On Thursday night's All In with Chris Hayes, the MSNBC host continued the discussion about Pamela Geller's “Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest” in Garland, Texas, as much of America has done all week. As part of the discussion, Chris Hayes said something that might seem surprising coming from someone of his particular political bent and certainly from someone at his particular network.
Hayes offered one of the best summaries of exactly why it was so important not only that Geller be permitted to hold the event, as she was, but that the reason for the necessity of such an event be understood, as it certainly was not.
"If we were going to do a segment that was about someone that was advertising on the network, and I was kind of on the fence about it or actually didn't even like the segment, right? I thought it was a little unfair maybe. But then someone came to us and said 'you can't do that segment because of an advertiser', I'd be like, well now we have to do the segment. Because it has to be the case that we can do that segment."
It is hard to think of a better example of the principle at play here. The threat of murder, the threat of terror, the decree that we must obey or be put to death, is precisely the reason that an event like Geller's was and is so vital to our expression and defense of our freedom of speech.
Arguments about not being intentionally mean or offensive to a particular group, or not being unfair to an advertiser, go out the window at precisely the moment the aggrieved group tells you to stop or be stopped, to submit or be killed.
Chris Hayes understands and illustrates the point perfectly. Would that more members of our free press understood and stood for the same.