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Sunday, April 27, 2008
Baker Flip-Flops on First Amendment
Topic: NewsBusters

In an April 25 NewsBusters post, Brent Baker notes that two North Carolina TV stations have refused to air a political ad attacking Barack Obama. After repeating a quote from one station manager saying, "I think it's offensive, and I'm not real comfortable with the implications around race," Baker adds: "Maybe some citizens of the state are not so 'comfortable' with a local TV executive deciding the First Amendment doesn't apply in North Carolina."

Huh? Doesn't the First Amendment freedom of the press also imply the right not to run something it doesn't want to, for whatever reason?

Indeed, the MRC has previously supported that principle. A March 2007 column by Brent Bozell praised newspaper owners for refusing to "water down their standards" by runnning ads for NC-17-rated movies, since NC-17 movies, by definition, are not "respectable." And Baker himself, in a December 2004 CyberAlert item, didn't seem to think that the "left-wing" United Church of Christ's First Amendment rights were violated when CBS and NBC refused to air its ads.

Or is Baker think it's OK to violate First Amendment rights in order to suppress a "left-wing" view?

UPDATE: Baker's questionable interpretation of the First Amendment made it into the April 28 MRC CyberAlert.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:27 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, April 28, 2008 5:51 PM EDT

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