Fox News pundit and talk-show host Glenn Beck deserves the opportunity to say whatever is on his mind, just like everyone else. After all, that is the right our forefathers secured for us when they signed the Declaration of Independence. Unfortunately, it also means that we have to put up with a lot of nonsense—for example, Beck expressing his belief that President Obama is a racist.
No one besides Beck himself really knows if he believes half of the outrageous things he says, or if he simply does it to garner attention for himself and Fox News and to get people raving mad. That, however, is entirely irrelevant. The real point is whether or not corporations, such as Fox, should be allowed the same freedom of speech protection as individuals.
For all practical purposes, Beck is the syndicated mouthpiece of a large, conservative corporation and network. The troubling heart of the matter lies not in Beck’s use of his free speech rights but the fact that corporations can—and do—use personalities as puppets to spread their propaganda under the guise of free speech, and, in the case of Fox News, attempt to influence the opinions of millions of viewers.
However, the latter may already be considered a moot point. In the U.S., corporations are recognized and treated as individuals under the law and, therefore, it would seem corporations are entitled to the same rights to free speech as individuals.
If that’s the case, let’s hope people know when to turn off their TVs and stop listening.