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March 16, 2005

Kerry On Free Speech and "What Are We Going to Do About It?"

You know, when Ari Fleisher, immediately after the 9-11 attacks and Bill Maher's praise of the courage of the hijackers (as opposed to the lack thereof of our nation and military in responding to previous attacks), said, "We all need to watch what we say," the media dwelled on this off-the-cuff remark for years, citing it as evidence of the Bush Administration's antipathy towards free speech.

Well, MSM, what the hell are we to make of this?

"We learned," Kerry continued [at a speech after being presented with yet another fakey award], "that the mainstream media, over the course of the last year, did a pretty good job of discerning. But there's a subculture and a sub-media that talks and keeps things going for entertainment purposes rather than for the flow of information. And that has a profound impact and undermines what we call the mainstream media of the country. And so the decision-making ability of the American electorate has been profoundly impacted as a consequence of that. The question is, what are we going to do about it?"


"A lot of the mainstream media were very responsible during the campaign. They tried to put out a balanced view, and they did show what they thought to be the truth in certain situations of attack. . . . But it never penetrated. And when you look at the statistics and understand that about 80 percent of America gets 100 percent of its news from television, and a great deal of that news comes from either MTV, Jon Stewart, Bill Maher, Jay Leno, David Letterman, you begin to see the size of the challenge." (Those were all Kerry supporters or, at any rate, Bush opponents, but this thought--if any thinking occurred--didn't slow Kerry.) "And so I don't have the total answer. I just know it's something that we've really got to grapple with."

Emphasis added. Lord, I'm sick of writing that. It's pointless. People don't talk in bodface, after all.

Here we have Senator Kerry wondering what we should do about this pesky free-speech thing; something, it seems, we all need to "grapple with."

No one in the MSM seems to have noticed, have they? We don't hear any comment from Jonathan Alter about Kerry's somewhat contemptuous estimations of the public's ability to sift through differing accounts and draw conclusions, nor about his suggestion that something -- something! -- needs to be done to make sure the American people get the "right information" and only, as he sees it and he decrees it, the "right information."

P.J. O'Rourke noticed, though, and while he's more serious here than usual -- as he should be, I think -- he's worth reading on the point.

Imagine George Bush making these remarks. Would we ever hear the end of it?

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posted by Ace at 02:21 PM

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