As yesterday’s congressional hearing showed, the supposed anti-Muslim YouTube video the administration scrambled to blame in the wake of the Benghazi attack was a “non-event in Libya.” The rush to judgment and encouragement of censorship pose a significant threat to every Americans’ First Amendment rights, but the issue has largely been ignored by the media.
Thankfully, the threat is not lost on everyone.
Reason’s Matt Welch has compiled a sound defense of the First Amendment in a post condemning “the officials and commentators who inaccurately blamed a murderous attack at least in part on an obscure YouTube trailer.” In a post titled, “Benghazi Hall of Shame,” Welch writes:
Falsely assessing partial blame for the violence on a piece of artistic expression inflicted damage not just on the California resident who made it—Nakoula Basseley Nakoula is currently serving out a one-year sentence for parole violations committed in the process of producing Innocence—but also on the entire American culture of free speech. In the days and weeks after the attacks, academics and foreign policy thinkersfell over themselves dreaming up new ways to either disproportionately punish Nakoula or scale back the very notion of constitutionally protected expression.
Fourteen days after Ambassador Chris Stevens was murdered by Islamists, President Barack Obama stood up in front of the United Nations and declared that the “message” of a movie virtually no one will ever see “must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity,” that “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam,” and that we all should “condemn incitement against Sufi Muslims, and Shiite pilgrims.”
It should give even Obama’s strongest supporters pause that the same administration so wary about characterizing Benghazi as a “terrorist attack“ was simultaneously so eager to characterize an artistic provocation as a (potentially criminal) incitement.
So who made the “Hall of Shame”? Click here to find out.