In an interesting little experiment, Dan Joseph of the Media Research Center brings a fake petition onto a college campus in Virginia to ask students to sign to allow the government to legally monitor all of Fox News’ employees communications–email, phone, text etc. He stood on a sidewalk on campus for about 45 minutes, and managed to collect 11 signatures from students who thought it was a great idea for the government to spy on Fox News. But it was encouraging to see in the video that not all of the students he approached were okay with the petition. In fact a number of students who expressed disagreement with Fox still refused to sign the petition, citing the Constitutional rights of Fox News, such as freedom of speech, freedom of press, and freedom against unreasonable search and seizure.
What is sad about this video is that Dan Joseph acts almost comically patronizing towards the people who eventually sign the petition. Could these students really not see that he was making fun of them? I actually cringe while watching the video, because I am embarrassed for some of the students that sign the petition. Still though, I did not come away from the video with an entirely bad feeling. A number of the students who expressed liberal beliefs or disagreement with Fox still cited their rights as a good reason not to monitor their communications.
Reactions were mixed. While a handful of students appealed to a “the First Amendment” and the right to privacy, several described their “hate” for the news channel.
“Can you give me some time to think about this?,” asked one student before eventually providing his signature.
Another student expressed frustration that such a surveillance program would likely conflict with constitutional law.
“It’s virtually impossible but its a good cause,” she said. “I like your cause.”
I think people should reflect on this and really ask themselves if they are comfortable taking away the rights of someone they disagree with, just because they disagree. It is often liberals who will be heard talking about tolerance and understanding, but when it comes to politics many lose sight of what is right and are blinded by their ideology. Certainly I would hate to see MSNBC monitored in the same way by a conservative president, as it would obviously leave the door open to any organization with opposite ideas as those in power being targeted. The first step is probably picking up where the public schools failed, and really teaching people about the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and why the protections in the document matter.