If we are in turn accused of wanting to repeal the First Amendment, or at least that part of it that guarantees freedom of the press, we should deny the charge: No one is talking repeal here, we must insist. Rather, we are only talking about “common sense” restrictions or regulations.
Those in the press can maintain their freedom of speech—but only if they really need it. That is, if they are exposing or otherwise challenging those in government—and not acting as their propagandists—then and only then should they be free to continue doing so. However, freedom of the press will not extend to those media figures intent upon serving as apologists for the powerful.
To make sure that we apply the First Amendment in a “common sense” way, those who own and manage media organizations—and possibly those in their employment—will be required to submit their coverage of the events and people of the day every so often to a bi-partisan, independent Congressional commission.
If it is established that their networks and publications have taken an insufficiently adversarial stance toward the government, then a penalty will be leveled. This is what will happen the first time around. If it is subsequently discovered that those who are supposed to be pit bulls are actually poodles, then their business will be extinguished.
The First Amendment is not violated here, we can remind our critics. Quite the contrary, in fact, for these “common sense” restrictions will preserve and strengthen it. They will make sure that its purpose is fulfilled.
Somehow, I doubt very much that those who are all too eager to apply these arguments to the Second Amendment will be so eager to accept them when it comes to the First Amendment.
Jack Kerwick received his doctoral degree in philosophy from Temple University. His area of specialization is ethics and political philosophy. He is a professor of philosophy at several colleges and universities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Jack blogs at Beliefnet.com: At the Intersection of Faith & Culture. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or friend him on facebook. You can also follow him on twitter.