In FrontPage I discuss the latest champion of free speech: Barack Obama, of all people — and why his defense of this right rings hollow:
As far as Barack Obama is concerned, Sony was wrong to capitulate to threats from North Korean hackers and pull the movie The Interview. “I wish they had spoken to me first,” said the free speech champion. “I would have told them do not get into a pattern in which you’re intimidated by these kinds of criminal attacks.”
Remember: this is the same man who said this at the United Nations on September 25, 2012. “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”Why did he say this? Because he was blaming a video about Muhammad for the murderous jihad attacks on September 11, 2012 in Benghazi. In that same speech, he called the video “crude and disgusting” and said: “I know there are some who ask why we don’t just ban such a video. And the answer is enshrined in our laws: Our Constitution protects the right to practice free speech.”
Yet this was just empty verbiage. Before he made that speech, the Obama White House asked Google to remove the Muhammad video from YouTube. In fact, this was one of the first things the White House did, even as the Benghazi jihad attack was still going on. ABC News reported that “a still-classified State Department e-mail says that one of the first responses from the White House to the Benghazi attack was to contact YouTube to warn of the “ramifications” of allowing the posting of an anti-Islamic video, according to Rep. Darrell Issa, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The memo suggests that even as the attack was still underway — and before the CIA began the process of compiling talking points on its analysis of what happened — the White House believed it was in retaliation for a “controversial video.”
And it didn’t just believe this – it acted upon this belief. An email circulated among Obama Administration officials while the attack was still going on, entitled, “Update on Response to actions – Libya,” stated: “White House is reaching out to U-Tube [sic] to advice ramification of the posting of the Pastor Jon video.”
So the first thing Obama did in response to the Benghazi jihad attack was move to restrict the freedom of speech, and protect Muslims from material that some of them found offensive. Google refused this preposterous and unconstitutional request on free speech grounds, although later a court ordered the video removed.
In those days, Obama never warned anyone not to “get into a pattern in which you’re intimidated by these kinds of criminal attacks.”
Indeed, the most ominous aspect of the Benghazi jihad attack for the long term health of the United States as a free society was the Obama Administration’s desire to blame it all on our freedom of speech. Obama’s declaration that “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam” was essentially a call for the U.S. to censor itself and voluntarily restrict our freedom of speech so as not to say anything that offends Muslims.
Yet restriction of the freedom of speech creates a protected class (whichever group cannot be criticized), thereby destroying the principle of equality of rights for all people before the law, and paves the way for tyranny by making it possible to criminalize dissent.
But now that a free speech case doesn’t have to do with outraged Muslims, Obama is suddenly a champion of free expression. This isn’t about endangering people, either: the North Koreans are just as capable of going on a bloody rampage as Islamic jihadists are.
For whatever reason, Obama shows a strange solicitude for the sensibilities of Muslims that he doesn’t appear interested in offering to the North Koreans. And as long as he opposes the freedom of speech in any context, his support for it in any other context rings hollow.