Fox News host Megyn Kelly on Tuesday took apart a guest who claimed the Texas “draw Muhammad” exhibit that resulted in a failed attack by two gunmen somehow exceeded the limits of free speech because of its offensive nature.
“The more offensive the speech is, the more protection it needs!” Kelly said.
Syndicated radio host Richard Fowler told Kelly that, for once in his life, he agreed “100 percent” with Fox host Bill O’Reilly, who called the event “stupid.”
“As Donald Trump put it, be smart, not stupid,” he told Kelly during one segment of “The Kelly File.” “Why would you invoke attacks on the people coming to your event over something so ridiculous?”
“We in this country need to limit our constitutional rights — we have to limit our free speech rights — lest we invite attack, or, as O’Reilly put it ‘spur an attack against us?’” she shot back.
Fowler said the First Amendment comes with limits, and likened the event to shouting “fire” in a crowded theater.
“You are fundamentally confused and wrong,” Kelly said, and cited the 2011 U.S. Supreme Court case that affirmed the Westboro Baptist Church’s right to protest the funerals of soldiers.
“I’m not condoning the Westboro Baptist Church,” Fowler said.
“The speech! The more offensive the speech is, the more protection it needs! That’s how the First Amendment works!” Kelly instructed him with her voice raised. “You can defend the First Amendment right to say it without aligning yourselves with the message!”
“The First Amendment does give us that right,” Fowler admitted. “It doesn’t mean we should go out there and do it!”
“When people exercise their First Amendment rights, and two jihadis show up to murder them, the relevant question at that time is not what were they saying,” Kelly emphasized. “The relevant question is what are we going to do about this.”
“If they didn’t have the event, the jihadis would have never shown up,” Fowler countered. “It’s just that simple.”
“Wow. Richard,” Kelly concluded. “I am concerned about the America you would have us live in.”
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