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Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Sunday, December 15, 2002



These Everchanging "Times"

One sometimes wonders, do the editors at the Times read their own editorials? Such a musing was most recently prompted by their Sunday editorial about cross burning. They oppose it, generally, but note the following:

Courts must be especially careful reviewing statutes of this sort because of the danger that freedom of expression may be wrongly curtailed. Robust political expression, even of odious perspectives, is central to our way of life.

And later:

The First Amendment protects free expression even when it is hateful, profane or racist. Hate-mongerers have the right to preach the inferiority of races they do not like, and Nazis can march through largely Jewish suburbs.

So we have clear evidence that the Times is aware of the First Amendment. One wonders whether they are aware of the restrictions to free speech inherent in the McCain-Feingold campaign finance legislation.

Now, as to cross burning, the Times can imagine scenarios under which it might be permissible:

Under some circumstances, a white supremacist rally on private property or in a public area that has been legally agreed upon could include a cross-burning under this statute. That is as it should be.

Yes, unless the name of a candidate is written on the cross within sixty days of an election. If the burning is filmed for use in a commercial, we might have a problem.


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