Over the past two days Fox News’s Megyn Kelly has forcefully defended free speech against those who would sacrifice it to the murderous threats of jihadis.
Two nights ago she responded to those who have been attacking Pamela Geller for holding a Mohammed cartoon contest in Garland, Texas. Geller’s critics have been notably hesitant to condemn the jihadi terrorists who wanted to shoot up the event.
One recalls that when Seattle cartoonist Molly Norris suggested a similar contest, the FBI decided that they could not protect her. So they made her change her identity and disappear. Defenders of free speech were notably silent.
Fox News reports Kelly’s commentary:
On "The Kelly File" tonight, Megyn Kelly reacted to the disturbing fallout from a terror attack on a Muhammad cartoon contest in Garland, Texas.
Almost immediately after the attack, people began criticizing the organizers of the event, not the gunmen, for using their right to free speech to incite violence.
"Over the last 72 hours, we have heard the event organizers condemned as being too provocative, too stupid, even for inviting their own attempted murder," Megyn said.
"If this is where American sentiment stands on this issue, then the jihadis are officially winning," Megyn said, pointing out that the terrorists' goal was to shut people up.
"There may be a time and place to discuss whether this kind of discourse is helpful to our country, to our fight with the jihadis and so on," Megyn said. "But within hours of an attempted murder of the very folks under attack, the reaction is, 'Well, you asked for it.'"
"Well, they did not ask for it. In this country, we have every right to say what we want to say about Muhammad or anyone else for that matter. And the rest of society can condemn this group's speech as a matter of decorum, but how about waiting a beat until the crime scene has been cleared?"
Megyn asserted that by rushing to attack those who were targeted, the press drew a moral equivalence between those who speak words some find offensive and those who would kill over such words.
Last night, Kelly’s impassioned follow-up was applauded by Alan Dershowitz and praised by National Review’s Rich Lowry. When the transcript is online I will happily share it.