This comic perfectly explains why Laura Ingraham's 'free speech' fight is nonsense.

The best vacations leave you feeling renewed and invigorated, ready to take on the world.

You spend a week on the shore somewhere or at Disneyland or at home binging Netflix and return to work feeling newly energized and inspired.

You know what I'm talking about? Laura Ingraham sure does.


After taking a "pre-planned" Easter vacation (which just so happened to coincide with advertisers dropping her show after she mocked Parkland survivor David Hogg), Ingraham returned to Fox News on April 9 to deliver a searing rant about how conservatives are being persecuted and shut down in America.

Ingraham's return to the air included a vow to "protect" the First Amendment.

Upon her return, Ingraham revealed that her show would feature a new segment. It's called "Defending the First," and according to ABC News, Ingraham has promised that she'll "expose the enemies of the First Amendment, of free expression, and every thought while showcasing those brave voices making a difference."

Ingraham followed this up with an impassioned plea for anyone who's been the subject of First Amendment violations to call on her for aid: "If you have been subjected to threats or intimidation because of your speech, I want to know about it," she said. "Tweet me, because without free speech and a free conscience, we are not truly a free people."

Is a boycott really a violation of the First Amendment though?

In her speech, Ingraham referred to herself as a "victim" of a boycott. The reality, though, is a little different. Ingraham's speech was not curtailed by the government, which is what the First Amendment is about.

Whenever this subject is brought up, I think of this XKCD comic, which is a nice reminder of which rights the First Amendment protects. (Hint: It's not the right to a TV show.)

Comic by XKCD, used with permission.

Let's break it down further:

Had Ingraham been arrested, thrown in jail, or otherwise detained by agents of the government, then yes, she would absolutely have a point.

As the comic perfectly explains, however, as much as Ingraham may like to think of herself as a victim, freedom of speech doesn't protect you from the consequences of the things you say. Nor can it force anyone to listen to you if what you've said isn't to their liking.

So if you malign the survivor of a mass shooting for not getting into a college and advertisers decide that's not where they want to put their money, their refusal isn't curtailing any civil liberties.

Boycotting is a legal and time-honored tradition of voting with one's money.

While Ingraham paints boycotting as something only "liberals" do, we must remember that conservatives are not new to cutting off businesses they do not agree with.

In 2017, conservatives boycotted Keurig (in the strangest way) when it stopped advertising on Sean Hannity's show. They also boycotted Nordstrom after it dropped Ivanka Trump's line. When Target announced a move to be more inclusive of the trans community in 2016, a boycott reportedly led the chain to lose millions of dollars.

President Donald Trump is no stranger to calling for boycotts either. While campaigning in 2015, he suggested Starbucks should be boycotted for not putting "Merry Christmas" on their cups. And in 2017, he called for NFL fans to walk out of games if players kneeled during the national anthem and said that protesting players should be fired.

Will Ingraham be championing those that have been hurt by these boycotts as well?

Let's not forget that Ingraham was making these points on her nationally broadcast talk show.

The idea that she's a victim feels a little hollow when you realize Ingraham's speaking from a national pulpit and earning millions of dollars while demanding compassion and righteous indignation from her legions of supporters — supporters she is allowed to speak at on a regular basis without fear of repercussions even as she refers to those who oppose her as "Stalinist." (FYI: Stalin would have never stood for this kind of free-wheeling invective on public media.)

You may remember the time Ingraham was accused of doing the Nazi salute, accused Hillary Clinton of doing the same thing in retaliation, and then still ended up with her own show instead of being prosecuted? Sounds a lot like free speech to me.

The First Amendment affords us all the right to speak out.

Defending the First Amendment makes perfect sense, but as XKCD so brilliantly points out, we owe it to ourselves and one another to understand what we're defending first.

Ingraham's talking points will surely rile up her fanbase. But her rhetoric — that any criticism of conservatives is tantamount to First Amendment violation — is disingenuous and divisive.

The First Amendment protects Ingraham's right to say what she wants. It doesn't mean anyone has to listen.

More

Image by Brent Connelly from Pixabay and sixthformpoet / Twitter

Twitter user Matt, who goes by the name @SixthFormPoet, shared a dark love story on Twitter that's been read by nearly 600,000 people. It starts in a graveyard and feels like it could be the premise for a Tim Burton film.

While it's hard to verify whether the story is true, Matt insists that it's real, so we'll believe him.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

"Clay's tallest story" is one we should all stop to listen to, no matter how much we think we know about mental health. What starts off as a forgettable fishing video quickly turns into a powerful metaphor about mental health.

What would you do if an unexpected gust of wind pushed your boat out to sea? You'd call for help. It's so obvious, why would anyone think differently? But when it comes to our mental health, things often appear so much more unnecessarily complicated. Thanks for the reminder, Clay!


Clay’s Tallest Story www.youtube.com

Heroes
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Approximately 10% of the population is left-handed, and the balance between lefties and righties has been the same for almost 5,000 years. People used to believe that left-handed people were evil or unlucky. The word "sinister" is even derived from the Latin word for "left."

In modern times, the bias against lefties for being different is more benign – spiral notebooks are a torture device, and ink gets on their hands like a scarlet letter. Now, a new study conducted at the University of Oxford and published in Brain is giving left-handers some good news. While left-handers have been struggling with tools meant for right-handers all these years, it turns out, they actually possess superior verbal skills.

Researchers looked at the DNA of 400,000 people in the U.K. from a volunteer bank. Of those 400,000 people, 38,332 were southpaws. Scientists were able to find the differences in genes between lefties and righties, and that these genetic variants resulted in a difference in brain structure, too. "It tells us for the first time that handedness has a genetic component," Gwenaëlle Douaud, joint senior author of the study and a fellow at Oxford's Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging, told the BBC.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

Pete the Plant is a maidenhair fern living in the Rainforest Life exhibit at the London Zoo, but Pete the Plant isn't like other plants. Pete the Plant is also a budding photographer. Scientists in the Zoological Society of London's (ZSL) conservation tech unit has been teaching the plant how to take selfies.

The ZSL held a competition in partnership with Open Plant, Cambridge University, and the Arribada Initiative for the design of a fuel cell powered by plants. Plant E in the Netherlands produced the winning design. The prototype cell creates electricity from the waste from the plant's roots. The electricity will be used to charge a battery that's attached to a camera. Once Pete the Plant grows strong enough, it will then use the camera to take a selfie. Not too bad for a plant.

"As plants grow, they naturally deposit biomatter into the soil they're planted in, which bacteria in the soil feeds on – this creates energy that can be harnessed by fuel cells and used to power a wide range of conservation tools," Al Davies, ZSL's conservation technology specialist, explains.

RELATED: This plant might be the answer to water pollution we've been searching for

Keep Reading Show less
Innovation