I have been very critical of Move On’s “Betray Us” ad. I thought the Senate’s censure resolution was silly but not serious. A waste of time but not a threat. Perhaps this description by Glenn Greenwald of a threat to PUNISH speech, in this case, Columbia University’s, for its decision to invite the Iranian President Ahmadenijad to speak there, will illustrate the difference between criticizing speech and punishing speech:
In an interview with The New York Sun, the speaker of the Assembly, Sheldon Silver, said lawmakers, outraged over Columbia’s insistence on allowing the Iranian president to speak at its World Leaders Forum, would consider reducing capital aid and other financial assistance to the school.
“There are issues that Columbia may have before us that obviously this cavalier attitude would be something that people would recall,” Mr. Silver said. “Obviously, there’s some degree of capital support that has been provided to Columbia in the past. These are things people might take a different view of . . . knowing that this is that kind of an institution” . . .
“It’s not going to go away just because this episode ends. Columbia University has to know . . . that they will be penalized,” an assemblyman of Brooklyn, Dov Hikind, who also attended the rally, said. . . .
Penalized. Punished. Not criticized. This makes all the difference in the world to me. Legally. And Substantively. Censuring Move On with a tootless sense of the Senate bill is silly. What Silver and Hikind propose is a violation of the First Amendment. The differences are stark. Where’s the blogswarm on this? Where’s the concern for free speech?