TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Free Speech and Corporations

Free Speech and Corporations

Lisa Hancock (
22 Oct 2004 20:47:01 -0700

Lisa Minter <> wrote

> On Monday, Sinclair fired the head of its Washington bureau for having
> the temerity to criticize the airing of one-sided propaganda (ironic,
> considering Sinclair is claiming a First Amendment right to air the
> film). Jon Lieberman had correctly pointed out that running the film
> brought the network's credibility into question ...

As another poster correctly pointed out, it is Sinclair's network and
he is free to do as he wants (he controls the majority stock)
regarding showing the film.

The same poster was also correct in saying Sinclair has the right to
fire anyone he wants. "Free speech" protects us from the government,
but not our bosses.

The right of free speech is very important. But it is not unlimited.
Nor does the exercise of free speech provide a license to violate
other laws, such as trespassing, harassment, riot, etc. Sometimes
protesters who violate such laws are shocked when they are actually
prosecuted for the crime they have committed rather than just let go
later, and feel their "free speech" rights are thus being violated.
It's not their free speech, it's their criminal behavior that's being
prosecuted. Protesters forget that other people have rights, too, and
their cause does not trumpet over the interests of other people, no
matter how important they think it is.

Free speech is not mob rule, nor compelling someone else to pay or
provide your platform to speak from.

Another poster stated corporations exist for the good of the public.
I don't know where that came from. (Perhaps the existence of a
corporation allows business to be conducted which is good for the
public since buyers and sellers are brought together). But private
corporations exist for the stockholders. A smart corporation will
strive for good employee, customer, and public relations since they
usually lead to better business operations. However, corporations are
under no obligation to "be nice" (beyond what is required by law).

Frankly, it bothered me that some people asserted it was somehow
"wrong" for Sinclair to show his propaganda, just as some asserted it
was somehow "wrong" for Mirimax to decline to distribute Moore's
propaganda; that these corporations had some sort of public obligation
to do otherwise.

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