I already posted this video today, but due its contents, it deserves more attention. This line in particular caught my attention.
"In the age of the internet and the way that any knucklehead who says something can post it up and suddenly it travels around the world, you know every country has to recognize that the best way to marginalize that kind of speech is to ignore it."
Obama said something similar in his UN speech today.
I know there are some who ask why we don’t just ban such a video. The answer is enshrined in our laws: our Constitution protects the right to practice free speech. Here in the United States, countless publications provoke offense. Like me, the majority of Americans are Christian, and yet we do not ban blasphemy against our most sacred beliefs. Moreover, as President of our country, and Commander-in-Chief of our military, I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day, and I will always defend their right to do so. Americans have fought and died around the globe to protect the right of all people to express their views – even views that we disagree with.
We do so not because we support hateful speech, but because our Founders understood that without such protections, the capacity of each individual to express their own views, and practice their own faith, may be threatened. We do so because in a diverse society, efforts to restrict speech can become a tool to silence critics, or oppress minorities. We do so because given the power of faith in our lives, and the passion that religious differences can inflame, the strongest weapon against hateful speech is not repression, it is more speech – the voices of tolerance that rally against bigotry and blasphemy, and lift up the values of understanding and mutual respect.
I know that not all countries in this body share this understanding of the protection of free speech. Yet in 2012, at a time when anyone with a cell phone can spread offensive views around the world with the click of a button, the notion that we can control the flow of information is obsolete.
"Marginalize" that "kind of free speech? Who decides who the "knuckleheads" are? Who decides who is fit or unfit to post information on the internet? The government? Is the President of the United States actually implying if he had the power or ability, he would suppress free speech but is simply incapable of doing so due to technology and access to the internet? Based on his pro-free speech remarks included in his speech I would hope not, but I also don't see the need to include a slam on "a time when anyone with a cell phone can spread offensive views around the world with the click of a button." Why is he even discussing the option of control of information?