The First Amendment Versus Pat Buchanan?

Respectfully submitted by Lawrence Rafferty (rafflaw)-Guest Blogger

I am the last person that should be defending Pat Buchanan and objecting to his recent termination as a political analyst for MSNBC.  However, after thinking about it for a while, I have come to the conclusion that Uncle Pat’s firing is an attack on Free Speech and a continuation of the Fox News type mentality on our cable news stations.  Let me first make it clear that most of what Buchanan says on the air is offensive and in some cases, outright disgusting.  However, if we cannot say what is on our mind without limits, do any of us really have the freedom to speak our minds? Mr. Buchanan is known for his outrageous statements and a recent Think Progress article outlined his top ten most outrageous comments.

I apologize in advance for the length of the quotes, but I believe it is important that everyone understand what he has said that may have caused his termination.  “Here is a look back at 10 of the most offensive and outrageous statements made by Pat Buchanan:

1. Wanted to close the borders to protect white dominance. As he wrote in his 2006 book State of Emergency: “If we do not get control of our borders, by 2050 Americans of European descent will be a minority in the nation their ancestors created and built.”

2. Blamed lower test scores on minorities. In his most recent book Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?, he blames minorities for dragging down the country’s test scores. “[T]he decline in academic test scores here at home and in international competition is likely to continue, as more and more of the children taking those tests will be African-American and Hispanic.

3. Claimed Jerry Sandusky’s atrocities are because of “Homosexual marriage.” Buchanan appeared on a right-wing radio show on November 15 to make some convoluted comparisons: “Let’s take this Penn State thing…these horrors, there’s an organization that marches in the gay pride parade in New York called—used to—called the North American Man Boy Love Association, which advocated voluntary sex along the lines of exactly what was going on at Penn State. Many of our political icons have marched in that parade right behind that NAMBLA float […] This is now, homosexual marriage is now the civil rights cause of the decade.”

4. Said the Jewish population in the United States dropped in the 90s because Jews aborted all their babies. Buchanan explains that the decline in the American Jewish population during the 1990s (a decline that a Brandeis study says never occurred), “is a result of the collective decision of Jews themselves. From Betty Friedan to Gloria Steinem in the 1970s to Ruth Bader Ginsburg today, Jewish women have led the battle for abortion rights. The community followed.”

5. Asserted Anders Breivik, who murdered 77 people including 69 teens in Norway, “may have been right.” Buchanan called Breivik a coward, evil, and cold-blooded, and then proceeded to defend his twisted rationale for the killings: “As for a climactic conflict between a once-Christian West and an Islamic world that is growing in numbers and advancing inexorably into Europe for the third time in 14 centuries, on this one, Breivik may be right.”

6. Claimed that all great nations punish the gays. In a Human Events column, Buchanan attacked California’s 9th Circuit Judge Vaughn Walker after his ruling of Proposition 8 as unconstitutional as a “judicial tyrant,” before going on to explain that “through history, all the great religions have condemned homosexuality and all the great nations have proscribed or punished it. None ever placed homosexual liaisons on the same plane as traditional marriage, which is the bedrock institution of any healthy society.

7. Penned “The Affirmative Action Nobel.” That’s the title of Buchanan’s October 13, 2009 column on Townhall.com in which he claims that President Obama’s Nobel Prize was simply the result of affirmative action. And the column only got worse from there: “They have reinforced the impression that Obama is someone who is forever being given prizes — Ivy League scholarships, law review editorships, prime-time speaking slots at national conventions — he did not earn.”

8. Argued that Poland and the United Kingdom had it coming in World War II. Buchanan seems to suggest in a 2009 column that World War II—and all the atrocities that accompanied it—was really the fault of Poland and Britain, for refusing to engage in diplomacy with Germany. “Why did Warsaw not negotiate with Berlin, which was hinting at an offer of compensatory territory in Slovakia? Because the Poles had a war guarantee from Britain that, should Germany attack, Britainand her empire would come to Poland’s rescue.”

9. Dabbled in Holocaust denial. Pat Buchanan danced alarmingly close to denying key facts of the Holocaust. In a 1990 column for the New York Post, he defended convicted Nazi war criminal Ivan Demjanjuk (whom he later compared to Jesus Christ) against charges from Holocaust survivors that he was guilty of murder by accusing the survivors of misremembering all of it: “This so-called ‘Holocaust Survivor Syndrome’ involves ‘group fantasies of martyrdom and heroics.’ Reportedly, half of the 20,000 survivor testimonies in Yad Vashem memorial in Jerusalem are considered ‘unreliable,’ not to be used in trials[…]The problem is: Diesel engines do not emit enough carbon monoxide to kill anybody.”

10. Argued Hitler was an individual of “great courage.” That’s just one of the quotes that the Anti-Defamation League attributes to Buchanan in their compendium of offensive remarks from Buchanan over the years. In 1977, he qualified his labeling of Hitler as racist and anti-semitic by adding that “he was also an individual of great courage, a soldier’s soldier in the Great War, a leader steeped in the history of Europe, who possessed oratorical powers that could awe even those who despised him[…]His genius was an intuitive sense of the mushiness, the character flaws, the weakness masquerading as morality that was in the hearts of the statesmen who stood in his path.”  Think Progress

It is obvious to this author that Mr. Buchanan’s statements are indeed outrageous and in most cases, not supported by facts.  However, if MSNBC does not want to become the Fox News of the Left, shouldn’t all voices be heard?  If we do not allow people to speak because we do not like what they say, how will the country ever debate the important issues that confront us?

Let me make it clear that MSNBC has the right to hire and fire whomever they want and Mr. Buchanan has the right to look for work at any news outlet or cable station, subject to whatever contractual obligations the parties have agreed to as well as any applicable state or Federal employee laws.   However, is MSNBC a better cable news station because of the termination of Mr. Buchanan?  I submit that they are less of a true news organization because of the firing.

What should MSNBC have done to serve the public interest and protect the free discussion of all ideas?  Couldn’t they provide their own on-air fact checker whose job is to report on the alleged facts any speaker has just submitted to the viewers?  Wouldn’t that provide the public with the free flow of information and allow the viewer to hear whose ideas they like and support after receiving both sides of an issue and the real facts surrounding those ideas?

Justice William O. Douglas said it best in the Terminiello v. Chicago decision, “Accordingly, a function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute. It may indeed best serve its high purpose when it induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger. Speech is often provocative and challenging. It may strike at prejudices and preconceptions and have profound unsettling effects as it presses for acceptance of an idea. That is why freedom of speech, though not absolute, Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, supra, pp. 315 U. S. 571-572, is nevertheless protected against censorship or punishment, unless shown likely to produce a clear and present danger of a serious substantive evil that rises far above public inconvenience, annoyance, or unrest.”  Justia

What do you think MSNBC should have done about Pat Buchanan’s statements and writings?  How can any news organization protect the free flow of information to the public while at the same time providing factual information on those subjects?  Let’s hear your thoughts.

69 thoughts on “The First Amendment Versus Pat Buchanan?

  1. Most news organizations have used any crackpot they can find, so they can claim fairness based on showing the “opposing” viewpoint. As a gay guy, I see this all the time. They will let some organization that claims most of the child molestors are gay and other such flat out lies go on the air, so they can show they are “fair”. Having a thorough discussion of any subject does not have to include people who base their discussions on lies. Pat Buchanan has misrepresented so many things and continues to do so.

    I guess my questions is, “is having a serial liar given a platform to lie and get paid for it the only way to have a serious discussion?”.

  2. “And then they came to take Pat Buch…….

    And I said, thank god. For selling opinions as facts (he did not say here’s a few opinions for you folks, take ’em or leave ’em) is untenable for a SERIOUS media channel. And saying that, am not endorsing MSNBC in anyway.

  3. You said it best in this sentence: “Let me make it clear that MSNBC has the right to hire and fire whomever they want and Mr. Buchanan has the right to look for work at any news outlet or cable station, subject to whatever contractual obligations the parties have agreed to as well as any applicable state or Federal employee laws.”
    In a simple world the news would bring us just the facts. But the “News” is brought to us by the corporations that own them. They are not “news” they are at it’s best “Infotainment” or “Propaganda”. Until the fourth estate becomes the fourth estate again does it matter if Uncle Pat got booted or not? The conversation goes where the owners of the information want it to go. The thing that kills me is when someone like Pat gets called out for living in the 19th century he starts crying about the 1st. Knowing full well that he has no leg to stand on when he invokes such hogwash. His cries are just a dog whistle which I am sure that the likes of Palin and Dr. Laura hear very well!

  4. raff,

    I really hate to say this, but I have to agree. It is Pat’s right to be a hateful idiot bigot and to put his feet in his mouth all the way up to the knees should he so desire.

    “However, is MSNBC a better cable news station because of the termination of Mr. Buchanan? I submit that they are less of a true news organization because of the firing.”

    1) I agree with the statement about lessening MSNBC’s stature as a true news organization.

    “What should MSNBC have done to serve the public interest and protect the free discussion of all ideas? Couldn’t they provide their own on-air fact checker whose job is to report on the alleged facts any speaker has just submitted to the viewers? Wouldn’t that provide the public with the free flow of information and allow the viewer to hear whose ideas they like and support after receiving both sides of an issue and the real facts surrounding those ideas?”

    2) A better news organization would have done exactly that: made Pat look like even more of an idiot by fact checking those statements of his that were capable of fact checking. Some of what he said though was close to pure opinion. Particularly about white dominance and Breveik. You could counter those statements with contravening opinion and facts to a point, but fact checking them alone isn’t as practical a solution.

    “What do you think MSNBC should have done about Pat Buchanan’s statements and writings? How can any news organization protect the free flow of information to the public while at the same time providing factual information on those subjects?”

    3) First of all, they should have realized what kind of scumbag they were getting into bed with when they hired him. It’s not like Pat is an unknown quality in the world of punditry. Given that they didn’t or didn’t care, they should have debunked facts and countered with opinion that highlighted the bigotry and racism of Pat’s statements and their inherent wrongness – publicly, thoroughly and viciously – allowed him time for rebuttal, closed . . . and then fired him.

    But not for 1st Amendment reasons.

    Rather I’d fire him for employment law reasons. Pat sounds like a walking EEOC complaint waiting to happen and in an abundance of caution, I’d have advised firing him to avoid potential legal liability created by his caveman sensibilities causing a hostile work environment. I’m not sad about Pat being off the air. He’s scum. Always has been and at his age the chance of rehabilitation are slim to none. But yeah, MSNBC could have handled getting rid of him in a much better way as to provide both balance to the issue(s), to illustrate the ridiculous nature of Pat’s comments and educate about the inherent dangers of such ideas.

  5. He should have been fired years ago. Let all the seriously crazy people pool their money and buy their own station and broadcast their slime 24 hours a day. (Ummm? Maybe he should apply at Fox?) Let him stand on the corner of State and Madison. Let him rant in front of the White House. Let him stand in front of the Supreme Court. He can lecture wherever he wants. Let him pass out leaflets at the National Cathedral. And if he gets arrested, let JT defend him. But why the hell should MSNBC be expected to pay him?

  6. No one prevented Buchanan from publishing his book. No one has been prevented from buying and reading it. His Freedom of Speech rights are perfectly intact. This freedom does not guarantee him a job at MSNBC or any other place, however. This is the vaunted free market at work.

  7. I could not possibly disagree with you more. In a perfect world your words might make sense, but this is not a perfect world and the intellects of the left are systematically denied mic time on these shows.

    In a world where Noam Chomsky cannot even get Public TV time, what justification is there for the redundant presence of Mr. Buchanan when all the political talk shows feature a wide assortment of neocons and right wing extremists as regular fare and racist/sexist commentary is far from unknown. What Buchanan is selling has not been driven from the airwaves, and I’m sure his replacement will be just as odious if a bit more diplomatic in their expressions of bigotry.

    Growing up, Buchanan and his brothers made a religion out of beating up Jewish kids after school. His intolerant bellicosity has diminished only as regards the use of his fists. MSNBC is well quit of him.

  8. You hinted at it a bit, with Pat presenting his opinions as facts. There becomes a certain point where they aren’t even grounded in reality and don’t even constitute analysis, let a lone provide the facts or forum for REASONABLE debate that a legitimate news operation is supposed to provide. Pat getting fired is less a first amendment issue to me then it is that he didn’t do what he was hired to do. That said, they should also fire whoever hired him because a cursory glance at his resume and body of work would show that he is incapable of performing what he was hired to do.

  9. http://slatest.slate.com/posts/2012/01/09/pat_buchanan_vs_msnbc_controversial_book_causing_tension.html

    Excerpt from the above link:

    Pat Buchanan might not be coming back to MSNBC after finishing his tour for a book that laments the perceived loss of a more racially and religiously homogeneous America.

    Many groups have taken issue with the premise of Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?, particularly the content of one chapter titled “The End of White America” (borrowed from an Atlantic article, which Buchanan cites), for racial and religious bigotry.

    Buchanan, who serves as a conservative political analyst for the 24-hour news network, has been off the air since October. Over the weekend, Deadline Hollywood asked MSNBC president Phil Griffin to shed light on Buchanan’s employment status at the network. Griffin stopped short of making anything official but said that the ideas put forth in the book are not “appropriate for the national dialogue, much less MSNBC.” Griffin continued: “Pat’s a good guy. He didn’t like [being removed from the air], but he understood.”

    Griffin made similar comments to other media outlets in recent days. “Pat and I are going to meet soon and a decision will be made,” he told the New York Times, adding that while Buchanan is a “good guy” some of his ideas “are alarming.” (end of excerpt)

  10. This was a purely business decision. If MSNBC didn’t want Buchanan representing them as one of their analysts, then they fire him. I don’t even see a hint of some journalistic integrity need to do anything else.

  11. Rafflaw,

    I think you are confusing presenting one side of the issue with just absurdity. Are we really entertaining Holocaust deniers and the like in 2012? If you want to have a reasonable discussion on the effects of global warming and what is causing it that is one thing, despite my own personal beliefs one could argue there is still some “grey area” open to debate, but Pat is usually so far beyond that point that you can’t even see the line in the rearview mirror.

    Its not a first amendment issue. No one is shutting him up. He can blog his crazyness all he wants. He has a platform. He has a soap box. It isn’t MSNBC’s obligation to pay him to be an a**hole.

  12. anon nurse,

    Thank you for the Slate article.

    I tried playing the Chris Matthews video but it’s been ‘loading’ for the past 20 minutes and played three commercials only. I feel like I’ve been transported back to 1997 and I’m waiting for Real Player to buffer.

  13. “However, if MSNBC does not want to become the Fox News of the Left, shouldn’t all voices be heard? ”

    Sorry Raff and Gene but I totally disagree with your take on this. To put it in the starkest terms possible Pat Buchanan is only slightly to the left of Adolph Hitler and that might be because he is smart enough not to let his innermost feelings show. Having him on the air lends credence to his viewpoint by making his opinions seem mainstream. He skates the thin lie between outright racism/bigotry well enough that it is hard to catch him as being overtly hateful, but he has damned well mastered all the “code” words of bigotry.

    Secondly, we have been exposed in the last four decades to the 1% dominating all media and due to that been subjected to enormous amounts of propaganda filtered through the mainstream media. MSNBC has found a niche position for making more of the Left’s position public and as such has served to assist i rallying people to the cause, however, its owners too are corporate and as Dredd pointed out keep a tight rein on their on-air talent lest they expose too much of the truth.

    Finally, Buchanan has no right of free speech to be on the air. He can still speak his mind and will no doubt have forums to do so. We have watched for years as media has allowed false equivalency’s to be drawn into political discussion (i.e. creationism/evolution). Buchanan’s presence draws in the false equivalency that he is a responsible political spokesman. His career has always been as a Joseph Goebbels clone and his legitimization has created almost as much danger as his forebear.

  14. rafflaw,

    I thought MSNBC should have gotten rid of this bigot, racist, anti-Semite long ago.

    I believe there are more reasonable conservatives that should be given a chance to express their opinions on air. It’s about time we the public heard from more moderate conservatives and Republicans. They are out there–but they are being drowned out by the wing-nuts.

  15. raff, I do not see this as a First Amendment issue. I read a lot of blogs as well, and when a user is hide rated, suspended or banned, there is, invariably, a lot of First Amendment claims and hand-wringing. The First Amendment freedom of speech applies to public speech, such as the soapbox in the park. News corporations and blogs alike are owned by their owners and there is no free speech requirement.

    Back before the Fairness Doctrine of 1949 was repealed, users of public airwaves had to be truly fair and balanced, and it was not just a slogan–it was the law. I know; I worked my way through college as a radio announcer and on-air personality. But even then, the Fairness Doctrine would not have applied to cable outlets which do NOT use the public airwaves.

    Before the Fairness Doctrine of 1949, there was the Equal Time Rule of 1934 (47 USC § 315), which applied only to political candidates.

    Ronald Reagan dismantled the whole thing, and the result is what we have now. A poll recently indicated the public, by an overwhelming majority, wanted it back. Legislation was introduced in 2009 to bring it back but was blocked by conservative groups. The Associated Press reported that the final vote killing the Fairness Doctrine rider was:

    “In part a response to conservative radio talk show hosts who feared that Democrats would try to revive the policy to ensure liberal opinions got equal time.”

  16. Disco,
    I am not suggesting MSNBC has to keep him employed. I am suggesting that they need a balance and they need to challenge all speakers in order to get all of the facts in front of their audience.
    I will echo Bob’s thanks to anon nurse for the Slate article. Bob, I had trouble with the video as well. I only got the audio.

  17. and raff….. you are a good man defending a person that would revile in your same rights being severed….. you sure you’ve never worked at the ACLU?

  18. OS,
    Anything that brings out all the facts and all opinions, I am in favor of. As Justice Douglas suggested in the Terminello decision, we need speech that stirs us to action.

  19. I don’t see the First Amendment issue here. Buchanan has a right to speak freely but that right doesn’t extend to speak freely on TV.

    I agree that MSNBC should present multiple sides of an issue from reasonable analysts and Buchanan lacks that trait. It’s getting to be near impossible to find reasonableness on the Right.

  20. Sorry about that video here’s the transcript:


    MATTHEWS: “Let Me Finish” tonight with Pat Buchanan. He`s leaving the network and won`t be working with us from now on. I miss him already.

    We`ve had drag down fights right here on this set and I`ve said things that drive him up a wall and he`s said things that have driven me up a wall. We`ve done it here in all, pretty good — in a pretty good spirit most of the time and have managed to be friendly and friends throughout it all.

    And, obviously, I`m going to miss his cheerful, fun-loving irascible presence around here.

    There are two aspects of Pat Buchanan I`d like to mention. One highly and wonderfully positive; the other — well, that`s the one that gets him into trouble.

    The good quality above his relentless genialities is deep even formidable loyalty. Pat sticks up for his people like nobody I know. He`ll laugh with you about the frailties and foibles of those he served but he never, ever quits being loyal to them.

    His most famous proof of loyalty was his strong defense of President Richard Nixon. At his moment of greatest vulnerability when so many others were running for the tree line, Pat Buchanan was out there in the open field with a national television cameras right on him.

    And here`s what he said to enemy and friend alike.

    (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

    PATRICK J. BUCHANAN: The president had conducted an administration for four years that had won the confidence or support of millions of Democrats. The president`s stand upon the issues of defense and welfare, upon taxes and government, upon coercive integration and bussing were closer to what the American people wanted than those of his opponents. But we want as well, Mr. Chairman, because of the quality and the character of our candidate. If one looks back over the political history of this country, there is only one other man other than Richard Nixon who has been his party`s nominee for president or vice president five times. That is Franklin Roosevelt.

    (END VIDEO CLIP)

    MATTHEWS: Well, that`s Pat testifying before the Senate Watergate committee in the fall of 1973, defending Nixon in his hour of peril. Using a sharp mind and wit to stand up for someone who placed his trust in him, young Pat Buchanan as a young man. Name another public figure who has built his public career on being a stalwart loyalist to Richard Nixon.

    Loyalty is the heart of Pat`s being. He is loyal to country, to church, to neighborhood to heritage. To Pat, the world can never be better than the one he grew up in as a young boy — Blessed Sacrament Church and Grade School, Gonzaga High School, Georgetown University. No country will ever be better than the United States of America of the early 1950s.

    It`s his deep loyalty to preserving that reality and all its cultural and ethnic aspects that has been his primal purpose and is what has gotten him into trouble. Not just now but over the years.

    (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

    BUCHANAN: And as those boys took back the streets of Los Angeles block by block, my friends, we must take back our cities and take back our culture and take back our country!

    (END VIDEO CLIP)

    MATTHEWS: Well, that`s Pat Buchanan at the 1992 Republican National Convention and he`s never changed. It`s Pat Buchanan yesterday, today and tomorrow.

    But for all kinds of reasons, personal and professional, I will miss him.

    And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.”

  21. It is said that Hermann Goering was a merry old soul and Joseph Goebbels a loving father and husband. However, either one would had had me and my family murdered without a qualm. A friendly NAZI is fine I guess in Chris Matthews book, not in mine. The early 50’s might have been a great time for Buchanan, but the country ignored hateful racism and was only beginning to believe Jews didn’t have horns. I have eschewed friends due to their racism and so Chris’s feelings for Pat earn no kudo’s from me.

  22. How nice and toasty it became since I commented earlier. #3?
    Wish I could comment all the good lines, but won’t.

    One comment only:
    The days of Holocaust Deniers are long gone.
    Agreed. If only it were true of open racists and religious hypocrites. Will we see that day?

    As for media, as Chomsky said, it is money that counts. Do you have any?
    Buy some in which case, or pick out one as a target for action, or write to get that law reinstated. Action!

  23. Nobody said Pat Buchanan could not say whatever he pleases. All MSNBC said was they were not going to pay him to say whatever he pleases. If you cannot understand the difference you should also not be paid for your ignorant opinion. No racist, no bigot, no anti-America conservative should be given a paid for by someone national platform to spew their hate…period.

  24. PS As for rebuttals to Buchanan or his ilk:
    Opinions are one-liners; factual rebuttal takes both time and thoughtful consideration. Who weighs most when air time is measured in viewer response?

  25. Pat Buchanan was a writer for the Saint Louis Globe Democrat when I was a kid. He was milder then than he is now and yet earned his spurs and went forward because of his ultra conservative Catholic beliefs. When he got to the top he stayed with what got him there. I know he has a lot of Nixon stories to tell us and maybe now in his dotage and his retirement he will reveal some really good stuff.

  26. Talkindog,
    I saw Chomsky, talking to a group of students getting their kicks at the Boston OWS party, say that Nixon was a liberal. And insisted it was true.
    The young ones laughed, not willing to hear that from him.

    Buchanan is an unknown to me like most crap of that sort
    .
    As to Nixon, who Buchanan supported, I prefer to use Mike S. reservation when speaking of Nazis:
    I would not trust him, even if he was a “pleasant person”.

    For me he’s always been tricky Dick. But he was more complex. He was a user of a anti-epilepticum for 20 years as a tranquilizer, which is documented. An interesting story in itself. And he avoided the chance to go against the previous Democrtic administrations and pull out of Viet Nam—although he had promised in his campaign to do so.

  27. It is disheartening to see several responses here positing REASONABLE as having to do with free and useful debate. I don’t want to listen to Pat Buchanan anytime and not because he is unreasonable. Aristotle invented the use of logic to extend facts when arguing. Start with facts? Too much to ask? We are letting corporate media brainwash us and “reasonable” becomes mostly whatever we hear said without furious backlash. It is often the backlash that exposes how narrow our ability to listen to a different view is.

  28. Not to pile on but as I remember the good ole 1950’s they were GREAT “if” you happened to be White, Straight, and Christian for many of the rest of us NOT SO MUCH.

  29. Heather,

    Sorry to hear that you are disheartened because some of us have used the word “reasonable” in this dscussion. Speaking for myself, I believe that people like Buchanan are not always using “sound thinking” when they spew their opinions on air. I believe that some of Buchnan’s opinions are not based on reason–but on his own personal prejudices.

  30. Buchanan does not lack for outlets. Firing him for being loudmouthed bigot probably will open more opportunities elsewhere. I suspect that he’ll still show up on MSNBC as a guest on Scarborough and other shows.His views are well represented on cable even outside of Fox (e.g., Erick Erickson on CNN). There’s no real first amendment issue here.

  31. “However, is MSNBC a better cable news station because of the termination of Mr. Buchanan? I submit that they are less of a true news organization because of the firing.”
    ————————————

    Is not every minute not wasted on the hateful and crazy another minute to devote to actual news? How could that not be better?

    And why should MSNBC be chastised for not providing balance? The majority of radio and several television channels provide a conservative platform exclusively, why should a TV network that is left leaning in its commentary in prime-time be expected to provide any more balance than FOX does? MSNBC does have Scarborough in the morning as I recall, he and the not so swift Mika, spout enough venomous stupidity to fulfill the alleged need for balance for the rest of the day IMO.

  32. I have always hated Pat B. for his ignorant comments that make the right look idiotic at best. Also Lotta, while it is true that the majority of talk radio is right leaning, as well as some TV, virtually all print media and the major news channels are unrepentant leftists who have no balance whatsoever. Does that make them better or worse than their right wing counterparts? Shouldn’t the self-proclaimed defenders of free speech practice what they preach?

  33. I have never seen how this is a first amendment issue. No where in the first amendment do I see anything taking about an enterprise outside of the congress ( and governments as has been decided in further court cases) since when has MSNBC become our congress or an arm of any branch of government.

  34. In a nutshell IMHO:

    “MATTHEWS: Well, that`s Pat Buchanan at the 1992 Republican National Convention and he`s never changed. It`s Pat Buchanan yesterday, today and tomorrow.”

  35. eniobob

    Exactly! PB has been saying the exact same stuff for years. The suppression of free speech by any group or political ideology is wrong and should never be condoned. It seems the left for all their talk about first amendment rights are the first to stomp on those of dissenting opinion. Both sides, perhaps the left more so use this tactic. If they can’t address the opinions or view points in a rational discussion, they go after the messenger. We have now seen both PB and Beck let go for nothing more then not having PC viewpoints.

    If PB and Beck’s viewpoints are so fringe and distorted wouldn’t it have been wiser to let the public make that determination on their own? I see this as a move to consolidate the media’s oped message into a pasty one color effort. The thought being that the ideas presented to the dumbed down public must be politically correct, not offend anyone and certainly must not make people think for themselves.

  36. Who does the headlines?

    Without a government actor, there is no violation of the 1st amendment.

    As for suppression of “free” speech by private actors — nobody kept Pat from saying all that dim-witted stuff. But actions have consequences.

  37. quercus454:

    I think Matthews should have ended with this:

    “Loyalty is the heart of Pat`s being. He is loyal to country, to church, to neighborhood to heritage. To Pat, the world can never be better than the one he grew up in as a young boy — Blessed Sacrament Church and Grade School, Gonzaga High School, Georgetown University. No country will ever be better than the United States of America of the early 1950s.

    It`s his deep loyalty to preserving that reality and all its cultural and ethnic aspects that has been his primal purpose and is what has gotten him into trouble. Not just now but over the years.”

  38. This has NOTHING to do with the First Amendment.

    Pat Buchanan has a First Amendment right to say whatever he wants to, within the law, but the Constitutional does NOT require anyone to pay him for saying what he wants to say.

  39. I agree with all who have said ths is not a 1st amendment issue. If he had been muzzled as he spewed his hate on a street corner that would be clear infringement of his right to free speech.
    As for keeping him and having a fact checker respond there would be no time for anything else but the correction of his ‘facts’.

  40. Carol,
    while the employer may have had a valid reason to terminate Pat or to let his contract expire, is our political discourse worsened by silencing the alleged nutjobs?

  41. Rafflaw, but he’s not been silenced. CBS this morning gave him a nice platform this morning, to spew his ideas and his peddle his book. His voice as been far from silenced.

  42. Carol,
    I understand that he may have other venues, but MSNBC’s discussions are more sanitized due to his perspective not being there. I don’t like what he has to say and I think he is a racist, but all news stations need to have both sides represented with challenges on the facts alleged. Otherwise we will have nothing but Fox New on every channel.
    Elaine,
    I think having a racist like Buchanan spew his nonsense on TV is good because more people can see what an ass he is and how dangerous and disgusting some of his ideas are.

  43. Rafflaw, I watch ‘morning joe’ on MSNBC which does often have both sides represented. Yes MSNBC is liberal, no question there, but even when you have both sides represented I prefer when both sides are represented by those with legitimate point of views, not ones colored by hate. I am happy to hear a repub and a dem spar, a leftie and a rightie, etc but it needs to be a fair playing ground. When one is playing with a deck that is not factual then the debate is neither one of equals nor educative.

  44. I don’t miss Buchanan, but I am beginning to tire of MSNBC. I really don’t need a constant yammer from the left to reinforce my own liberal politics. I actually like to be challenged by hearing a conservative point of view from a conservative who isn’t nuts (someone like, say, George F. Will). That’s one reason my favorite on MSNBC is Rachel Maddow, who often brings on Republicans or conservatives and manages to spar with them without rancor and yelling. I often wish the Republican Party would go the way of the Whigs, so that an intellectually honest conservative party might rise in its place. As things stand at present, we have one party that’s tepidly liberal and another that’s gone right-wing crazy.

  45. Bruce in Jersey,

    I also stopped watching MSNBC for the same reasons but do continue to view Rachel Maddow. PBS’ NewsHour does a fairly good job of presenting some sane and informative debate.

  46. I thought the First Amendment was written to restrain the Federal Government from infringing free-speech, particularly political speech.

    I don’t see how it prevents a private entity from doing it. I do think it leads to a FOX News type mentality though.

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