tv Washington Journal Nadine Strossen CSPAN May 5, 2018 3:11am-3:55am EDT
headlines. joining us are doug stanton, athor of a book, and filmmaker who's most recent project with ken burns wwas the n --entary "the vietnam war." wacth "1968: america in turmoil" this weekend. are inay morning we lincoln nebraska for the capitals tour. the gov. will be on starting 9:45am eastern. professor has a book
about free speech and the first ammendment. at our table this morning, dean strossen, former desk nadine strossen, former aclu president and author of this book "hate: why we should resist it with free speech, not censorship." what is hate speech? guest: there is no specific definition that the supreme court has ever validated. the supreme court has consistently said we may never suppress speech merely because some people, even the overwhelming majority of people, believe its message to be hateful. last summer, the supreme court upheld the right of an american rock musician to choose what
many people saw as a he speech term as the name of his fans, namely the slants. it is up to us as a society to hatefule what speech is and we choose to ignore and which we choose to listen to. i need to point out that speech with a people message along with any other -- hateful message along with any other speech in context may be punished and suppressed when it directly causes a specific, eminent, serious harm that cannot be converted through any other measures such as law enforcement. a good measure would be a genuine threat or intentional incitement of eminent violence or targeted harassment. host: is there a legal case? guest: there are many legal cases that would illustrate each of us.
here in washington, d.c., on may 1 of last year, we had the issue of a genuine threat using a full expression on the campus of american university. electedad been as the first african-american student body president, and there were a series of bananas and nooses that were displayed around campus, some of which had the initials of her sorority on them, a predominantly african-american sorority. that certainly satisfies the standard of not only a genuine threat intended to instill a reasonable fear that she would, and perhaps other african-american sorority members among others, might be subject to an attack. we do have a legally recognized concept of a hate crime. that is when you take something that is already a crime such as an assault or threats, and the victim is singled out on the
religion,ace, gender, and so forth. that can be subject to greater punishment on the theory that it causes more harm to the individual and society. drawsk our law inappropriate, common sense line. when we hate the idea, we have to respond with more speech, antidiscrimination laws, enforcing and i hate crime laws. direct harmactual caused by the speech, it can and should be punished. host: you write that service confirmed that most american adults do not know much about the first amendment, let alone how the supreme court has interpreted and applied it. many proponents of any constitutionally protected a speech are familiar with even the bedrock president of the first amendment. guest: we hear so many calls on
college campuses today to treat with a call while speech the same -- violent speech the same as other kinds of violence. i do not mean to single out students because people in this country throughout my lifetime have showed a lack of familiarity and support for speech. special --he more both more special than other kinds of conduct and less directly dangerous than other kinds of conduct. why is it special? for so many reasons it allows us to express our thoughts, explore our thoughts, convey our emotions. it also allows us as citizens of the democratic republic to exercise our responsibilities as citizens. it is essential for the pursuit
of truth, artistic expression, and to promote tolerance. on the other hand, while sticks and stones may break my bones, words do hurt. we have all been hurt by words. by havingspeech, some our hearts broken, but the hurt is indirect. it has to go through the intermediary function of our mind. psychologists and activists, many people say we can rise above the slings and arrows of hate speech by having our own sense of the committee and self-confidence, and we can hurte it and not let it us. host: why not censorship? what is the danger? is there any situation where censorship should happen? guest: this seems common sense, if words are dangerous, of
course they should be censored. it turns out that in practice it is at best an effective and at worst counterproductive. if you look at many comparable countries around the world that do censor what they find has a speech, usually speech that is disparaging word meaning on the basis of race and religion and so forth, those are inherently subjective concepts. they give enormous discretion to the authorities. exercisedetion is not in a way that is friendly to critics of the government, dissidents, members of minority groups and advocates of minority group rights. before the u.s. supreme court strongly protected free speech in this country, lost suppressing he speech and others were used disproportionately to censor any crusader for civil reform including abolitionists,
women's rights activists, activists for reproductive rights. it is not surprising that the power would be used to promote the status quo rather than help dismantle existing power structures. host: democrats (202) 748-8000. republicans (202) 748-8001. independents (202) 748-8002. we will go to harold in new jersey, republican. caller: good morning. guest: good morning. 95-year-old a veteran of world war ii, served in the 104th infantry division. we had 9000 casualties. you so happy to talk to because i like to talk about our gaveing documents, which us life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
obamaght years, president trying to take away life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness from all of our people. , ands so sad what he did he used all the power of the federal government to destroy his enemies. that, obviously, for example, the ones he hated the most were the ones who were speaking out, the tea party. the tea party essentially went back to our original founding. i am so interested in having you for anybody else talk about our founding documents and why today we do not refer to them -- them. president obama also try to destroy the constitution. what he did was executive
privilege, and whatever he did, he said himself, i have a telephone, and i will do whatever i want. then he used whatever he called it to take away all the rights. host: let's go back to your point. guest: thanks so much for having defended not only our national security in a physical sense but also our national security in terms of our ideals, our founding ideals as reflected in the constitution. i know that all members of the armed services taken oath or affirmation to uphold the constitution. that makes our military unique. else in the world they pledge allegiance to a particular government or official. ere our armed
services taken oath to an ideal. aclu,f the reason why the of which i'm still very active, never supports or opposes any candidate or official is because support for or opposition to civil liberties and constitutional principles cuts across ideological lines. every president, including president obama and president trump, take some actions that are consistent with the constitution and some that are inconsistent. we should constantly monitor and exercise our free speech rights to the size or praise as is praise ascriticize or is wanted. in terms of hate speech, there is no precise concept recognized in the law, but i will use it to
me hate that is used to convey hateful or discriminatory ideas. was excellent on that issue. as a target of hate speech himself and as a constitutional law professor, i think his words on that subject warrant special weight. he repeatedly said that the most effective and principled way to respond to hate speech is through more speech. memberscularly exhorted of minority groups, including minority students, for example he gave a commencement address at howard university at the end of his presidency, and he said it is especially important if you are advocating for racial justice or any other kind of social justice not to seek to silence the haters because that is simply going to gain more attention and sympathy for them,
but you have to learn to raise your own voices. that is what the civil rights activists did. they brought us a lot of progress. we still have a lot of estimate. it is going to be made through more speech, not less. carolinaol, south democrat. you are on the air. said -- ur guest caller: your guests and a lot of what i was going to say. president obama got raked over the coals from day one. the whole birther arguments and that obama was not a citizen of the country, which to me is hate speech, if it is that enough it others news on fox and right-wing outlets, and michelle obama was trash for wearing a sleeveless dress, and she is
somehow put out there as shameful when the current first lady has been a stripper and model. i saw photos of her. host: your point? caller: where does hate speech or imagery that is put out there in the media and then repeated enough, and what point does that become fake news, and how does that affect the american psyche? guest: those are excellent points. what you underscore is the apparent subjectivity -- inhere nt subjectivity in what is hate speech. many people have argued in this country and overseas that so-called fake news should be treated as hate speech. i applaud you and others in raising your voice is to criticize what you considered to be fake news or wrongful or erroneous opinions.
that is what your first amendment rights are for. the danger would be in creating laws that allow a government official to wield that enormous power to decide at some fake news consists of hate speech and therefore should be censored. in european countries that enforce hate speech laws, shockingly to me, many statements have been punished and even subjected to criminal penalties even though they are offered by politicians, candidates, even elected officials, and they are not targeting specific individuals. they are making general policy statements, which are seen to convey hateful views. think about how that would apply in this country when we have such fiercely contested debates about such sensitive policy issues as race and gender and
immigration. many general statements that are made by candidates left, right, and center might be seen by particular people as fake news and hate speech. i think most of us would strongly resist the idea that whoever holds the reins of power at that moment gets to press the censorship on. host: we will go to maryland. james is a republican. good morning. caller: i just wanted to say something about the american university -- not the american university, but some of the students using bananas and a noose and why you would consider that a threat. it is not articulate enough to be considered a threat. it is not saying we would do such and such to you. it is just imagery. it is nothing else. the fact that one group of people find that offensive should not be any reason to consider it a threat.
guest: that is an excellent point and absolutely correct that the mere fact that somebody or even many people subjectively consider something to be offensive or threatening is not enough to satisfy the legal standard. the term true threat or genuine threat because the legal concept is quite strict, appropriately, and i wanted to distinguish it from the way we loosely use the word threat in everyday speech. here is the legal standard. i hope we will agree on that. then we can talk about whether it is satisfied by the facts in the american university case. the legal standard is any expression where the speaker means to instill a reasonable fear, reasonable is an objective standard. a reasonable person.
not whether any particular person subjectively feels the fear. what a reasonable person in the position of somebody who sees that expression reasonably fear some kind of violence? as to the question of whether nonverbal expression is considered speech or in this case on protected speech, the answer has consistently been yes. that is why burning the american flag has been considered something that triggers -- that has sufficient expressive content that it triggers first amendment protection. band, displaying a sign. you get asked this question -- question, if you are an african-american on american university's campus, if you were a member of that sorority, and you are aware of
the historic significance of n ooses in this country, would you consider that -- would you be reasonably fear of being attacked? let me give you a dramatic example of the movie the godfather. somebody wakes up, and there is a horse's head in his bed. it is not saying you are going to be killed in so many words, but i think the majority of us would see that as even a more dramatic and compelling expression of precisely that message. host: why did you use the example of wearing an arm band? guest: that relates to a historically important supreme court decision to the rights of students and teachers, which are in debate today. pinker versus des moines school
district in 1989, and aclu case, in which the supreme court upheld the rights of teachers to to protestck armband the vietnam war. the antiwar position was extremely controversial in that part of the country especially, many students and faculty members had brothers and sisters, fathers who were serving in vietnam and who had even been killed. the school not unreasonably feared that there might be disruption and even violence as a result of students wearing this armband, and yet the supreme court said that the mere speculative fear that there might be violence is not enough. it pretty much articulated the tried and true test that i have mentioned before. the government cannot suppress the speech unless the government
can show that it is directly going to imminently cause harm and no other measures suggests will safety officers can prevent that harm. the court said that test was not satisfied in that case. host: for those of you interested in that case, it is part of our landmark cases series. we are in volume two. the season is almost over. we have two more programming episodes coming up. they happen at 9:00 p.m. eastern. you can watch the different cases online that we have delved into in this second series, and one of them being the tinker case. mary beth tinker was our guest for the program. we also interviewed her brother.
landmark cases, volume two, you can watch on monday night. guest: it is a fabulous show. i had the honor to be the guests to discuss another landmark case a couple weeks ago which is relevant to the topic today. host:a which one was that? guest: brandenburg v. ohio in which the supreme court unanimously first recognized this test that i have been talking about, that speech could only be suppressed if the government can show direct, intentional, likely harm that is going to occur imminently. host: we will go to aaron in indiana. thank you for waiting. you are on the air. caller: thank you. in the time that i have been callers beforeo me more or less address my question. i want to thank c-span and our
guest. you have excellent guests. ms. strossen, what is the future of free speech? i like to think that i tried to resist censorship with my free speech every day. i'm not a policy maker, and i guess all of us who are not policymakers daily feel ourselves being boxed in more and more by lawmakers every day. how do we really, effectively defend free speech in this country? guest: thank you so much for not only asking that question, which is the major reason i wrote the book, what we should do, what we can do to resist not only hatred but also censorship and violence and the other negative afflictions in our society. you have already answered that question yourself because you said that you are raising your voice everyday.
you are certainly doing that by calling into c-span. you are certainly doing that by asking me the question that you did. in this country, i am going to hold up my cato institute edition of the u.s. constitution , the constitution starts with people." "we the we the people are the governors of this country. we hold ultimate political power. those we elect are accountable to us. if we take freedom of speech for seriously and we object to measures our elected officials are taking or candidates are advocating that we believe are inconsistent with freedom of speech, that should be a very serious issue that propels us either to lobby them, advocate
to them to change their positions, or to vote against them. the, many years ago, one of first serious scholars of the first amendment, a harvard law professor named zechariah chafee said, in the long run in this country, we will have just as much freedom of speech as people want. but he meant by that is that those who are accountable to us will enforce freedom of speech if they feel that pressure from their constituents, and will not be supported of freedom of speech if their constituents show apathy. that even comes through in who is appointed to the supreme court. those are nominated by the president and either ratified by the senate or not.
if we take freedom of speech is a serious issue, that we don't want the president to nominate or confirm judges who do not have a record of supporting free speech, we can make our voices heard, and they will have an influence. thank you for continuing to do that. york,velma in new independent caller. caller: good morning. thank you for taking my call. -- like that he speech idea, that the terms and words used are, even in my family -- i came from a family of a multiplayer ground -- mu divisiveness, in our family, the way our is using, our leader
divisiveness, -- i think the rhetoric he is using is so hateful and dangers to our country, you know, that -- i don't even -- the idea that he shouldn't be there as a leader. i think he should be impeached because he is making it worse for the whole fabric of the country and dividing families with the way his rhetoric is. host: thank you. guest: you are certainly raising possible -- what would be a plau sible remedy under the constitution. members of the senate and the house have the power to impeach and eventually convict for impeachment. the constitutional standard is high crimes and misdemeanors. there is very little information about what would rise to that
standard. it is basically as congressman gerald ford said many years ago, it is whatever we who wield political power consider it to be. i hope you do not support what many european and other european countries that have hate speech allow criminal prosecution against a politician because you and many others believe the ideas to be hateful, especially when the ideas are addressing critically important public policy issues. i say that not only as a matter of principle but also as a matter of preserving her democracy and promoting equality. if somebody who is running for or holding political office harbors hateful ideas, isn't it
critically important for us to know that? if we had censorship laws, those kinds of ideas would most likely be self censored or put in sugarcoated terms so they could of a prosecution. -- evade prosecution. that is what has been shown to happen in many european countries. ofher than the crude forms hate speech, you have much more racism so those ideas actually spread rather than being countered. i will not speak for myself, let me quote barack obama and many other political activists left, right, and center, and i'm very happy to say that my book was endorsed people across the
ideological spectrum because this is something for all of us that care about individual rights and equality and democracy should be on the same page. we have to deal with these issues through raising her own voices, through open and honest debate where people who have hateful ideas can voice them, which makes it easier for the rest of us to respond to them and refute them. if you have a broad perspective, you will see the counter speech against hateful statements of president trump and others has strongly drowned out that hate speech. we saw that in the aftermath of charlottesville very dramatically where left, right, and center top politicians with the sole exception of trump at the beginning at least were strongly against those views.
we had many top business executives likewise. a couple advisory business councils to be president disbanded because they so strongly felt he had not strongly enough criticized the hateful speech. it is a more effective way to deal with the underlying problem. host: patricia in minneapolis, a republican. caller: good morning. i have a couple of things. it will take less than a minute. nadine mentioned the godfather and a severed horse had. -- head. i wonder what she thinks about kathy griffin and she held up a severed head of president trump. i wonder what does she think about all of the liberal colleges, universities that disallow conservative speech. something for c-span, c-span
censors, and it does it by focusing every day almost exclusively on negative stories and excludes any positive stories, just about, regarding president trump. thing, president trump did not express any he speech regarding charlottesville. he simply said that there were people there that were not nazis, that there were also people there that were protesting that were decent people. hate speech iss lying, and c-span lies every day when they say that they are fair and balanced. they are not. just look at their programming, almost 100% negative on trump. guest: thank you. it was cathy right?
host: patricia. guest: patricia. you are from my hometown. let me address what you said about charlottesville. please accept my apology if you thought i was taking that position. no, no, no. i was trying to illustrate that many people have accused him of hate speech. and if people disagree with that assessment. to me that illustrates the underlying problem that no two of us can possibly agree on what is an inherently subjective concept, especially when we're talking about the very fraught area of public and political debate about such contentious has race.our society
many people did complain that trump was not sufficiently condemnatory of the hate speech of others. i am not pretending to endorse either side substantively by gesture of pete that there is really room -- but just to repeat that there is really room for debate on those issues and that we should continue to debate them rather than to give the government the power to decide them. that is exactly what has happened in other countries. these hate speech laws become a tool for those in power to suppress their political opponents. made, other points they i think the next most important one is the concern about
conservative speakers on college campuses being disproportionately suppressed. i know that a lot of the coverage of the media has focused on a few high-profile incidents. i have to say, it is conservative media that do tend to focus on those examples of conservative speakers being shouted down or subject to violent attacks, but there are counterexamples where people with liberal views are being suppressed on campus. doneevidence -- i have not a study myself, but i have read studies that others have done -- some evidence that conservative media do not give equal time to those incidents. in the last couple weeks, there was a female muslim liberal professor at a california state university campus who tweeted
some negative commentary about barbara bush shortly after she learned that barbara bush had died. she accused her of being a racist and other negative statements, and that led to a storm of protests and a huge amount of pressure on the leadership of her university to take some disciplinary action. an investigation was initiated into her statement even though there was no dispute that this was her personal twitter account , had absolutely nothing to do with her responsibilities on campus. clearly protected by the same kind of first amendment principles that were recognized in the tinker case we discussed earlier. earlier, and i have not had time to fact check it, so i am not endorsing it, but i recommend it to your atention, which had done
systematic study of the censorship incidents on campus, and they concluded that overall it is liberal you must rather than conservatives that are being suppressed. i say it does not matter. no viewpoint should be suppressed demand because of disagreement with its ideas. that is a bedrock principle of the first amendment, and it is especially important to be of on college campuses. host: her last point. kathy griffith. guest: certainly holding up the severed head could be seen to be offensive, and i think that was the main criticism. it would not satisfy the true threat standard. i don't think donald trump would fear that shele or her viewers are going to sever his head or physically attacked him in any way. there was a case of most exactly on point during the vietnam era
where an african-american man was about to be drafted to fight in vietnam, and he said if they , theget a gun in my hands first man i am going to get in lbj,ze is lb -- sights is referring to lyndon baines johnson. he went on to say he is not going to make me kill my black brothers over there. he was clearly making a political statement, a statement about his views on racial justice, his views on the vietnam war. the supreme court said that is hyperbole. it is going overboard to make a political point about public affairs policy issues in a particularly dramatic way. it is not a punishable threat. the same would be true of kathy griffith. is "hate: why we
should resist it wit >> coming up this morning, the federal election commission on its ability to oversee campaign-finance laws. the center for public integrity. then a roundtable on the advanced placement of the u.s. government and what students can expect on the test. joining us, high school government teachers. they will take questions and calls from students. be sure to watch c-span's washington," live at 7:00 eastern. join the discussion. weekend, c-span's cities tour takes you to tyler, texas, with the help of our cable partners, to explore its literary scene and has three. today on book tv, author robert
sturgeon discusses his book about the book of the former texas lieutenant governor bill ratliff. >> everything he did the senate was in the problem-solving move. how did he fix this, make this better? he did that without ideology. he did that without partisanship. him greatly loved in austin. he was, hands-down, both parties, a person people could work with. >> on sunday on american history tv, we visit with abi evans, former engineer for the tyler district texas department of transportation, and the father of the atop the highway program. >> 1994, i took a trip to south dakota, the highway meeting. i had to give this teach to a civics club, and i challenge you
to adopt a highway, to get rid of litter. and of course, that was just part of my speech and i didn't expect anybody to jump up and do anything. the more i thought about that, it might be something we could try. >> then we will visit this mouth county historical society to look about the history of race at robert ely high school. >> the school board, all white, decided to name the school robert e lee high school, which, you know, the white community would say this is just on our past and our history, we have a rich history connected to the confederacy, but in the black community, this was very much seen as a sun in there i, a gesture of defiance. >> watch c-span's cities to her of tyler, texas today at noon
foundation, advocating in favor of capital punishment. he has written numerous briefs before the supreme court. watch "landmark cases" monday at 9:00 eastern on the spin and join the conversation. our hashtag is #landmarkcases. and we have resources on our website for background on each case, the "landmark cases" companion book, a link to the interactive constitution, and the podcast at c-span.org/landmarkcases. >> today, a group of historians discussed historic infrastructure project in aviation and roads, and how they have influenced today's infrastructure development. this is part of an event hosted by the national his receptor in washington, d.c.
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