because Kim Bellware is a blithering idiot who is so indoctrinated in her social justice delusion that she’s completely unaware of how unfathomably wrong and ignorant her article is, or it could be that she doesn’t care because she’s got a narrative to promote. The latter seems more likely.
In response to the misleading claims about the First Amendment made in The Post’s slanted, biased article, the well-known lawyer Ken White asked the reporter who wrote the Post article two questions on Twitter, to which she predictably did not respond.
First, White asked, “did you consider consulting someone who might have offered a different perspective than ‘the First Amendment protects white people,’ like, for instance, someone who knows this issue has mostly arisen recently when towns try to prevent mosques from opening?” He also asked, “Did you consider speaking to a First Amendment lawyer, or even an academic who isn’t a First Amendment critic, to provide context about how clearly right the white nationalist church’s lawsuit would have been?”
That well-known lawyer is better known as @Popehat, who is generally around to pick up the phone and answer a reporter’s questions about stuff like “how does the First Amendment work?” Or Eugene Volokh can often be reached. Or Hans Bader. Heck, if they’re all too busy, she could have called me. But no one was called. No one was asked. No alternative to “the First Amendment is for white people” narrative was offered.
Hans chalks it up to clicks.
Why did The Post run such a slanted, biased article? Because biased, inflammatory articles attract more web traffic, and enable The Post to charge more for subscriptions, by building the newspaper’s rapport with its progressive reader base. It may damage the Washington Post’s credibility in the long run, but in the short run, it makes The Post more profitable, helping it expand its staff in 2021 by 15%.
Is WaPo pushing out “fake news” for money? Is this Kim Bellware pushing her “moral clarity”? Are we doomed to have Newsmax on one side and woke ignorance as the alternative? How does a society have a shared factual reality when the newspapers publish tripe like this? What role should lawyers play when the funny pages inform the public that the First Amendment is just a tool of white supremacy?
*Tuesday Talk rules apply.