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The Little Known Subsection of the First Amendment Where Ted Rall Gets to Have his Comic Published Without Ever Being Fired

Teddy Boy writes:
Right-wing bloggers are at it again. It wasn't enough to get my cartoons pulled from The New York Times--now they say my "whining" about it is unseemly. Of course, the warbloggers like to keep this tactic to themselves, they're so damned good at it. But to hell with that. If you're tired of losing every cultural and political battle, then please join me in mimicking the relentlessness of the right. Write to the Times to let them know how you feel about them pulling my cartoons in response (solely, as they admit) due to Republican pressure: Martin Nisenholtz, CEO of New York Times Digital New York Times Letters to the Editor Ombudsman Daniel Okrent I don't stand to make a penny either way--this is solely about the First Amendment.
First, allow me translate: bq. Right wing bloggers have called me out for trying to start a letter campaign against the Times when I've been bitching that it was a letter campaign that got my comic pulled. My free speech has been stifled. The first amendment states: bq. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Basically, it means that - in the venue of free speech - the right to freedom of expression (speech) shal be free from government interference. Point #1: The government did not make a law against the NYT publishing Ted Rall's comic. Point #2: The government in no way, shape or form interfered with Rall's comic being place in the NYT. Point #3: The New York Times, as Ted's employer (even though they didn't pay him for his strips) has every right in the world to take the strip out of their paper. They even have the right to remove the strip because they caved to public pressure. Point #4: Nowhere in the first amendment does it say that an comic artist has the right to air his opinion in the local paper without interference from that paper. Point #5: Nowhere in the first amendment does it say that the New York Times must carry a comic by one Ted Rall. So -and excuse me if I have my facts wrong - someone explain to me how Ted Rall's right to free speech has been violated. Especially when his comic appears in many other places, as does his column.

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Comments

Well....ummmm, let's see. Free speech means Ted Rall should be able to speak for free -- and the Times is denying him his right to spread his ideas without paying a cent by witholding their platform. Yeah.

'elp 'elp, I'm being oppressed!

I do agree with you that technically his rights weren't broken. You are 100% correct in that. The First ammendment is still sound as the government didn't do a damn thing.

I also see your translation as mostly accurate. The right-wing wages letter-writing campaigns and things of that nature often, and news agencies, until recently, only heard political pressure from one end of the spectrum.

I don't see his letter writing attempt as bad. Let the left-wing show the newspapers that they exist too. In that way, the newspapers will get news from the left and the right, and thus be forced to be more balanced. If only one side of the spectrum speaks up, the newspaper will bow to that side thinking it is the only side that cares.

Whether his letter writing has an affect or not is to be seen, but I don't see it as a bad thing. You're perfectly welcome to write the times as well and tell them you're glad the comic got pulled.

Of course he can organize a letter writing campaign. And we can all laugh at him and call him a whiney sissy baby. That's free speech.

Can I just say how delighted I am with the novel numberin' of your points?

Free speech isn't free. Gregg Easterbrook wrote a very interesting column on 11/5/01.

What I'm surprised at is the Times pulled him at all, since when do they care what right-wingers think?

Besides, Ted can keep his own site and publish whatever he wants on his own dime.

Do you really think the Times caved to "right-winger" pressure?

I don't.

Just because you don't like Ted Rall's comics doesn't mean you're a right-winger. I can't stand most of his strips. I'm center-left.

When Rall can point to some clear evidence that Bushies lost him his Times strip, he can use the label "right wingers." Until then, hell, I'm glad he's out of the Times online, too. His strip sucks.

Criticism is not censorship. Geeze. Neither is a privately owned outlet deciding to quit printing things that piss off their readers.

Of course, I've been hearing that it IS on a regular basis. Usually, but not always, from the left.

Grow some thicker skin and a spine.

Ummmm...Ashcroft? The crushing of dissent? A "chill wind"? Gotta be one of those.

Ted says "now they say my "whining" about it is unseemly."

Unseemly? No. HILARIOUS!

It cracks me up no end when these raving Leftist loons try to wrap themselves in the Constitution to protect their "right" to disseminate their personal hatred unchecked. You can just tell they've never even read it. No one -- least of all Congress -- is stopping him from scrawling his idiotic doodles.

#3, #3, #3. Michele loves #3.

Ted Rall is not a whiny crybaby, by the way. He's deranged, and not in a good way.

He only has a cartoon because he expresses the most vile and shallow of sentiments, and editors think of themselves as "brave" for running them. That's my theory, anyway.

Dean

#1 I think of Ted Rall as the Eminem of cartoonists, but without the charisma or character.

#1 Being an asshole has always worked for Rall, why should he change now?

I'm with Meryl. Disliking Ted Rall has little to nothing to do with personal politics. I'm center with a bit of a right lean but saying I'm a republican just because I think Ted Rall is a jackass no-talent hack venom sprayer is just wrong. That's like saying I must be a dog hater because I wouldn't pet Kujo.

By Rall's definition, Trotsky was a right-winger.

Them as whine about "fascist oppression" would curl up in the fetal position if they ever actually encountered any. I have enough residual sympathy for their humanity that I hope they don't.

Point #6: But it's not FAIR!!!

Well, I am a right-winger and I despise Rall's work. But one swallow does not make a spring. I think there is plenty in his work for people throughout the political spectrum to despise.

Ted Rall does serve one valuable function for this conservative -- he is my canary in the coal mine of free speech. As long as Rall is a free man I can laugh at anyone who claims that we are "in John Ashcroft's Amerika where civil rights have been abridged and freedom of speech has been suspended."

Rall's columns -- had they been written during World War II -- would have led to his arrest for sedition. They clearly still fall into that category. Yet the government is so unconcerned that they let him spew on.

Ted Rall is still free, even with the NYT online now Rall free. You see -- even a vile person like Ted Rall serves a valuable function for society . . . just by existing.

Personally, I thought Rall would have been kicked out of the expression business when he wrote his little piece in Mother Jones about violence as a legitimate method for bringing about political change.

http://www.motherjones.com/commentary/columns/2000/04/rall_fruits_violence.html

Now, call me crazy, but I thought that "speech vs. violence" was one of the reasons most folks feel the way they do about the First Amendment. I would have considered the column I mentioned anathema to most journalists (loving the First Amendment as they well should), and yet the Times kept right on clutching him to its bosom. Glad they've come around, if a little late.

That "Canary in the coal mine" analogy is very good.

That was perfect! Sadly, though, you are reading the law to somebody who couldn't care less about the law. The only law in Rall's world is how HE "feels". How could some old, piece of crap, unsexy scrap of paper compare to "THE RALL!"

Yeah, Rall has talent, brains and humility that's why you shit-licking, come-drinking, right-wing abortions are so afraid of him.

Drink my diarrhea you Bush fellating jackboots!

Ted Rall is the best. His cartoons are the best.
You ANTI AMERICAN republicans are just too dumb to understand what free speech means.

The amazing thing is that Bill's email address is f@u.com, implying that he isn't a parody.

Oh wait, he used the word humility to describe Ted Rall. Bill must be joking.

I'd like to say that I describe myself as pretty left-wing, and I'm disturbed by the vitriol just expressed by a few of the last posters.

You run a decent site here, and even though I've just found the site, I like it's medium tone. An outburst like that which was just given by the left here should be reserved for pages where the mood is rabidly right-wing. Even then, the left should just stay away. This site does not fit that demographic, and so I'd like to apologize to you for those who would try to start a flame war here.

It's the same little-known section of the first amendment where Tim Robbins gets and stays invited to private parties regardless of pissing off the host.

And he called it a 'chill wind from Washington.'

Drama queen. I'm just pissed Dale Petroskey apologized. I wouldn't have.