Tags: Terror in Texas | CNN | Chris Cuomo | Twitter | First Amendment

CNN's Cuomo Ignites First Amendment War on Twitter

By    |   Wednesday, 06 May 2015 03:26 PM

Chris Cuomo may not have intended to incite a Twitter war, but that is exactly what happened Tuesday when the CNN anchor said he questioned whether the First Amendment protected hate speech.

"It doesn't. Hate speech is excluded from protection. Don't just say you love the Constitution . . . read it," Cuomo tweeted.

By arguing during a Twitter conversation about the constitutionality of hate speech, Cuomo committed the social media equivalent of yelling "fire" in a crowded theater.

Glenn Greenwald, a reporter for The Guardian and ally of former CIA analyst Edward Snowden, took issue with Cuomo's assertion that there is an "exception" to First Amendment protections.

"Such a painfully dumb tweet! @ChrisCuomo: can you point to where this free speech "exception" is in US Constitution?"

Greenwald followed up with another dig at Cuomo, who holds a law degree from New York City's Fordham University.

"What's most notable about the @ChrisCuomo debacle isn't the ignorance but fact that it's a *journalist advocating free speech "exceptions."

The liberal magazine Salon characterized Cuomo's comments as "boneheaded" and noted that he was "spanked" after making the free-speech gaffe.

Cuomo said the exception was rooted in "Chaplinsky," a reference to the 1942 Supreme Court case of Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, which established the "fighting words" doctrine.

"There are certain well-defined and narrowly limited classes of speech, the prevention and punishment of which have never been thought to raise any constitutional problem. These include the lewd and obscene, the profane, the libelous, and the insulting or 'fighting' words, those which by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace," wrote Justice Frank Murphy, according to Mediaite.

The debate continued into Wednesday morning, when Cuomo continued to defend his position:

"@MACHTink:more offensive speech is, the more protection it needs! That's how the First Amendment works! UNTIL cross to fighting words."

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Chris Cuomo may not have intended to incite a Twitter war, but that is exactly what happened Tuesday when the CNN anchor said he questioned whether the First Amendment protected hate speech.
CNN, Chris Cuomo, Twitter, First Amendment
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2015-26-06
Wednesday, 06 May 2015 03:26 PM
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