There are several great organizations that monitor First Amendment issues. One of the best is the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University.
In a recent post, Ken Paulson, the Center’s president, compares the developing Hank Williams Jr. incident to the Dixie Chicks scandal from a few years back. I agree with Paulson’s analysis: these aren’t First Amendment questions, but demonstrate how you interpret free speech issues.
An excerpt of Paulson’s post is below. You can read the entire piece by clicking here.
Here’s a quick two-step self-test of how you really feel about free expression.
Step one: What did you think about Hank Williams Jr. comparing President Obama to Adolph Hitler? Should Monday Night Football stop using Williams’ “Are You Ready for Some Football?”
Step two: How did you feel about Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks telling a London audience that she was embarrassed that President Bush was from her home state of Texas? Was Cumulus Broadcasting right to ban the Dixie Chicks from airplay on their radio stations?
Those who defended the Dixie Chicks on free-speech grounds should be among those most vocal about Williams’ right to share his views.
And those who applauded the trampling and burial of Dixie Chicks CDs should now be calling for a boycott of Williams.