Why We Have a First Amendment

 

Perhaps Piers Morgan gets it now. He didn’t used to. Ever wondered why our founders and framers felt it necessary to have our First AmendmentA post from a favorite British writer, Brendan O’Neill, Editor of a terrific blog, Spiked, may help.

For those who don’t follow Great Britain’s rather interesting media culture, Piers Morgan – you will remember him succeeding the late Larry King’s then-highly popular show in 2010 for about three years – has become the Isle’s top-rated morning host of “Good Morning Britain.” Make that, “had.” He was pushed out yesterday after being, shall we say, less than impressed with Meghan Markle’s appearance in a highly-celebrated interview with Oprah.

I’ve resisted writing about the two-hour CBS interview, even though I eye-rolled my way through it. You can see my admittedly intemperate reaction that I posted on Facebook below, in response to a friend’s query. But the Piers Morgan angle is one Americans might want to pay some attention to. There are lessons and red flags here, as if we need them. Even one US Supreme Court Justice, Samuel Alito, suggests free speech and religious liberty are under attack in the US. After all, our free speech rights are being trampled for many of the same reasons. Especially, but not exclusively, on college campuses.

Reportedly, over 40,000 people filed complaints with Britain’s official media regulator, Ofcom, which launched an investigation. Seems Morgan may have run afoul of “harm and offence” rules. One of those filing an official complaint was none other than the Duchess of Sussex, one Meghan Markle, US citizen and resident of California. Morgan stormed off the set after his co-host took issue with his comments. He never returned.

Morgan wasted little time to issue his own statement about his departure from ITV. It is priceless.

Don’t feel too bad for the 55-year-old Morgan. He’s paid seven figures to write columns for The Daily Mail. Also, this may represent a bit of a metamorphosis for Mr. Morgan, who hasn’t always been a fan of our First (or Second) Amendments.

Great Britain does not have a First Amendment. Neither do the other Commonwealth nations, for that matter. The penultimate paragraph in O’Neill’s post sums it up nicely, but you really should read the whole thing:

It took a very long time for Brits to win the right to criticise royalty. To blaspheme against gods, to speak freely. Yet now a woke form of treason is being rehabilitated on the back of the veneration of Holy Meghan, with the threat of cancellation hanging over anyone who doesn’t think Britain is racist, doesn’t think taking the mick out of Meghan for eating avocados is racist, and doesn’t think we all need to supplicate ourselves before St Meghan and the cleansing rituals of critical race theory.

I’m no lawyer or Constitutional expert. But I do know that one impetus behind James Madison’s push for it was preserving the right to political dissent, which includes the freedom to criticize the government and government officials. Perhaps even a Duchess. (If we had such a thing. Thank God and the framers that we do not.)

What does that have to do with the Meghan-Hostage interview? Nothing, I suppose, but also, everything. We do not have an official government media regulator like Ofcom in the US (yet, although Facebook and Twitter are trying to play that role).

There is a movement afoot in Britain, thanks to their Adam Smith Institute, to restore and rebuild their eroded free speech rights. I hope they are successful.

In the meantime, Americans may want to stand up and salute Piers Morgan on this one occasion and look around their own backyard and deal with the censors and cancel-culture troops who are working overtime to quash speech – and people – they don’t like. Hopefully, Mr. Morgan has learned his lesson about the value of Free Speech as well.

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  1. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk and
    @Misthiocracy

    Quibble: He stormed off the set in the middle of a live broadcast because he didn’t like what his co-host was saying to him.  I think that would qualify as just cause to terminate a daytime tv host even with the First Amendment.

    • #1
  2. DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) Coolidge
    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!)
    @DonG

    I don’t see any contradiction or controversy with Piers.   In the UK, free speech is not connected with 1st amendment. 

    The important issues of the Markle madness is that Wokeism is a path to fame in the UK, like it is in the US.  

    • #2
  3. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Haven’t a few in similar broadcasts positions been dropped in America for their views as expressed? I think of Lou Dobbs and Trish Regan off the top.

    • #3
  4. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Any criticism of Megan is wholly deserved. That woman is wretched.

    • #4
  5. Kelly D Johnston Coolidge
    Kelly D Johnston
    @SoupGuy

    Misthiocracy got drunk and (View Comment):

    Quibble: He stormed off the set in the middle of a live broadcast because he didn’t like what his co-host was saying to him. I think that would qualify as just cause to terminate a daytime tv host even with the First Amendment.

    Fair point. It is unprofessional for TV hosts to walk off the set of his own show. I listened to his cohost’s comments prior to his storming off, and agree Piers’ should not have. 

    • #5
  6. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Sure we have an amendments but I am not sure we use them much.  For me the constitution is a historical document of a vision that the world should be but never will.  At times we try to live up to the vision but most time the elites do what they want when they want.  The constitution and its amendment only matter if the elites can get some moral authority out of them and ignored other wise.  Like now.  We have “freedom of speech”, except all those things we can not say, then the government can jail you or outsource it to its many crony companies and organizations it can use to keep its hands free.  

    • #6
  7. Flicker Member
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Kelly D Johnston (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy got drunk and (View Comment):

    Quibble: He stormed off the set in the middle of a live broadcast because he didn’t like what his co-host was saying to him. I think that would qualify as just cause to terminate a daytime tv host even with the First Amendment.

    Fair point. It is unprofessional for TV hosts to walk off the set of his own show. I listened to his cohost’s comments prior to his storming off, and agree Piers’ should not have.

    Yes  it was a petty thing to do.  But how can one have a conversation when “lived experience” is being used to contradict actual reality?

    • #7
  8. Unsk Member
    Unsk
    @Unsk

    I care not one wit about the Markle controversy.

    But I do really care about free speech.

    The Brits kinda followed our rights to free speech and other rights a few decades after our revolution, but they never went whole hog and gave themselves a Constitution which would guarantee those rights.

    Now they are after Piers for his political incorrect thoughts and the outburst on his show.  His problem is that there is no Brit Constitution to protect him, only some relatively recent traditions to protect free speech which are under a tremendous assault.

    Circling back to us, all our rights are now under  that same incredibly serious and frightening assault starting right with all the biggies- Right to self determination, the Right of Free Speech, the Right of Religious Liberty, the Right to Due Process, the Right to Equal Protection under the Law and of course the Right to Bear Arms.  But we unlike Piers  have a Constitution to protect us but far too many in this country  including almost all Democrat Politicians either want to rip that Constitution  to shreds or are okay with that idea.   Those people want to take away my and your rights and institute a dictatorship in their place.  They are monsters and psychopaths. No doubt about it. 

    It may turn out that only Democrats – the rank and file –  can stop the tragedy of destroying our rights and our Constitution That’s right. If the Senate Filibuster goes, our rights are almost sure to be taken from us.  Because if only the  rank and file Democrats start voicing there extreme displeasure with the assault on all our rights, perhaps only then will Biden, Pelosi and their crew of traitors  stop their assault on our rights for fear of being voted out of office. The Biden crew apparently will only stop their assault if they are scared sheeeeetless of being voted out of office. Therefore we really need all these so-called “Liberals” to start defending real Liberalism and our rights.

    But where are all the freedom loving Democrats  and their slimy compatriots, the Never Trumpers, in this fight? Why have we not loudly and angrily heard from these people? Are they not  Americans who love freedom and their country?

    It appears not.

    • #8
  9. WilliamDean Coolidge
    WilliamDean
    @WilliamDean

    Unsk (View Comment):

    But where are all the freedom loving Democrats and their slimy compatriots the Never Trumpers in this fight? Why have we not loudly and angrily heard from these people? Are they not Americans who love freedom and their country?

    Ah yes, the “Never Trumpers,” all 20 or 30 of them. The new Emmanuel Goldstein of the more Trumpy side of the Republican Party.

    • #9
  10. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    Flicker (View Comment):
    Yes it was a petty thing to do. But how can one have a conversation when “lived experience” is being used to contradict actual reality?

    By saying this?

    • #10
  11. Flicker Member
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Basil Fawlty (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):
    Yes it was a petty thing to do. But how can one have a conversation when “lived experience” is being used to contradict actual reality?

    By saying this?

    I think Morgan did say something to this effect, more than once.  Or maybe I was just reading that into his objections.

    • #11
  12. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    WilliamDean (View Comment):

    Unsk (View Comment):

    But where are all the freedom loving Democrats and their slimy compatriots the Never Trumpers in this fight? Why have we not loudly and angrily heard from these people? Are they not Americans who love freedom and their country?

    Ah yes, the “Never Trumpers,” all 20 or 30 of them. The new Emmanuel Goldstein of the more Trumpy side of the Republican Party.

    If only.

    • #12
  13. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    How is this a first amendment issue?  If your employer who is the owner of the TV station you  broadcast from doesn’t like what you say, they have every right to fire you. Even in the United States. 

    • #13
  14. W Bob Member
    W Bob
    @WBob

    Manny (View Comment):

    How is this a first amendment issue? If your employer who is the owner of the TV station you broadcast from doesn’t like what you say, they have every right to fire you. Even in the United States.

    My understanding is that complaints were filed with some office of the British govt. Which presumably has the legal ability to penalize people in some way for wrong speech. 

    Amazing that Markle, an American who is supposed to believe in free speech, would ever think to do something like that. What a fool Harry must be to get wrapped around her finger.

    • #14
  15. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    W Bob (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    How is this a first amendment issue? If your employer who is the owner of the TV station you broadcast from doesn’t like what you say, they have every right to fire you. Even in the United States.

    My understanding is that complaints were filed with some office of the British govt. Which presumably has the legal ability to penalize people in some way for wrong speech.

    Amazing that Markle, an American who is supposed to believe in free speech, would ever think to do something like that. What a fool Harry must be to get wrapped around her finger.

    Ok. 

    • #15
  16. Al Sparks Thatcher
    Al Sparks
    @AlSparks

    Kelly D Johnston (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy got drunk and (View Comment):

    Quibble: He stormed off the set in the middle of a live broadcast because he didn’t like what his co-host was saying to him. I think that would qualify as just cause to terminate a daytime tv host even with the First Amendment.

    Fair point. It is unprofessional for TV hosts to walk off the set of his own show. I listened to his cohost’s comments prior to his storming off, and agree Piers’ should not have.

    I’m on Piers Morgan’s side.  His colleague was getting personal towards Morgan.  To be sure, walking off the set should be a firing offense, but his cohost was just as unprofessional.  I’d have fired them both.

    Here’s the money quote from Alex Beresford:

    I understand you’ve got a personal relationship with Meghan Markle, or had one, and she cut you off.

    She’s entitled to cut you off if she wants to.

    Has she said anything about you since she cut you off? I don’t think she has, but yet you continue to trash her.

    No need for that.

    • #16
  17. Al Sparks Thatcher
    Al Sparks
    @AlSparks

    I’m not a Piers Morgan fan.  But I admire him for sticking to his guns.  I find myself embarrassed for people who grovel after getting cancelled.

    Good for him.

    • #17
  18. Flicker Member
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Al Sparks (View Comment):

    I’m not a Piers Morgan fan. But I admire him for sticking to his guns. I find myself embarrassed for people who grovel after getting cancelled.

    Good for him.

    I particularly liked his apology: I’ve had time to review, and I’m still right.

    • #18
  19. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator
    @Instugator

    Kelly D Johnston: Also, this may represent a bit of a metamorphosis for Mr. Morgan, who hasn’t always been a fan of our First (or Second) Amendments.

    Not even the second amendment – Brits don’t even have a basic right to self defense. This is one reason their violent crime rate is more than double the rate in the US.

    Plus, while their government preens about not having a death penalty for criminal offences, they have a de-facto death penalty (without due process even) for people with disabilities and / or health / accidental injuries. (see Liverpool care pathway for the dying patient, and government imposed DNR for patients with learning disabilities + COVID – not to mention the Charlie Guard case)

     

     

    • #19
  20. Ansonia Member
    Ansonia
    @Ansonia

    Freedom of speech in the U.S. is dead. It’ll take a little while for that to become obvious as it fades away, but it’s dead. We just don’t know it yet.
    Why ? Because bureaucrats are increasingly going to be able to  label certain points of view as extremist and “unsafe” and, hence, a reason to deny gun permits to people who express those points of view. So, people who do hold those  “unacceptable” opinions  are going to shut up about it, either so that they can legally own a gun or so that they call no attention to themselves as they own one illegally. (I’m that sure those two gun control bills are going to pass in the Senate. I’d love to be wrong.)

    Naturally, the number of different things people won’t say publicly (or even more privately) will also increase.

    Kelly Johnston, I strongly agree with you that Meghan Markle is a piece of work  (though I’m sure I would be depressed to the point of being suicidal if I had to live as a member of the Royal Family, even on 3 million a year.) It’s just wrong to try to extort out of people the perks or pay for a job you’ve decided not to do. I’m so sorry for her son that she didn’t say: “ It wasn’t for me. But, we love visiting.”

    • #20