Gawker Was Always Vile

Even before the current unpleasantness, Gawker was always vile.  Here is Adam Weinstein in Gawker arguing that people who disagree with him should be jailed.  Incredibly, Weinstein has been held up in certain quarters as a voice of moderation and reasonableness in the current Gawker brouhaha

Those [climate] denialists should face jail. They should face fines. They should face lawsuits from the classes of people whose lives and livelihoods are most threatened by denialist tactics...

'm talking about Rush and his multi-million-dollar ilk in the disinformation business. I'm talking about Americans for Prosperity and the businesses and billionaires who back its obfuscatory propaganda. I'm talking about public persons and organizations and corporations for whom denying a fundamental scientific fact is profitable, who encourage the acceleration of an anti-environment course of unregulated consumption and production that, frankly, will screw my son and your children and whatever progeny they manage to have.

Those malcontents must be punished and stopped.

Deniers will, of course, fuss and stomp and beat their breasts and claim this is persecution, this is a violation of free speech. Of course, they already say that now, when judges force them into doing penance for comparing climate scientists to child-rapist and denial poster-boy Jerry Sandusky.

But First Amendment rights have never been absolute. You still can't yell "fire" in a crowded theater. You shouldn't be able to yell "balderdash" at 10,883 scientific journal articles a year, all saying the same thing: This is a problem, and we should take some preparations for when it becomes a bigger problem.

Incredibly, he makes this plea while arguing that it is wrong "to deny people the tools they need to inform themselves" --  which we will accomplish by throwing one side of the debate in jail?  Really?

I am so sick of this "First Amendment is not absolute" bullshit.  It is absolute when it comes to issues like debating the merit of a scientific conclusion or debating the political implications of scientific research.  It is absolutely absolute.  In sports terms, this is a pop fly hit to second base.  It is no where near the foul lines.   It is so far from the foul lines that people would look askance at an umpire who screamed "fair ball" when the fact was already so patently obvious.

And no: motives, funding sources, and even being demonstrably right or wrong does not affect this absolute First Amendment protection.

Which all leaves an interesting question for Gawker:  Under what First Amendment theory is outing salacious sexual details of private citizens who happen to work for Gawker's competition in order to gain advertising revenue somehow protected but discussing the shortcomings and political consequences of climate forecasts is not?  I think they are both protected, but the former sure looks closer to the foul line than the latter.

  • Joe_Da

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/james-hansen-sea-level-rise_55aecb02e4b0a9b94852e7f5?

    Read the attached article and the comments. The comments will give you a sense of how far deeply believed the pseudo science has become accepted in the climateballer's world. Basic rational skeptisism has escaped the thought process.

    And yes, I agree the earth is on general warming trend and that the additional greenhouse have contributed to the warming trend. Yet you can call me a denier because I believe the probability of Hansen's prediction of a 1meter rise in sea level within the next 100 years is close to zero. (how many zero's to the right of the decimal point - a bunch)

  • Trapper_John

    Ken over at Popehat has the definitive takedown of the "You can't yell 'fire' in a crowded theater" trope:

    http://popehat.com/2012/09/19/three-generations-of-a-hackneyed-apologia-for-censorship-are-enough/

    Anytime someone calls on that as an excuse for government-enforced censorship, I immediately know I'm dealing with an idiot.

  • http://vikingvista.blogspot.com/ vikingvista

    Yeah yeah. The streets will run red with the blood of the nonbelievers.

    These quotes are important to remind us that just because the National Socialists, Bolshevics, Khmer Rouge, wavers of Mao's little red book, etc., no longer hold unrestricted political power, does not mean that those sorts of creatures do not still walk along us in unchecked numbers.

    And I'm not referring to getting worked into a frenzy over a political disagreement. I confess that there have been times that I've had my ire raised over being the victim of extortion and other real threats against my family and property, professing that those individual perpetrators deserve the punishment typically dealt for such offenses, regardless of claims of legality.

    But I've never advocated or even wished physical harm against someone because of her words or beliefs. This is a pretty clear cutoff between decency and indecency.

  • JW

    I don't think I can ever have enough popcorn for the Gawkpocalypse.

  • James Leroy Wilson

    Adam Weinstein doesn't really want to punish the guy who says fire in a crowded theater, he wants to punish the fire "denier."