No, the White House Press Secretary Should Not Call ESPN Anchor Jemele Hill’s Trump Comments a ‘Fireable Offense’

by David French

Snowflakes and wannabe censors are everywhere, it seems. Yesterday, ESPN anchor Jemele Hill launched a twitter tirade against Donald Trump. It began:

I won’t bore you with all the tweets, but she was essentially making a Twitter version of the argument that Ta-Nehisi Coates made in his much-discussed Atlantic essay – that Trump owes his election to white supremacy. I think Coates and Hill are wrong, and yesterday I wrote about 1,400 words making my case.

That’s what adults do in a free society. They do their best to rebut bad speech with better speech. They do not do this:

That’s the White House press secretary calling an ESPN anchor’s tweet attacking the president a “fireable offense.” Call it “outrageous” all you want, but fireable offense? No. Definitely not. 

And yes, I know that ESPN is pathetic. I know that ESPN imposes the worst of double standards and has disciplined other employees for far less (yesterday it put out a statement saying that the network had “addressed” the issue with Hill and that “she recognizes her actions were inappropriate.”) Yes, I also know that the broader progressive corporate and academic worlds impose the same double standards as ESPN. Just ask Google. I agree with Erick Erickson:

There is something especially troubling about Sanders’s statement, however. Let’s not forget that she’s an agent of the state, a representative of the president. Public officials should not be calling for the termination of private critics, period. 

Finally, it’s no answer to claim that the Trump administration is merely “fighting fire with fire.” That’s not the role of the president or of anyone in his office. His role is to protect the Constitution and model its values. Sanders can and should rebut Hill’s argument, but she should immediately retract her declaration that Hill’s tweets were a fireable offense. Snowflake Republicans are no better than snowflake progressives. Respect free speech. It’s not that hard. 

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