Obama’s Double Standard on Free Speech: It Depends on Who is Being Offended

Will North Korea replace Cuba on terror list?

In recent days, President Obama has spoken eloquently about protecting our freedom of speech. He has done so primarily by criticizing Sony Pictures for canceling in the face of cyber attacks and other threats from North Korea public access to a comic film called The Interview that makes that country’s dictator the butt of its jokes.

Welcome as his defense of our fundamental liberties are, they stand in stark contrast to his attitude towards those satirical and other examples of free speech that offend Islamic supremacists.

For example, at his press conference last week, Mr. Obama rightly declared, “We cannot have a society in which some dictators someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States because if somebody is able to intimidate us out of releasing a satirical movie, imagine what they start doing once they see a documentary that they don’t like or news reports that they don’t like.”

Curiously, President Obama was not similarly concerned two years ago. Back then, though, the issue wasn’t a movie made by an American filmmaking studio poking fun at North Korea. It was a video by an American filmmaker that satirized Islam’s prophet Mohamed.

The President insisted long after it was known to be untrue that the video made by Nakoula Basseley Nakoula precipitated the murderous jihadist attack in Benghazi. Citing America’s commitment to respect all faiths, he condemned Nakoula’s film, calling “natural” the protests that occurred “throughout the Muslim world” because of “the outrage over the video” whose “message must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity.”

Presidential spokesman Jay Carney went even further. He repeatedly called the video “reprehensible,” “disgusting” and “offensive to Muslims.” And Obama’s Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, described it as “an awful Internet video we had nothing to do with.”

Two weeks after the Benghazi attack, Mr. Obama actually told the United Nations General Assembly that, “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.” The message could hardly be clearer: If American freedom of expression offends Muslims, it must be discouraged.

When it comes to slandering the North Korean dictator though, the President was where those of us who cherish our freedoms would want the putative leader of the Free World to be. Last Friday, he warned: “Imagine if producers and distributors and others start engaging in self-censorship because they don’t want to offend the sensibilities of somebody whose sensibilities probably need to be offended.”

So the question occurs: For the Obama administration, are there some people – notably, Islamic supremacists – whose “sensibilities” don’t “need to be offended”?

That certainly seemed to be the view of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who, as part of something called the “Istanbul Process,” worked assiduously to accommodate the demands of shariah-adherent (and easily offended) Muslims advanced by the supranational proto-caliphate called the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). In fact, on July 15, 2011, Mrs. Clinton intoned during a meeting with the OIC and representatives of the European Union:

We also understand that, for 235 years, freedom of expression has been a universal right at the core of our democracy. So we are focused on promoting interfaith education and collaboration, enforcing anti-discrimination laws, protecting the rights of all people to worship as they choose, and to use some old-fashioned techniques of peer pressure and shaming, so that people don’t feel that they have the support to do what we abhor.

In other words, if – to quote President Obama’s words – “producers, directors and others” don’t engage in self-censorship about jihad and other appalling attributes of Islamic supremacism, the Obama administration is prepared to use “peer pressure and shaming” to suppress them.

[The OIC’s campaign to suppress freedom of expression and the Obama administration’s acquiescence to it is the subject of a terrific documentary, “Silent Conquest.” It features comments from many of those of us vilified by Islamic supremacists and their sympathizers as “Islamophobes.” This film surely would be an example of a documentary that needs to be seen, not suppressed, not least because it offends precisely the sorts of folks whose sensibilities, as the President put it, “need to be offended.”]

Evidence of the successful application of this double-standard is not hard to find. For example, the Obama administration calls Nidal Hasan’s massacre at Fort Hood and the beheading of a grandmother in Oklahoma incidents of “workplace violence” and scarcely anyone in the mainstream press objects. Ditto with the President’s claim that the “Islamic State is not Islamic.” Ditto then-Homeland Security Advisor to the President John Brennan’s insistence that “we [do not] describe our enemy as ‘jihadists’ or ‘Islamists’ because jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one’s community.”

At this writing, there is another instance of apparent self-censorship with respect to the coverage of Islamic supremacism that is playing out in real time. Somehow, in scrutinizing the social media postings of Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley, the man who assassinated two police officers in Brooklyn over the weekend, the legacy press seems to have overlooked an item Patrick Poole at PJMedia found on Brinsely’s his Facebook page: an image reproducing the Quran’s Sura 8:60. (ed.– Breitbart News has published a report on Brinsely’s social media presence). It reads:

Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies, of Allah and your enemies, and others besides, whom ye may not know, but whom Allah doth know. Whatever ye shall spend in the cause of Allah, shall be repaid unto you, and ye shall not be treated unjustly.

Evidence that the cop-killer may not have been motivated simply by venomous attacks on law enforcement calling for the murder of police officers and officials pandering to race-baiters, but to jihadist sentiments that are about terror, not self-improvement, should actually be a central part of reporting on this weekend’s heinous murders. But not according to President Obama’s double-standard on freedom of expression.

Here’s the bottom line: Our liberties like freedom of speech are unalienable rights from our Creator. Neither foreign powers, our president nor self-censorship can be allowed to suppress them, ever.


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