Dec. 4, 2013
Dec. 2, 2013
Rabbi Moshe Grylak: Attack on Chanukah's scholar-warriors an affront to all people of faith
U.S. boxes in Israel, not Iran: Surrender in Geneva
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom
: Vanessa Bayer & Jacob, the Bar Mitzvah Boy; Adam Levine, nickname "the Bear Jew," is People's Sexiest; Eastwoods Need to Say "Kinehora!"
The Kosher Gourmet by Kim Ode:
Fried and gone to heaven: Dense, fried Slovenian doughnut-like rolls, krofi, on Chanukah is a treat you'll want to eat all year long
: Tracking babies' eyes, scientists find signs of autism in 2-month-olds
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom
: Hunger Games: Jewish Connections; A 'Minyan'of Jewish Celebs Recite the Gettysburg Address On-line; Walter Matthau's Reaction to JFK's Death
Nancy A. Youssef :
Christians too afraid to complain as treatment in new 'democracy' worsens
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom
: Jewish MLB managers; Past and Present; Movie News and Dancing W/the Stars Shocker; Paula Abdul's Israeli bat mitzvah and bio facts rarely reported
Jewish World Review
Feb 28, 2012/ 5 Adar, 5772
Do We Have a Right to Lie?
I'm not sure I ever mentioned this, but before I became a journalist I used to play centerfield for the New York Yankees. Before that, I was the conductor of the New York Philharmonic. But I couldn't put up with the egos in the string section so I quit and became a world famous doctor who pioneered heart transplant surgery.
Okay, I'm a liar. Sue me. Better yet, call the cops! You'll be wasting your time, of course. It's not against the law to lie. Except sometimes it is, as Xavier Alvarez found out.
Xavier Alvarez went around telling people that he played hockey for the Detroit Red wings, that he was married to a Mexican starlet, and that he rescued the American ambassador during the Iranian hostage crisis. None of that is true and the fact that Alvarez lied about it isn't against the law.
Here's what is, as explained in a New York Times op-ed by William Bennett Turner, who teaches a course on freedom of speech at the University of California at Berkeley: "In 2007, while introducing himself at a meeting of a California water board, he said that he was a retired Marine who had been awarded the Medal of Honor (both lies). He was quickly exposed as a phony and pilloried in the community and press as an 'idiot' and the 'ultimate slime.'"
But it didn't end there. The federal government dragged Alvarez into court and prosecuted him under the Stolen Valor Act, which says you can't falsely claim to have been awarded a military medal. And if you say you won the Medal of Honor, you can go to prison for up to a year. Alvarez was convicted but appealed to the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, which said the law is unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech.
The case tis now before the U.S. Supreme Court. But it's not about whether the constitution gives us a right to lie. It's about how much power the federal government has over our lives. It's about whether the government can punish us if we say something that isn't true about ourselves even when our lie doesn't hurt any particular individual; doesn't cheat anyone; and doesn't get in the way of the government doing its job.
Professor Turner says, "The court should rule in favor of Mr. Alvarez. Harmless fibbing should not be a federal offense."
Free speech, guaranteed under the First Amendment, of course, doesn't mean we can say anything we want anytime we want. You can yell "fire" all you want in your living room, but not in the proverbial crowded theater. You can say your next-door neighbor is a bank robber and a child molester to yourself and maybe even to your wife. But if you go door to door and tell everyone on the block that lie, don't expect the U.S. Constitution to protect you.
So there are limitations on free speech. But should lying about being in the military and getting medals be counted among those limitations? The government says the law serves an "important" government interest. Lying about military medals cheapens both the meaning and the reputation of the medals, according to the government. Maybe, but that's going to be hard to prove.
Besides, as Professor Turner says, where will this end. "If the Supreme Court were to accept the government's argument, other disconcerting legislation could easily follow. Congress could enact a law that criminalized false claims by political candidates about their qualifications for office, or false claims about their opponents. Surely the government has an 'important' interest in preventing voter deception."
Xavier Alvarez is a jerk, that's for sure. But do we really want jerks thrown into jail? I'm with the professor on this one. Liars will be found out. They will be isolated and shunned. It is their reputation that will be tarnished, not the reputation of medals or the heroes who wear them.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
Comment by clicking here.
JWR contributor Bernard Goldberg, the television news reporter and author of several bestselling books, among them, Bias, a New York Times number one bestseller about how the media distort the news. He is widely seen as one of the most original writers and thinkers in broadcast journalism. Mr. Goldberg covered stories all over the world for CBS News and has won 10 Emmy awards for excellence in journalism. He now reports for the widely acclaimed HBO broadcast Real Sports.
He is a graduate of Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey and a member of the school's Hall of Distinguished Alumni and proprietor of BernardGoldberg.com.
• 02/16/12: Can Obama Win Re-Election by Promising Free Stuff?
• 02/06/12: The 5 Stages of Mitt
• 02/02/12: Florida Has Spoken; Cue the Fat Lady
• 01/30/12: The Other Global Warming Story
• 01/26/12: They See Racists Everywhere . . .
• 01/24/12: The Arrogant and Clueless Mainstream Media
• 01/23/12: Gingrich Wins SC --- Media Help Big Time
• 01/18/12: A New Entry for 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America
• 01/12/12: The Dream Ticket Could Be a Conservative Nightmare
• 01/11/12: Now 'Anybody But Romney' Has a Name
• 12/30/11: I Have a Confession to Make . . .
• 12/27/11: Know When to Hold 'em and Know When to Fold 'em
• 12/20/11: NBC News, the KKK and the State of Journalism
• 12/19/11: Mitt and Newt: Two Rich Guys Arguing Over Money
• 12/13/11: Donald Trump Is the Greatest; Just Ask Him
• 12/12/11: Rob Peter to Pay Paul: Bad Economics! Good Politics?
• 12/07/11: Yeah . . . and Fish Don't Know They're Wet, Either
• 12/06/11: Did the Media Play Fair with Herman Cain?
• 12/05/11: Obama to Blue-Collar America: Adios!
• 11/29/11: We Can Stop the Crazy Train Before It Gets to Greece
• 11/22/11: Who Can Beat Obama?
• 11/15/11: The Dumbest Media Question I've Ever Heard
• 11/09/11: What If Herman Cain Did It?
• 11/08/11: What If Herman Cain Were a Lib?
• 11/02/11: Who Can Beat Obama?
• 11/01/11: We're Approaching the Tipping Point
• 10/25/11: A Response to the Angry Purists
• 10/18/11: They're Waiting for Reagan to Hit the Campaign Trail
• 10/12/11: Read This!!! --- But Only If You Have Nothing Better To Do
• 10/04/11: Can Obama Win Re-Election?
• 09/27/11: It's NOT the Economy Stupid, It's Theology
• 09/20/11: Bad News on the Doorstep
• 09/09/11: Hypocrisy!
• 09/06/11: Back to the Future
• 08/24/11: Hillary vs. Obama in 2012? It'll Never Happen --- I Don't Think
• 08/22/11: Warning: Conservatives May Be Harmful to Your Mental Health
• 08/17/11: Warren Buffett, Coddled Billionaire
• 08/11/11: Too Much Balance in the Media?
• 08/04/11: All Aboard the Crazy Train
• 08/01/11: Liberal Hate Speech
• 07/25/11: With All Due Respect, Go Fly a Kite
• 07/20/11: Who Is A Natural Born Citizen?
• 07/18/11: Guess Who's Not Paying Their Fair Share
• 07/12/11: Against More Taxes? You May Be a Terrorist!
• 07/11/11: Casey Anthony: The TV Show
• 07/06/11: Standards and Double Standards at MSNBC
• 06/29/11: Is Jon Stewart A Racist?
• 06/21/11: Let's Play the Race Card --- Just for Fun Of Course
• 06/20/11: Sarah Palin and Weiner's Weiner
• 06/03/11: Memo to GOP: Turn Mr. Obama into Mr. Yesterday
• 05/20/11: I Get Letters From People Who Should Be Locked Up
• 05/09/11: Is Torture Ever Justified?
• 05/02/11: The Promiscuous Use of the R Word
• 04/19/11: The Man Behind the Million Dollar Smile
• 04/12/11: What's the Difference Between Libs in Politics and Libs in the Media?
• 04/08/11: An Idea Whose Time Has Come and Gone
• 03/28/11: The Pundits Are Driving Me Crazy --- And You Thought Qadaffi Is Nuts
• 03/14/11: No Liberal Bias at NPR Just Ask NPR
• 03/10/11: The media's frustration
• 03/01/11: Progressives Lost in Time . . .
• 02/23/11: The Lamestreams Strike Again --- This Time in Madison
• 02/03/11: You MUST Own a Gun --- Or Else!
• 01/20/11: It Was Horrible, I tell you … HORRIBLE!
• 01/11/11: Here We Go Again . . .
• 01/06/11: You Go, Oprah
• 12/28/10: A Year-Ender --- The MSM and Obama's Fall from Grace
• 12/14/10: Thank Heaven for Rich People
• 12/02/10: The Phony Nobility of Wikileaks
© 2011, Bernard Goldberg
Richard Z. Chesnoff
Frank J. Gaffney
Victor Davis Hanson
A. Barton Hinkle
Judge A. Napolitano
Debra J. Saunders
J. D. Crowe
David Ray Skinner
Ask Doctor K