The terror attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo led even the most censorious of progressives into showy defenses of free speech. Too-little-too-late support for the murdered cartoonists included public protests, Twitter campaigns, and ten-thousand editorial cartoons notably focused on omnipotent pencils instead of Mohammed.
These new converts set aside talk of “microaggressions” to insist freedom of expression was an essential pillar of Western civilization, whatever that is. No matter how offensive speech might get, we must tolerate it all the time. “I may disapprove of what you say, but I will retweet a hashtag noting your right to say it.”
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo told CNN on Tuesday that her city intends to sue Fox News after it broadcasted interviews asserting that there are “no-go zones” in the French capital where police and non-Muslims fear to tread.
In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Hidalgo said Fox had “insulted” the city.
”When we’re insulted, then I think we’ll have to sue, I think we’ll have to go to court, in order to have these words removed,” Paris’s Socialist mayor said. “The image of Paris has been prejudiced, and the honour of Paris has been prejudiced.”
The future must not belong to those who slander the city of lights.
The mayor’s threat comes after a full apology from Fox News, even though the comments weren’t from network anchors, but interviewed guests. National security expert Nolan Peterson claimed that Paris had Muslim-controlled “no-go zones” on air while UKIP party head Nigel Farage agreed with the characterization. If Fox News is responsible for these guest opinions, why not prosecute them for interviewing radical cleric Anjem Choudary the same week?
Left unmentioned is the fact that MSNBC proudly hired Al Sharpton despite a decades-long track record of violent provocations, lies, and tax evasion. CNN featured Van Jones, an admitted truther who publicly questioned if George W. Bush orchestrated the attacks on 9/11. While I disagree with the politics of both, I have no interest in suing their employers or demanding they be fired.
Fox News’ jealous critics and the Parisian mayor should re-read their week-old paroxysms of support for an unbridled press. Because free speech doesn’t work if you’re only allowed to offend religious figures but not secular ones.