Even though Megyn Kelly clearly disagreed with Donald Trump’s anti-American demand that flag burners should be prosecuted and/or stripped of citizenship, she nonetheless offered a friendly forum for a Trump supporter – and attorney, no less – to equate flag-burning protest with arson and to suggest that kind of dissent should be squelched.
Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag - if they do, there must be consequences - perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2016
As I’ve previously written, Trump’s tweet was probably prompted by Fox’s repeated demonization of Hampshire College for removing its American flag after students had burned one. Last night, The O’Reilly Factor continued that effort when Bill O’Reilly praised producer Jesse Watters’ ambush of the college president. Watters literally put his foot in the door of the college president’s home and refused to move it after repeated requests. But Trump BFF O’Reilly told Watters, “You were polite to him. So, um, he’s a villain and a coward.”
In other words, the flag fascism has been a joint Fox/Trump effort. Who knows how they may collude next?
Kelly made it sound as though the flag had been removed because college “cupcakes,” as she sneeringly referred to the students, couldn’t bear the sight of it. In fact, the flag was removed because it had become a focal point of protest (some students had burned it in protest of Donald Trump’s election) and the college president wanted to address the issues and concerns of students without having the flag involved.
Instead of correcting the record, Democratic guest Julie Roginsky validated Kelly’s specious attack.
Nevertheless after her requisite round of hammy condemnation, Kelly tacitly acknowledged that she understood very well what was really going on. She also did a fine job of standing up for the principles from here on (transcript excerpts via FoxNews.com):
KELLY: [Students are] not saying they can’t function on the face of it, they’re saying, to us it means something else.
But the other guest, Trump supporter and attorney David Wohl, didn’t care – and the heck with the First Amendment!
WOHL: Well, Trump said no one should be able to burn the flag and he’s absolutely right. You know, Megyn, the Supreme Court in 1989 decided that burning the flag was somehow protected free speech. You burn anything else you go to jail. The flag, it’s fine. And you know Americans and the Americans that put Mr. Trump in office are just so fed up with this garbage climate where it’s cool to disparage America, it’s cool to burn flags, it’s cool to hate cops and hate the military.
KELLY: Yes. But there’s the First Amendment –
WOHL: And guess what –
KELLY: The problem for your argument is that little thing called the First Amendment and it’s very clear --
WOHL: Well now, Megyn, here’s the thing. There’s going to be a newly constituted Supreme Court soon as we know and it’s going to be more conservative and my guest is this whole issue will be revisited and if it is, look out. Because I suspect it will be reversed.
Of course, there’s a huge difference between arson and burning a flag. You’d think a lawyer like Wohl would recognize that, as the U.S. Supreme Court undoubtedly did.
To her credit, Kelly followed this discussion with an interview with Jonathan Turley, professor at George Washington University Law School. He also nicely smacked down Wohl’s contention:
TURLEY: The flag represents our collective rights and you hardly honor it by abridging those rights which is what is being suggested. The First Amendment has never been amended. It has never been reduced. It’s served us so well since the founding of this republic. And the suggestion that we should now amend the First Amendment because of what on average is about five to seven flag burnings a year I think is rather reckless. I mean, the question is, do you want the government in the business of criminalizing speech. Those people that want to allow Congress to do it have got to think about the implications of that.
But in Trump land, facts and logic don’t matter, only performance, perception, propaganda and, most of all, power.
Watch the kind of “freedom” Trumpsters envision above, from the November 29, 2016 The Kelly File.
Crossposted at News Hounds.
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