The media went into a frenzy this weekend when the bonny Prince Harry gave a huge Hurrumpf to the First Amendment. On a show appropriately called “the Armchair Expert,” Harry declared the First Amendment “bonkers” and expressed frustration of how it protects the media in its “feeding frenzy” over his life. Harry’s criticism of the First Amendment can be dismissed as the unfamiliarity of a royal refugee. However, it is actually far more serious than that. Harry and his American wife Meghan Markle have attacked media rights in England and succeeded under the laws of the United Kingdom. They are now joining a growing anti-free speech and free press movement in the United States.
It was a surprise for many to hear Harry lash out at the First Amendment. After all, Harry and Meghan are so woke, they are virtual insomniacs. However, that is the point. The First Amendment no longer holds the inviolate position it once did with the left. Indeed, the First Amendment is now often treated as a danger than a guarantee to a fair and just society. Experts have explained how to evade its limitations to silence others. They have found precisely what Harry discussed in the interview when he noted “you can find a loophole in anything.”
Democratic leaders now openly call for corporate censorship and banning of books and authors. Academics now join in the cancelling of colleagues who express dissenting views of subjects ranging from climate change to gender identification to racial justice. Thus, it is not as risky for the Harry to declare “I’ve got so much I want to say about the First Amendment as I sort of understand it, but it is bonkers.” Rather, millions are likely to wait in rapt anticipation to hear more of what Prince Harry will say about correcting our Constitution.
What is missing in the coverage of this controversy is a far more serious context to Harry offering his “armchair expertise.” The United Kingdom has a strikingly different approach to free speech and particularly to press freedom. The British media are subject to harsh laws giving the government far greater powers to control or punish publications. Fortunately, the government has been largely benign in the use of such laws but there are far greater restrictions placed on British media than their American cousins. (For full disclosure, I was until a few months ago a legal analyst for the BBC).
One American who seems to have embraced the more restrictive laws on expression and the media is Meghan Markle. Recently, Piers Morgan, the former co-host of ITV’s “Good Morning Britain, was canned after he committed the unpardonable sin of declaring on air that he didn’t believe a word of what Markle told Oprah in her now famous interview. Markle and others reported TIV and Morgan to United Kingdom’s “Ofcom,” or Office of Communications, for violation of its “harm and offense rules.” Ofcom enforces a chilling set of regulations that allows for severe penalties for expressing any views deemed “harmful or offensive” or assertions that could “materially mislead” others.
Markle also recently prevailed in a highly damaging court victory against the press. The case involved the publication of details from a letter that Meghan wrote to her estranged father after she married Prince Harry in 2018. She sued Associated Newspapers, which publishes U.K. tabloids like the Daily Mail, MailOnline and the Mail on Sunday for disclosing her private affairs and for violating copyright protections over her letter. The lawsuit would have failed in the United States under the freedom afforded to the press, but prevailed in Great Britain. [There was a claim of copyright over the letter. It is possible for such a claim to be made under cases like the J.D. Salinger case in the United States but that case remains controversial. Salinger v. Random House, Inc., 811 F.2d 90 (2d Cir. 1987) would collide in such a case with press freedoms more directly in this case in my view].
Under our tort for the public disclosure of embarrassing private facts has an exclusion for “newsworthy” stories. For example, in Sidis v. F-R Publishing Corp., 113 F.2d 806, 807 (2d Cir. 1940), the court rejected the privacy claim of a former child prodigy who sued after the New Yorker magazine ran a vicious and mocking account of his failure to reach the expectations of many. The court explained that “regrettably or not” such media coverage of public figures are protected and “it would be unwise for a court to bar their expression in the newspapers, books, and magazines of the day.”
Markle knew that such concerns are not paramount in Great Britain. In the ruling by London High Court Judge Mark Warby the court dismissed such concerns in finding for Markle. Keep in mind that this letter was given or leaked to the media – a common factor in some of our most important investigative journalistic works. While Meghan could accuse her father or others of a privacy violation, she went after the media and Judge Warby not only ruled in her favor but ruled against an appeal. He ordered the defendants to publish an account on the front page of their newspapers.
Markle rejoiced in the victory and declared “The world needs reliable, fact-checked, high-quality news . . . We all lose when misinformation sells more than truth, when moral exploitation sells more than decency, and when companies create their business model to profit from people’s pain.” What was particularly chilling was how Meghan assured all of her following that this was a triumph for them: “I share this victory with each of you—because we all deserve justice and truth, and we all deserve better.”
What Harry and Meghan achieved in the challenge was a direct assault on core press freedoms. They then sought to get millions to cheer them for the effort. What is worrisome is that many did.
That is why the “bonkers” interview with Harry is not just some tabloid tripe. Harry was raised in a system that rejects core press freedoms and Meghan is an enthusiastic convert to that system. It is ironic that they left what Harry described as the “toxic” media environment of Great Britain to come to a country with greater protections for the press. However, the couple took little time in seeking to challenge the core values of the free press in this county. Now that is not just bonkers, it is bollocks.
This column also appeared on Fox.com
92 thoughts on “The “Bonkers” Interview Of Bonny Prince Harry: Why The Attack On The First Amendment Should Concern Americans”
Not just one of the royal show ponies, an arrogant ignoramus as well. News flash oh pampered one, we fought a revolution to throw off the oppression of your ancestors and their deficient form of government. If you don’t like it here leave. Snotnose !
His wife is a Khazarian, and this was predictable. The Khazarians get inside to sow chaos and division so as to permit their plunder and destruction go unnoticed. A virus, they are.
Was Harry wearing his Nazi uniform whilst complaining about the 1st amendment??
Turley says parenthetically: (For full disclosure, I was until a few months ago a legal analyst for the BBC).
The BBC might now be regretting that it did not renew his contract! I wonder how often media analysts implicitly threaten to go rogue if they are not kept on the payroll?
What is the point of Turley’s admission that he used to be beholden to the BBC? Are we to conclude by that fact that his opinions are no longer being influenced by his receiving compensation? And if he were, are we then to surmise that his opinions should be suspect?
Why does Turley’s Twitter bio not indicate that his services are retained by Fox News?
“Shapiro Chair of Public Interest Law at George Washington University, criminal defense attorney, and legal analyst. Blog: http://jonathanturley.org”
Why should Turley decide when he thinks it appropriate to mention to his readers- parenthetically- that he is a Fox contributor? If he has nothing to hide, he should state UPFRONT in his bio that he is a “Fox legal analyst.” If he is proud of his association with the likes of Hannity, Carlson, Pirro, Levin, Ingraham, etc., why not? By his bio not revealing his Fox employment, he runs the risk that his followers may not realize his conflict of interest. Why would he take that chance if he is not the least bit ashamed? He should allow his readers to decide for themselves when they believe that his compromised position may be germane to his legal commentary on any particular topic instead of his deciding for them when *he* thinks they need to know.
Dude, it says “This column also appeared on Fox.com.” right at the bottom of the essay.
That hardly responds to all my questions, dude.
Writer was more intent on attacking the messenger than addressing the issue.
@ Silberman – The difference between Professor Turley and you, besides the evident one of education, is that he is credible, and you’re just a mouthy commentator who we could just as soon do without hearing from.
Typical conservative cancel culture. I get it- the truth hurts. Sorry.
@ Silberman – No, cancel culture affects those with something worth hearing. Your drivel doesn’t qualify.
Then don’t read my drivel. Allow others to enjoy it. There a few here who appreciate my drivel.
@Silberman – I realize that, It’s because the Professor allows any sort of dreck to comment here. Thus we get you and similar fools who think you’re clever.
Amen, Darren. More like Noblesse Asleaze.
Heh! True, though I would more attribute Noblesse Asleaze to Prince Andrew–and I mean the American connotatative meaning of Sleaze, not the British.
That Harry doesn’t understand the Bill of Rights is not shocking. Most college proffessors lack understanding of the Bill of Righs.
It starts with core values.
In the United States, the people are Sovereign. Great Britian, the King.
It’s hypocritical for the left to rejoice at the loss of First Amendment rights, since they’ll be complaining ad nauseam about it when conservatives control the government and impose their own speech restrictions on liberals.
giocon1…they do not expect us to ever be in power again. There’s so much evidence of that in front of us. So they aren’t worried about trashing the Constitution.
Deport Megan and Harry!
I’ll help ’em pack!
Prince Harry needs to refresh his knowledge of USA and English history. We fought the British during the American Revolution and the War of 1812 so we could enjoy the freedoms enshrined in our US Constitution and our Bill of Rights! He can always return to England if he prefers their governmental system.
The Duchess of Compton is an agent provocateur of Obongo, having been assigned the mission of degrading Caucasians globally by any and all means available, including assailing serendipitous targets of opportunity.
The Duchess of Compton is not married to the Bonny Prince Harry, she is assigned to him.
“All is fair in love and war.”
– John Lyly
Harry seems to be a very fine person unlucky enough to be born famous. Most of us make similar mistakes at his age but it doesn’t end up on the nightly news. He probably just doesn’t understand our American system. It’s not just a single Amendment or a single right, it’s a “package” – you can’t cherry-pick only the parts you like – it’s all or nothing. It can be amended through the constitutional-amendment process if a clause is fundamentally flawed and a super-majority of voters agree on it.
When you weaken 1st Amendment rights, you also weaken every other right, because it weakens the oversight system by the courts. When the “ends” justify unconstitutional “means” that can be used to harm every American, from women to gun owners to African-Americans to LGBT-Americans (anyone). Illegally bypassing this process takes authority away from judges/juries to police the political branches of government (driven by short term election politics not by constitutional laws like courts).
When this system works correctly the poorest plaintiff, with no powerful political connections, can go to court and petition the Government to correct an injustice or reform a law. Most people don’t know that political parties usually FOLLOW court rulings. Neither party won women’s rights, African-American rights, LGBT-American rights or gun rights.
For example: in the 1960’s it was a felony to enter into a mixed race marriage. Ironically interracial marriage was viewed as “obscene” by constitutionally oath-sworn Virginia officials. These disloyal officials refused to honor their Oath of Office to protect their First Amendment rights and other rights. A mixed Virginia couple near Richmond were arrested in the middle of the night. Instead of sentencing them to a lengthy prison sentence for this felony crime. Virginia exiled the married couple forcing them to leave the state. Neither Democrats nor Republicans had support from the voters to help them.
This couple with no powerful connections took the disloyal Virginia officials to court and won, overturning the unconstitutional-law. The political parties did nothing to help them (“Loving v. Virginia” ruling). This ruling laid the foundation for LGBT equal marriage rights, equal adoption rights and all rights of every other citizen. It works for conservatives also. In 2008 the courts (not the political parties) expanded gun rights even though most voters likely would have opposed doing that.
It’s not fair but celebrities will be attacked by the Press if you step out there. Maybe just space it out a bit!
Isn’t Prince Dolt 36 years old?
One of the things people in Harry’s position are taught at a very young age is how to handle the media, how to handle their “responsibilities” as a member of the Royals, in public.
Harry has clearly decided not to go with what he’s been taught about protocol and appropriate commenting. He needs to be reminded, but it appears he’s ignoring the better advice I can assure you he’s getting from Buckingham Palace.
Harry and Meghan are nothing but a couple of grifters. They are going to live a good life because they are famous for being famous.
I don’t think Harry has any right to speak his opinion on our first amendment for he is not a US citizen, I think he is bonkers.
Prof. Turley – I think you can come back to this topic with a tongue in cheek look at whether the logical thing for Harry to abandon the US, and try to become the King of Canada.
You know Canada – the US’ neighbor, where, unfortunately we never quite got rid of all those “strikingly different approach to free speech and particularly to press freedom” that prevail in the UK. An unhappy part of our country’s colonial legacy.
The good news for Harry, however, is that he’ll feel at home and fit right in.
Maybe, as a favour to our US cousins, we can take M. Markle too – as our Queen of anti-free speech?
First of all, we here in the Great White North don’t want Harry, thanks. But since you here in the US really like whacked out liberals, having voted a bunch of them into power last November, I will gladly offer you our idiot Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. He’s about as whacked out and stupid as AOC, and possibly moreso.
Secondly, Harry is too far back in the line of succession to ever become the King of Britain, which would be required for him to be our ‘king’. And just to be clear, the king or queen is an honourary position in Canada, enacted through the Governor General and with no rights insofar as governance is concerned
You can keep Trudeau.
Just what every country doesn’t need: a former high school drama teacher, not once, but twice-elected to be their “leader.”
Good god. What a dangerous, inept, joke of a leader he is.
Ok, I can see I’ve got to play hardball here. We Canadians gave you Pamela Anderson, Margot Kidder, John Candy and Lorne Greene. You owe us BIG time…. and this is the deal 🙂
You are absolutely right,theoretically
If you do a little research you will find that in reality Australia’s and Canada’s Prime ministers had been fired by Queen because you are dominions of the crown
I’m sorry, but you are quite wrong. The Queen has no right to “fire” Canada’s Prime Minister.
Theoretically you are correct
In reality Canada’s and Australia’s Prime ministers had been fired by Crown in the past
@Djuro: In reality, not theory, you are quite wrong. The Queen has no right to fire Canada’s Prime Minister. I don’t know where you got that idea from, but having lived over six decades in Canada, I think I’ll claim some greater knowledge in this area.
“The ‘Bonkers’ Interview Of Bonny Prince Harry: Why The Attack On The First Amendment Should Concern Americans”
– Professor Turley
The attack on the Constitution has been perpetrated by the Supreme Court since 1860. American freedom lasted 71 years. “Crazy Abe” Lincoln began the incremental nullification of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Everything “Crazy Abe” did must have been immediately struck down by the Supreme Court. It wasn’t. Americans have always enjoyed the rights and freedoms to accomplish anything they choose – from charity, redistribution, regulation, medical and retirement plans, to abolition of slavery – in the free markets of the private sector.
The entire communistic American welfare state is unconstitutional, including but not limited to, affirmative action, quotas, welfare, food stamps, rent control, social services, forced busing, minimum wage, utility subsidies, WIC, TANF, SNAP, HAMP, HARP, TARP, Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Labor, Energy, Obamacare, Social Security, Social Security Disability, Social Security Supplemental Income, Medicare, Medicaid, “Fair Housing” laws, “Non-Discrimination” laws, etc.
Article 1, Section 8, provides Congress the power to tax ONLY for “…general Welfare…,” omitting and, thereby, excluding any power to tax for individual or specific welfare, redistribution of wealth or charity. The same article provides Congress the power to regulate ONLY money, the “flow” of commerce and land and naval Forces. Additionally, the 5th Amendment right to private property is not qualified by the Constitution and is, therefore, absolute, allowing Congress no power to claim or exercise dominion over private property, the sole exception being the full taking of property under the principle of eminent domain.
Government exists, under the Constitution and Bill of Rights, to provide maximal freedom to individuals, while it is severely limited and restricted to merely facilitating that maximal freedom of individuals, through the provision of security and infrastructure.
Karl Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto 59 years after the adoption of the Constitution because none of the principles of the Communist Manifesto were in the Constitution. Had the principles of the Communist Manifesto been in the Constitution, Karl Marx would have had no reason to write the Communist Manifesto. The principles of the Communist Manifesto were not in the Constitution then and the principles of the Communist Manifesto are not in the Constitution now.
The Supreme Court and communists (liberals, progressives, socialists, democrats, RINOs) in America refuse to grasp, acknowledge and accept the scope and breadth of American freedom.
This attack, “The ‘Bonkers’ Interview Of Bonny Prince Harry: Why The Attack On The First Amendment Should Concern Americans,” is but a gnat.
I don’t think about Harry all that much. He’s just not that significant in spite of the enormous failed effort by the media to make him and his snarly unlikable wife world class influencers.
My opinion of him isn’t based on the voluminous material generated by gossip mongers but on what is generated by Harry himself, like this public take on Americas First Amendment and his choice of messaging in private when he cuts loose among his closest like minded friends dressed as Nazis.
Well we drove on Brit Royal, George III, crazy with our dogged insistence on the First (and Second) Amendment. Looks like we’ve got another Royal in our sights. As for Markle, more proof that diversity is a disaster.
“Distrust diversifications, which usually turn out to be diworseifications.”
– Peter Lynch, One Up Wall Street, 1989
Cousin marriage (AKA: Inbreeding) messes with your critical thinking skills.
Are the Windsors from Arkansas?
Any movement against free speech should be squashed. I don’t particularly care what other countries, or Royals, think about our individual rights. We would be fools to discard such a precious right. The right to speak your mind without fear should be considered a basic, fundamental human right. Yes the US is unique in its level of protection for speech, even among Western nations.
Freedom of thought and expression applies to ourselves, in our opinions which we hold as obviously of merit, as well as to those whose opinions we despise.
Harry’s birth to a particular family does not give his opinions any more weight than that of a gas station employee, in matters that concern America. Using his popularity and influence to attempt to induce Americans to give away or weaken an American right is irresponsible and inappropriate. The opinions of a wealthy, pampered actress with her own staff also do not carry any more weight than a gas station employee because here in America, we are supposed to be equal. Are we supposed to think we should throw away a basic right because she was a supporting actress in Suits, she married a Prince, or because she’s wealthy? I’m not clear which attribute makes her opinions more valuable?
It should be squashed, but we sit here doing nothing but posting on social media and blogs like this. When are we going to pushback? And how? Asking for a friend. The German people were quite happy to let Hitler go about his evil business as long as the targets were so-called undesirables (of which Jews were included). Eventually, however, absolute power does not end well.
Does anyone else find the irony of Harry & Megan? He uses the press to complain about the press and she is an actress that needed the press to develop her career. I can certainly understand about not wanting to be harassed, but that comes with the gig. They are public figures and do not have the normal protections like the rest of us. That also comes with the gig. If you want to be left alone, leave the press alone and go live a quiet life.
I am not nearly as worried as Professor Turley because their court win was in England with different laws and different ideas than ours.
I will warn the two of them that at some point they may want the attention and not get it. Would that not be sweet revenge.
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