Contempt for free speech rises after anti-Muhammad video

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton

After the protests irrupted in the Middle East last week, the United States Embassy in Egypt sent out a statement condemning the video created the Obama Administration insists created the outrage. It was a startling condemnation of free speech and expression, which protect not only speech with which the majority of Americans may agree, but also unpopular or even hate speech that some may otherwise find objectionable.

Some have defended the actions of President Obama since the controversy has erupted, but the reaction from the United States Embassy in Egypt was typical of the Obama Administration, which has fought to curb political speech. But more details have come to light in recent days, such as the White House privately asking Google, which owns YouTube, to review the video. Access to the video has already been restricted in Middle Eastern countries where violence has broken out.

Moreover, the person who made the video, a convicted felon, has been questioned by federal authorities because his activities may have violated the conditions of his release. Obviously, that is a separate issue and not necessarily one that we should say is an attempt to silence speech. However, it does make one question whether federal authorities would bother with him if he had put out a video denigrating Christianity.

While the video has been blamed for the attacks and protests against American interests in the Middle East, Jesse Walker recently explained that it really just served as a pretext to the violence, not the source. Ken at Popehat also noted that “it’s entirely possible — perhaps even probable — that the video is being manipulated as an excuse for violence by people who desire violence for political ends.”

That’s where we are right now. The narrative that has been created by the White House and furthered by the media is the video is to blame; and, to another degree, the entire concept of free speech. What we’re being told, though no one will come right out and say it, is that only agreeable speech can be disseminated for public consumption. That is more than a slippery slope, it’s jumping straight off a cliff where yet another civil liberty is diminished or substantially weakened for the sake of the common good.

And, as Doug Mataconis noted yesterday, let’s not forget that the tragedy in Libya, where Ambassador Christopher Stevens and two other Americans were killed, occured on September 11th. We are now hearing reports that there were warnings relayed by Libyan officials about credible threats to the United States Embassy at least two or three days before the attack. Of course, the Obama Administration denies this, but one would assume that this is to be expected. They don’t want to give the perception to Americans, especially in an election year, they were essentially caught by surprise at a time when they should have anticipated an attack. That hurts President Obama, especially when he is being attacked by Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan as being weak on foreign policy.

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