Easterbrook on Moore:

Gregg Easterbrook, writing in The New Republic online, states that Fahrenheit 9/11 contains fabrications and “classic propaganda” techniques meant to deceive the audience. OK. But Easterbrook also makes the bizarre claim that the movie “is exactly the kind of political speech the First Amendment was designed to protect.” It seems obvious to me that the First Amendment was not designed to protect false and deceptive speech. No one would design a constitutional provision with such a goal in mind. Rather, deceptive (and to a lesser extent) false speech is protected as a necessary evil in the cause of protecting true and nondeceptive(“good”) speech. I, along with I think anyone else sensible (including James Madison in his day), would be happy to censor false and deceptive speech if we (1) had a reliable mechanism for separating it from “good” speech, and (2) could ensure that censoring deceptive and false speech wouldn’t lead to a slippery slope culminating in the censorship of “good” speech disliked by the government.

Comments are closed.