Palin, the bright, shining avatar of the right wing id, explains their position on the First Amendment:

If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations," Palin told host Chris Plante, "then I don't know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media."

This understanding of the First Amendment, not as freedom of speech, but as freedom of speech limited to me and those who share my political views, coupled with a freedom from criticism of those views, is the most frightening interpretation of the Constitution I've ever heard in my life. Those "attacks" from the MSM are protected under the Constitution, Palin's "right" to be "free" from such "attacks" (read: critical coverage) is most definitely not.

But this bizarre interpretation is at the core of the right's complaints about unfavorable media coverage. Rush Limbaugh typically invokes this "understanding" of the First Amendment when criticizing groups like Media Matters, accusing them of being "Stalinist" for recording his nationally broadcast programming and calling him out on inaccuracies or flagrant bigotries. In Limbaugh and Palin's minds, the First Amendment protects not only their speech but shields any criticism of said speech.

And as Ben Smith points out, the First Amendment exists to protect people from government, not the other way around, which is what makes Palin's interpretation of the Constitution so deeply alarming. Imagine how an administration that believes the First Amendment protects political leaders from criticism would govern.

Barack Obama rightfully believes that the original Constitution was flawed. Palin on the other hand, doesn't seem to have actually read it. At all.

--A. Serwer

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