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"Kill the cops, Kill the Jews": The First Amendment as the Last Refuge of Scoundrels

Becky O’Malley has very little advertising in her newspaper.  Presumably, advertisers find little allure in the DP’s core demographic, Berkeley’s aging radicals. So she fills the space with faux ads that promote the DP.  Some beg the readers to send her money, as though the DP were a non-profit, which it is not.  Others would have you buy DP mugs and tote bags (that’s style for you).  One ad, which regularly appears, is aimed squarely at our website which O’Malley has taken to condemning but without naming, lest people know where to tune in.  

Hitler used to complain that he was being denied his rights of free speech also.

Der Sturmer:  “He alone of two billion people on earth may not speak in Germany.”

O’Malley, of course, is right about free speech.  This, after all, is not Europe where one can be sent to jail for spreading messages of hate.  So yes, Ms. O’Malley, here in America you can say it all.  “Kill the cops. Kill the Jews.”  And no one has more freedom of speech than you do.  You have all the freedom of speech that your vast wealth can buy.  No voice is louder in this town by virtue of your wealth.  You have the freedom, and you use it, to publish things you know, or should know, to be factually false.  You have the freedom, and you use it, to publish pure and biased opinion but call it “news” when even Rush Limbaugh has the decency to call his fabrications “entertainment.” Falsehood and opinion masquerading as “news” is generally known as “propaganda.”  You have the virtual freedom to libel, since the SLAPP rules in California make it very expensive to sue a newspaper. 

Yes, you have lots of freedoms in America, but do you really have to use each of them?   In America you can curse, and gamble, and smoke, and drink, and own as many guns as you please.  However, responsible citizens restrain themselves from exercising their every right. 


And what about us poor slobs who just happen to be Zionists?

You refuse to cover our local events, even though you cover much smaller anti-Israel events, denying us our free speech.


You refuse to publish us if we don’t live nearby, though you reach to the ends of the earth for messages of anti-Semitism.  And when we live right here in town and submit pieces to you, you publish only a fraction of what we send you.

Don’t we at least have a right to turn our backs on the Berkeley Daily Planet, just as we might on pornography?


And what if we want to raise our voice in opposition?  Do we have that right?  In your editorial (April 16, 2009) you have labeled us “extremist, fanatical, crackpots.”  In fact, you have called us worse.  Is this the way to treat those who dare to stand up to you with the exercise of their free speech?   Is Berkeley’s newspaper of record the proper place for vulgar school yard taunts? 









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