Fox News pseudo-Democrat Kirsten Powers has a tendentious new book out. It's called The Silencing: How the Left Is Killing Free Speech.
Lifelong liberal Kirsten Powers blasts the Left's forced march towards conformity in an exposé of the illiberal war on free speech. No longer champions of tolerance and free speech, the "illiberal Left" now viciously attacks and silences anyone with alternative points of view. Powers asks, "What ever happened to free speech in America?"
In it, she alleges free-speech violations that aren't violations at all:
She insists, of course, that they really are violations:
(I'm pretty sure people were writing letters to newspapers demanding the firing of certain pundits long before most members of today's intolerant left were born. And I'm pretty sure we still had a First Amendment then. Also, if you put your reason for wanting a pundit fired into an old-fashioned letter to the editor or a newfangled online petition, that's an argument, right?)
Now Republican operative Richard Grenell has posted a defense of Powers at Fox News Opinion. In it, we get a brand-new definition of unconstitutional speech suppression:
In one sense, the Left’s immediate meltdown over Kirsten Powers’ new book highlighting its intolerance was perfectly timed to sell a book. But in another way, “The Silencing: How the Left is Killing Free Speech” predicted the reaction from the Left before a word was even published. Either way, the book is explosive. It carefully details the fall of free speech and the rise of the new intolerants on the left.
Oliver Willis, a research fellow at Media Matters, went after Powers’ credibility within a few hours of the book’s release. He and his employer know that if they can push Powers out of the real Democratic Party, then she isn’t the credible insider she says she is. In order to take away her credibility as someone critiquing the party from the inside, they need to define her as someone on the outside. If Media Matters can successfully turn Powers into something other than a card-carrying Democrat, then her strong condemnation of the Left’s new tactics will fall flat. It’s the classic campaign strategy to “attack the messenger” while not engaging on the damaging message.
Here's what Grenell is reacting to:
So Powers is asserting that her book is worthy of consideration because of some aspects of her biography. Willis, according to Grenell, is engaging in a "silencing" of Powers by reminding people on Twitter of other aspects of her biography. Publishing accurate information about Powers, in other words, is speech suppression.
This is a new variation of the Palin theory of the First Amendment, s articulated by the former vice presidential candidate during the 2008 campaign:
Palin told WMAL-AM that her criticism of Obama's associations, like those with 1960s radical Bill Ayers and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, should not be considered negative attacks. Rather, for reporters or columnists to suggest that it is going negative may constitute an attack that threatens a candidate's free speech rights under the Constitution, Palin said.
"If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations," Palin told host Chris Plante, "then I don't know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media."
Palin's argument was: If you say bad things about my speech, you're suppressing it. Grenell, on behalf of Powers, is taking that a step further -- he's saying, If you report basic biographical information about Powers that fleshes out the selective biography she's chosen to put forward, you're suppressing all the speech to which she's attached that biography.
For the record, despite the fascistic tweets of Willis, just this week Powers has either published articles or been written about in the following publications: the Daily Beast, National Review, Christianity Today, Breitbart, the Frisky, Real Clear Politics, the Washington Examiner, The Washington Times...
But she's being silenced. Right. Got it.
Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog