When Alex Jones was found guilty of defaming eight families over his fantastical characterizations of the Sandy Hook school shooting that took the lives of twenty children and six adults, few defended his indiscriminate comments as an exercise of First Amendment rights.
Implicating grieving private citizens in nefarious schemes of which they had no part can’t be categorized as a clear-cut case of protected speech. Neither is yelling ‘fire’ in a crowded theater. Yet, to the tyrant, all revolutions begin with ideas—and that’s why the threshold for government to abridge “the freedom of speech” has always been very high in societies that value liberty.
In fact, it’s almost ‘nonexistent’ if you’re talking about public figures who have to show “actual malice…with reckless disregard” no matter what the press might say about them.
Perhaps they should be careful what they wish for.
Jones’ culpability notwithstanding, the controversial commentator’s case was always going to be a trial run for what the media really wanted: special counsel Jack Smith’s indictment of the former President for “a conspiracy to defraud the United States.”
The latest in an obvious onslaught of politically motivated charges doesn’t charge Trump with ‘insurrection’ or ‘seditious conspiracy,’ not even incitement—but, as you can see below, “pervasive and destabilizing lies about election fraud.”
The whole thing sounds eerily (and ironically) familiar to the recent conviction of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny on charges of “extremism.”
It isn’t just bizarre. The indictment is a work of legal fiction that doesn’t tie Trump to Q’Anon or anyone else on January 6th.
In fact, it names no co-conspirators at all. Instead, the charge basically accuses him of listening to his lawyer’s opinion on the Elections Clause and then exercising his right (or duty if the President thought there was voter fraud) to petition Congress for a “redress of grievances.”
In a nutshell, the government first acknowledges Trump’s First Amendment freedoms, then criminalizes them.
Now, it’s easy to point to the palpable double standard that lets so many Democrats off the hook for actually deceiving voters. Hillary Clinton, Adam Schiff, Joe Biden have all lied repeatedly about elections. Comey, Clapper and Brennan tried to throw one. The Biden family flaunts the rule of law, amassing millions of unaccounted-for dollars while in ‘public service;’ Trump loses money in office and gets indicted.
Democrat hatchet-man Jamie Raskin’s first order of business when he came to Congress at the same time I did was to question the 2016 election before he tried to invoke the 25th Amendment over Trump’s mental capacity.
As they are over the burning of St. John’s Church in D.C., forcing then-President Trump into a bunker. Or the flames that engulfed the 3rd police precinct in Minneapolis as authorities stood down launching an orgy of urban lawlessness that continues to this day.
None of these liberal false narratives—not to mention Russian collusion, Chinese lab leaks and Hunter’s laptop—would have been possible without the deliberate dissembling by corporate media. So, if Trump is liable for so-called deceptions, what’s to be done with a Fourth Estate that’s been spewing real ones?
The partisan press will not stop with Trump. They didn’t after Nicolas Sandmann and Kyle Rittenhouse. No, the media want ALL the ‘conspiracy theorists.’ Vaxx deniers, election deniers, global warming deniers … you name it. The Wall Street Journal runs daily reminders on how hot summer is and Business Insider ‘identifies’ 130 members of Congress who have questioned ‘climate science.’
The hanging judge awaits.
In fact, the one overseeing the Trump case is a fellow Barack Obama traveler along with Smith. Tanya Chutkan not only worked at Democrat law firm Boies, Schiller, & Flexner LLP (yes, that Davis Boies), but eventually had to recuse herself from Hillary’s Fusion GPS ‘dossier’ donnybrook ostensibly due to her former firm’s connections.
America has flirted with this sort of chilling dystopia before. The Alien & Sedition Acts, the suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus and, of course, the infamous Espionage Act, solely designed to crush dissent during the Great War. How telling that the latter has been resurrected in the Trump Mar-A-Lago raid case—where more than a few observers are wondering why Smith used an out-of-state grand jury to indict Trump in Florida.
Back in the day, members of the press fought government efforts to assault fundamental liberties. Now, they are the swamp’s biggest cheerleaders, eagerly tainting a nationwide jury pool by painting their political enemies in a false light. Indeed, the media’s deliberate reliance on the scurrilous Southern Poverty Law Center’s false designations of ‘hate group’ for those it doesn’t like would make Goebbels blush.
“If you repeat a lie often enough,” the fascist propagandist once said, “people will believe it, and you will even come to believe it yourself.”
This is America’s existential crisis.
When Jane Fonda was asked what pro-abortion advocates could do “besides marching and protesting” in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, the far-left activist said, “Well, I’ve thought of murder,” before glaring back at her characteristically stupefied hosts on ABC’s daytime comedy, The View.
Hanoi Jane, ever adept at walking things back, later insisted that her “body language and tone made it clear to those in the room – and to anyone watching – that I was using hyperbole to make a point.”
She needn’t worry. The same PBS Newshour that thought hyperbole was ‘insurrection’ when they were encouraging viewers to watch Trump’s use of the word “‘fight’ or ‘fighting’ 20 times in rally speech” didn’t think Fonda’s threat aimed at pro-life lawmakers was newsworthy.
And that’s the way it is.
Former Congressman Jason Lewis is the author of Party Animal, The Truth About President Trump, Power Politics and the Partisan Press. He also writes at jasonlewis.substack.com.
This article was originally published on the author’s Substack page, which can be viewed here.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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