Want to know how the left really feels about free speech? Look no further than Huffington Post editor and co-founder Arianna Huffington.
Huffington appeared on MSNBC's Nov. 19 "Countdown" to discuss a report by the Anti-Defamation League that alleges Fox News host Glenn Beck is "the most important mainstream media figure who has repeatedly helped to stoke fires of anti-government anger" and therefore endangering society.
"It would be nice to think of Glenn Beck just as a joke, as fodder for this show and the "Daily Show" and others that point out how stupid some of this stuff is," "Countdown" host Keith Olbermann said. "But this report, you know, suggests something else, this is - fear-monger-in-chief term is frightening."
Huffington agreed with Olbermann's assertion, but she took it a step further and suggested Beck's alleged fear-mongering warrants an exemption from the First Amendment, otherwise known as the "shouting fire in a crowded theater" precedent.
"It is frightening," Huffington replied. "Well, I would say the fear-monger-in-chief title should still be reserved for Dick Cheney, even in retirement. But barring that, there is something that we need to really pay attention to with Glenn Beck. We cannot just dismiss him. Because the truth of the matter is that there is a good reason why we have an exemption to the free speech protection by the First Amendment when we say you cannot shout 'fire' in a crowded theater."
Huffington declared that likening Obama's policies to ideologies prominent in Europe during the 20th Century, or anything else with an "-ism" attached to it is "irresponsible."
"And he's doing that every night. He's basically using images of violence to bring together with all that he's accusing the Obama administration of, which varies from racism to communism, Nazism and everything else in between. So, all that has definitely an impact. I believe words matter, language matters and he's using it in incredibly irresponsible ways night after night."