Fox News’ Eric Bolling attempted to pull out his big guns against liberals, claiming that they’re more like Al Qaeda than they are Charlie Hebdo. Media Matters for America says he thinks that liberals are working hard to stifle free speech, which, of course, is what radical Muslims want, and the reason behind the bombing at Charlie Hebdo. Thus, liberals are like Al Qaeda.
Since Charlie Hebdo was a satirical publication that frequently poked fun at Islam, many have brought up the importance of free speech and freedom of the press. Eric Bolling’s examples of liberals stifling free speech is apparently universities that have disinvited speakers because of conflicting ideologies. Bolling said:
The people who at Brandeis University, Rutgers, Harvard, Berkeley, this year alone, who have killed free speech, who have actually had people disinvited to speeches they were going to make on their campuses, align more closely with the terrorists in Paris than they do with the people from Charlie Hebdo. [emphasis from Media Matters]
One of the speakers that Eric Bolling cited was Condoleeza Rice. Rutgers rescinded their invitation to Rice as their commencement speaker last spring, and refused to confer an honorary degree, because of her role in the Iraq war, and the Bush administration’s approval of torture for prisoners. They said:
This is not good for Rutgers. What we’re doing is awarding an honorary degree and having a commencement speech from someone who is a war criminal.
Another that Bolling mentioned was Hirsi Ali. Brandeis University canceled plans to award her with an honorary degree in mid-2014 because her outspoken criticism of Islam was not in line with the school’s core values. Brandeis did try to clarify their position, saying that there’s a difference between disinviting a speaker who might talk about something controversial or give opinions that aren’t in line with the university, and conferring an honorary degree. Conferring an honorary degree is affirming someone’s body of work — which can actually come across as an endorsement of their positions on various issues.
Eric Bolling thinks these things amount to taking away someone’s First Amendment right to free speech, which is, of course, the same as Al Qaeda.
It seems like comparing people to terrorists is the new version of Godwin’s Law…
Disinviting guest speakers could be considered a problem educationally, since exposing students to differing and controversial viewpoints is valuable. However, is it really a First Amendment issue, since they’re rescinding an invitation they chose to extend to begin with?
Of course, we can’t really expect this guy to understand the First Amendment if he’s going to invoke this new version of Godwin’s Law and compare liberals to Al Qaeda. He also doesn’t understand what hate speech or unethical and illegal behavior is, let alone why a university might choose to disinvite speakers because of such behavior. It’s obviously because reflects poorly on them, and as the organization extending the invitation, it is their prerogative to rescind it.
This is something that Eric Bolling could stand to learn, rather than just spouting off.
Featured image via screengrab