Turley Speaks To Alaskan Bar On Free Speech and The Free Press

This morning I have the great honor of delivering a keynote address before the Federal Bar Conference in Anchorage, Alaska. The conference is being held at the Hotel Captain Cook and I will be speaking at 9:00 am on the foundations and evolution of both free speech and the free press in America.

I will be discussing how the freedom of speech and press share critical constitutional DNA despite their separate treatments under Supreme Court doctrines. Both are under fire in the West and in the United States.

It is a wonderful chance to meet once again with my many friends in the Alaskan bar.

8 thoughts on “Turley Speaks To Alaskan Bar On Free Speech and The Free Press”

  1. An area of current concern is anonymous, deceitful info-warfare (propaganda), the use of any form of communication to deliberately deceive for purposes of manipulation and control. At its worst, info-warfare campaigns use highly-advanced spy tradecraft and cognitive psychology, for example impostering to pin a message or act accountability on one’s adversary. The Jussie Smollett hoax demonstrates the venal nature of theatrical info-warfare. Just because his scam was exposed doesn’t imply that all will be — US foreign policy is still reverberating from from the WMD misinformation campaign waged by Ahmed Chalabi and the Shiite Iraqis.

    Extremes of premeditated fraud and deception in the political realm tests the limits of free speech. The modern spy (covert operative) has a sophisticated toolbox, and it’s naive to think it incapable of gaming any red line laid down by the Courts. For instance, the Courts ruled thumbs down on speech that incites “imminent” violence, but skilled operators with advanced tradecraft can plant a narrative whose natural, predictable outcome is the unleashing of violent reprisal. Would that false-flag op constitute protected free speech?

    We have to be resolute in protecting political speech that is sincere, honest, civil and well-intentioned, as well as attributable to a responsible person. But that is a far cry from defending “anything goes” deceptive propaganda and false-flag ops. The work to clarify the limits of protected communications is never completed.

  2. Here is just one reason why we desperately need a free press: “Between 2001 and 2009, the CIA established a global network of secret prisons (‘black sites’) for the purpose of detaining terrorism suspects, in secret and indefinitely, and interrogating them through the use of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. The abuses which took place were severe, sustained, and in clear violation of domestic and international law. The perpetrators have never been held to account. The Rendition Project’s website (www.therenditionproject.org.uk), provide the most detailed public account to date of the CIA torture programme.

    Information about CIA torture programme prisoners had to be prised out of the US military’s unwilling bureaucracy. But already at that time, there were rumours of an even more secretive programme, run in parallel by the Central Intelligence Agency outside the Pentagon’s chain of command. Press stories spoke of people abducted in the middle of the night, manhandled onto planes and never heard of again.

    The torture programme was a highly secret endeavour, with the CIA and its partners going out of their way to hide the existence of a secret prison network dedicated to the indefinite detention and torture of terror suspects. It has taken years of investigation, by journalists, lawyers, parliamentarians and human rights investigators, for the broad contours of the programme to be revealed.” Find this article on Zero Hedge

    Assange is being tortured because he reveals the secrets of the powerful. Any journalist who does this faces extreme danger. The CIA is a lawless, murdering, torturing entity of the secret govt. What they are doing needs to be brought to the light of day. This group of journalists have shown this lawless disregard for human life.

    1. This isn’t an issue of press freedom. It’s an issue of journalistic priorities, resource allocation and curiosity, and also audience interest. Secrecy-bound organizations like CIA and FBI Counter-Intel are especially hard to hold accountable for misdeeds. I think we could improve whistleblower processes, so that they are viewed as preferable over doing leaks to non-loyal orgs like WikiLeaks. It’s up to Congress to make these whistleblower policies work, and it’s up to the People to elect Congresspeople who are committed to continuous improvement of oversight.

  3. “Free speech and free press”. Two concepts. Speech is spoken word. The right to speak freely means the right to be able to speak and not be punished, reprimanded and perhaps criticized. A government person, agent, employee might be free to criticize what you say or what I say. But there are limits. The government person cannot say or put in writing or “print”: “we intend to kill this guy for speaking out.”
    Press. Press refers to a mechanical device which can print words on paper. In the past years of human history there was not radio, telivision, internet, or other methods of repeating speech in writing or orally or visually. “The free press” referred to people or companies that put out news on paper: newspapers, magazines, brochures.
    In this day and age the distribution of speech, words, pictures, drawings, is largely not on some newspaper, magazine or brochure but on the TV, radio, and/or internet.

    In days of old, a government agent or a private person acting to suppress the articulation of words, ideas, etc would act to shut up a human or shut down a device set up to create words on paper. Suppression of the free press was related to some “press” device or machine and related to shuting up the person employing it.

    When the President “twits” or “tweets” he is putting out statements on the internet.
    He may be expressing his free thoughts but he may be suppressing the rights of other humans to think or say things in some fashion.

    This blog on which we speak here is a relative to “free press”. It is a similar creature. We should have the right as guaranteed by our Constitution to speak or express ourselves on this blog or any other. But there are some limits. Perhaps it would be wrong and illegal for someone on the blog to say: “Let’s meet at the hall of Congress and shoot all the Democrats.” “Free” has it’s limits.

    Some things said and repeated on newspapers, radio, TV, and the internet, or on street corners, are “nasty”. It is wrong to refer to sex or genitals or such things as pooping.
    But it is ok to say: “Three spots on the wall by Who Flung Foo>”

    Freedom’s just another word for…..

  4. Maybe you should be speaking to Alaska on the Federal Principle with respect to their natural resources and the fact that there is nothing National about anything in Alaska, especially Anwar, and that only the people of Alaska can make any decisions about what happens on Alaska’s State Lands and in Alaska’s State reserves. State sovereignty and independence is what makes our Country Federal, not National, and Alaska has its State’s Proportional Representation and Suffrage in the House, and Equal Representation and Suffrage in the Senate, to protect Alaska’s natural and economic resources.

    There s nothing National or Federal inside the boarders of any State. If you don’t understand then look the word Federal up in any dictionary. The United States is a Confederation, not a Consolidation, huge difference.

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