I am going to digress a bit from my usual posts to cover something that has been bugging me.
As many will know, I work for a University. Specifically in the Journalism School. As such, the First Amendment to the US Constitution is rather important to us. For those that don’t have it handy, it says:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Okay. So, what’s that first word? Congress. Got it? You sure? Good. So, tell me, when companies censor comments, or suspend actors for spewing hate… How is that a First Amendment issue? If they contacted the FBI and they the busted down your door, yes, that COULD qualify, since the government was then involved.
Don’t get me wrong: free speech is a good thing. Many countries do not have anything like this. So organizing and/or speaking against your government may result in serious penalty. Heck, the UK doesn’t even have a right to free speech! And if a company was founded on some promise of free speech, and proceeded to censor comments, or employees, then they are certainly breaking that promise and should reconsider (though, I can’t imagine a corporation being founded on something like this). But the First Amendment is there to prevent the to government from stepping on free speech. And the more we hear people spew the First Amendment defense, the more we all just roll out eyes, and miss the times when it truly is an issue.
That is all. We now return to our previously nerdy content.