The Marketplace of Ideas: Assaulting the First Amendment

A decade before he was to become President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson (the principal author of the Declaration of Independence) then serving as Minister to France, penned these words for the ages. It was the eve of the French Revolution and the world was ablaze with revolutionary ideas and potent words:

“The people are the only censors of their governors: and even their errors will tend to keep these to the true principles of their institution… Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

Poetry of freedom, this verse has safeguarded the chase of truth in ways that no military might can provide or preserve be it in the United States or elsewhere.

Almost 250 years later, we are, again, witness to an evident onslaught upon the core of our collective freedom… the marketplace of ideas.

The Attack on Al Jazeera

Recently, in a brazen effort to forestall, if not censor, the release of a news report depicting the insidious impact of AIPAC upon core democratic institutions of the United States, a number of congressmen demanded that Al Jazeera be designated a “foreign agent” involved in the release of “deceptive propaganda.”

Citing nothing more than so-called favorable coverage of various movements including Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah the legislators went on to declare Al Jazeera as a less than impartial…

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