As the seditionists from the January 6th insurrection continue to be rounded up and charged with their crimes sycophants have begun shouting “free speech” in an attempt to defend their criminality.
Time for a little history lesson.
In 1919, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Homes, Jr’s. opinion in Schenck v. United States held that a defendant’s speech in opposition to the draft during World War I was not protected free speech under the first Amendment of the United States Constitution.
Holmes said that expressions which in the circumstances were intended to result in a crime, and posed a “clear and present danger” of succeeding, could be punished.
In 1969, in Brandenburg v. Ohio the Supreme Court limited the scope of banned speech to that which would be directed to and likely to incite imminent lawless action, e.g. a riot.
Hence the shorthand phrase – “You can’t yell fire in a crowded theater.”
Research showed that fake election news declined by 73% after Trump and some of his pals were banned from social media. (Dwoskin & Timberg, 2021)
It also showed that just a few bad actors are responsible for the distribution of fake news including: Sean Hannity, Eric Trump, James Wood and Breitbart News. (Election Integrity Partnership Team, 2020)
Shouldn’t they also be banned from social media for shouting fire in a crowded theater? After all, they did incite an insurrection.
Dwoskin, E. & Timberg, C. (2021, January 16) Misinformation dropped dramatically the week after Twitter banned Trump and some allies. washingtonpost.com. Retrieved January 26, 2021, from www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/01/16/misinformation-trump-twitter/
Election Integrity Partnership Team (2020, October 29) Repeat Offenders: Voting Misinformation on Twitter in the 2020 United States Election. eipartnership.net. Retrieved January 26, 2021, from www.eipartnership.net/rapid-response/repeat-offenders