Posted by: ethurman | July 6, 2009

Stewart responds to suggestion that Osama bin Laden needs to attack America

In this video clip, Jon Stewart responds to a comment made by Michael Scheuer on “Glenn Beck.” Scheuer suggests that “only Osama can execute an attack which will force Americans to demand that their government protect them.”  First of all, this comment is extreme to the point of not making logical sense and it is unbelievable that a person would say that a terrorist attack is “good” for the country.  However, it is also important to look at the situation more broadly.  Stewart makes the point that in this country, Scheuer can make an outrageous and likely offensive comment and experience no censorship while Stewart is censored in his attempt to say an explicative.  This brings up the point of regulation that we have discussed a number of times in class.  There is no clear way for the government or another agency to regulate highly opinionated commentary; they are primarily limited to censoring specific words.  This is of course because most people can agree on words that are not appropriate for television or radio broadcasting but there will be little agreement on what ideas are appropriate to express.  Freedom of speech should always guarantee that a person has the ability to freely express their opinions.  Although it may be difficult to hear opinions that differ greatly from our own, we should not be asked to sacrifice our right to  say what we think for the sake of pleasing everyone.

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