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In 1787, Thomas Jefferson wrote: “The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

The press is the only thing keeping the politicians honest. (more…)

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Bill O’Reilly recently called for Americans to stand outside movie theaters with signs that say “Support Our Troops,” in protest of movies depicting the current war—such as Rendition, In the Valley of Elah, Lions for Lambs, and especially the Mark Cuban-supported Redacted. (How exactly this will “support our troops” is beyond me, but I had not heard of half of these movies, so many thanks to Fox News for the heads up).

O’Reilly seems poised to put a good deal of energy into his new movie smear campaign, and of course his followers will follow.  This is what passes for newsworthy on “the #1 news show on cable television.”

By all means, if you support the war, then utilize your First Amendment rights and say so. Perhaps you’ll raise some points that your antiwar friends hadn’t considered, maybe even change their minds. That’s ultimately the point of protesting something, isn’t it–to raise awareness or change public opinion in some way?

If you think sitting in a parking lot while heckling moviegoers about a film you yourself have never watched is the most effective way to get more people behind the war effort, then by all means, pile into the pickup truck and take O’Reilly up on his suggestion. I support your right to do so, as I support free speech in all its forms, even in its most ignorant and pointless ones.

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I’m not especially surprised to learn that a few 9/11 conspiracy theorists got booted out of last night’s Hillary Clinton fundraiser. We do after all live in a country that tasers college students who ask ex-presidential candidates what frat they were in.

What did surprise me however was Bill Clinton’s simplistic response: “How dare you!”

(more…)

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