>> we are going to have people sue you like you have never been sued before. >> that's me he's talking about. hillary doesn't like people criticizing her either. >> overturn citizens united once and for all. >> the first amendment does not give you the right to commit fraud. >> this prosecutor wants to force people like this guy to shut up. >> what is not fraud is having a controversial or different idea and to colleges have gone nuts. what is an unacceptable micro-aggression.
>> saying god bless you after somebody sneezes. >> that's silly. john: just try to say something controversial. a new movie reveals many people can't take a joke. i say you can say that. that's our show tonight. john: so many protesters are object rulessive and i want to shut them up. but you can't. the only limits are you can't directly incite violence. you can't shout fire in a crowded theater and you can't
cheat people by lying about something. but aside from limits like that, you can say that. the first amendment prohibits government from stopping people from speaking. that's help keep america free. today donald trump and hillary clinton want new limits on speech. especially during elections. they want to ban flag burning. isn't that a form of speech in burning a flag? and talk about censoring the internet to prevent terrorism. >> closing that internet up, somebody will say freedom of speech. these are foolish people. we have a lot of foolish people. john: kmele foster, i guess trump thinks you are foolish. >> both donald trump and hillary
clinton think we have unique risks associated with people like isis and bad if he their was people. john: we do, they have a point. >> but freedom of speech isn't about speech we like. it's about protecting speech at the margins. the speech has to present a clear and present danger before we stop people from saying these things on the internet. john: isis is a clear and present danger. if people are saying come joins. we are going to kren soarp that? >> we see people pass laws to keep us safer and they often get abused by governments. john: the alien and sedition act, what they were saying is don't criticize us. >> the principle was you couldn't say things that were untrue that would make it hard for the country to defend itself.
but instead they went after their political opponents with it. john: trump wants to rewrite libel law. >> when the "new york times" hits a hit piece or "the washington post" writes i hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they are totally protected. with me, they are not protects because i'm not like other people. he means i am filthy rich and i can sue and intimidate. >> if people can sue the press for writing things they don't like. what trump is talking about is people writing bad things. john: even if they make mistakes and say things that haven't true. if you are a public figure.
>> with libel you have to have intent. when donald trump talks about opening up libel laws. he's opening up a situation where people say things you don't like, you can sue them. but the threat alone should make americans nervous. donald trump hasn't been in record. -- in office so he doesn't have a record. john: one of his miss u.s.a. contestants criticized the pageant and he sued her for $5 million. she said trump's suit demonstrated his bullying tactics. a "new york times" reporter said trump wasn't as rich as he said he was. but it cost the reporter a lot of legal fees.
>> if somebody will do that as a private citizen i shutter to think -- i shudder to think what they will do when they have the justice department behind them. john: at election time money is speech and money gets the word out. when hillary first ran for president, a group spent money to make this film that criticizes her. >> what drives hillary is power. she considers herself to be a special person. john: she didn't like that movie and the movie wasn't allowed to air on tv before the election. after the election the supreme court said the government was wrong. banning the movie violated the first amendment. and that was called the citizens united decision and the left is furious about it. >> we'll overturn citizens
united once and for all. >> what citizens united says is when people get together in corporations or unions, that they don't surrender their rights. they still have the same right to speech. and we are talking about spending money and getting involved in politics. john: hillary has another example where she is anti-free speech. years ago she tried to get legislation passes that would ban selling violent video games to people underage 18. >> she has gone after films, video games and rap music. maybe there is a danger involved if some of these things. while hillary clinton has been advocating for various forms of censorship, she has also been consistently rebi red rebuffed e supreme court.
>> so she get to nominate her junes which could happen. the newest threat to free speech is harassment law. up against harassment. it's mean. but who gets to decide what's illegal harassment and what's a didn't opinion or tradition. this revolutionary war flag that says "don't tread on me" is used by the tea party. a postal worker says the flag is racist baits was designed by a slave owner. >> that's not a place where the government should be taking any action. john: as a black man with a flag designed by the slave owner or the confederate flag, isn't that a hostile workplace?
>> whether it's a hostile workplace, you have a choice to go work elsewhere or appeal to your employers. but whether that means we need new laws to limit speech is an entirely different matter. john: thank you, kmele. the website that broke the story about the flag. it's written by ucla law professor john volokh. what's wrong with the government saying we want racial harmony? >> the government under the first amendment doesn't get to decide which viewpoints it can suppress. it used to be the government was saying we want to ban confederate flags. that, too, is unconstitutional.
so there is a decision that says display of the confederate flag does create or may create a racially hostile environment. i think that violates the first amendment. if a private employer want to use it. it could be a diewcts of hazard bar. a lot of these claims, especially in private workplaces are quickly settled out because he ploirs would rather suppress free speech rather than fight it out to protect first amendment right. john: it could cost hundreds of millions of dollars to fight it. >> that's one of the dangers. going after the intermediary and the employer.
it create an extra level of chilling effect. the defendants have all the incentive to shut up private speech on their property and very little incentive to protect it. john: new york city and washington, d.c. passed rules for us to call someone de. >> i think there is something wrong with the government redefining language. the government telling us we have to say new words. they are endorsing a particular viewpoint that this person is neither man nor woman. or is some unusual mix of the two. and a lot of people don't want to endorse that viewpoint. just like people are entitle not to display live free or die on their license plates, they should be entitles not to have
to say an ideological viewpoint they don't agree with. imagine somebody says i belong to this religion, we should be called the only true saints. so please call me the on true saint. or your lordship. if you think of yourself that way, that's perfectly fine. but if you are trying to compel me to endorse your view of your highness, that's something i shouldn't be forced to be doing. john: these rules just apply to people who work for the government? >> no, they apply to all private employers and owners of public accommodation. if you go into a restaurant and refer to the waiter as he or she and the waiter prefers to be
called ze, then the restaurant has to tell you, stop saying that. stop talking about my employee this way or we'll kick you out. john: campus intolerance. some speakers caused students to throw fits. okay. but next, ambitious politicians want to ban speech they disagree with. >> the first amendment, ladies and gentlemen does not give you
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him a tool of big oil and curse him. they have gotten government prosecutors to order him to shut up. >> fossil fuel companies must be held accountable. the massachusetts and general. she claims that oil companies lied about climate change. they demanded that all documentation relating to their research efforts be turned over. alex he sign's group was named. congratulations. you are getting named in a subpoena. >> i wish i could laugh about it, but it's really bad. they are attacking companies and organizations associated with
companies for expressing ideas they disagree with about the magnitude of co2s impact on climate. >> you have a group that says, "i love fossil fuels." you think they do more good than harm. >> for exxon, for co2. so for having that opinion, and for exxon having that opinion, the government has come down on exxon and said, you should not say this. and in fact we are going to prosecute you and go into your emails, including your emails with my organization. i regard this as an unscufflized barbaric act. -- an uncivilized act. and i expressed myself in a way i never do. i said [bleep] fastist.
-- fascist. john: you got some good responses, but. >> the said you exploit the earth to benefit a few wealthy dudes. >> i accept that if they are better off than they would otherwise be. john: they say free speech doesn't give you the right to commit fraud. ex-on said, this gasoline we say is unleaded? if it turns out it has lead, that's fraud. that's qun cretely misrepresenting the nature of your product. what is not fraud is having a controversial or different idea about your product.
exxon never said our product doesn't contain carbon. john: they say oil companies were building infrastructure to sustain rising sea levels. when they were saying we don't know global warming will be a big problem. >> that is not a crime to have contradictory ideas. >> we are covering our rear. it doesn't cost much to build it higher. we don't think it will be a problem. >> it's consistent with mild and manageable. john: eric schneiderman is always eager to get his face on tv by attacking business. >> the first amendment, ladies and gentlemen, does not give you the right to commit fraud. exxon he says is lying to its investors. if the world were to burn a portion of the oil the industry
declares in its books, the planet would be destroyed. therefore it's overstating their assets. there may be massive securities fraud here. >> this is a bizarre idea by your insane and immoral attorney general about the future of co2 emissions and energy. the point is he's free to have that idea and exxon is free to have their ideas and i'm free to have my ideas and we should win or lose in the court of public opinion. john: what's the result of this? >> mostly positive is a lot of peoplebeen empowered to attack the government with it many being uncivilized. i think often the people on the pro freedom side react in an academic way. but it's important to supplement that by saying you are a thug and i'm not going to go to cocktail parties with you and try to charm you.
john: the difference between a civilized and you uncivilized society has to do with the freedom to exchange ideas openly. john: if you have ideas one party's prosecutors disagree with they will try to shut you up. and they have all the taxpayers' money to do it with. >> i'm grateful for this show because it's one of the places that stands up for people with controversial ideas. john: we try. next, a teenager who wrote this. this attitude that adults need to be protected from bad ideas is deeply disturbing. free speech is an indispensable element of our liberty. that 17-year-old is the stossel in the classroom essay winner. he joins us next.
john: ideas like free speech are complex. that's why they often end up before the supreme court. i wouldn't expect high school aged kids to understand this but some do. the idea is america's founders had, ideas that gave us limited government and prosperity. this year we ran an essay contest offering cash prizes for the importance of free speech it was hard to pick the best, but our judges picked the essay written by this young man, a home schooled 17-year-old from washington. he looked around his world and
noticed the popularity of movies like county hunger games." he says in these movies one thing remains constant. what remains constant is absence of free speech. we seem to know instinctive live if any society is going to become totalitarian, free speech has to go. it should be profoundly unsettling that every day free speech protections in america grow weaker. congress passed the first sedition act allowing government to ban statements. then it banned scurrilous or abusive language. it was resumed constitutional but repealed a year later. after more than 1,000 americans
had been prosecuted. it wasn't until the 1960s that our modern free speech rules were established. speech is free until it incites imminent lawless actions. former speaker of the house newt gingrich advocated limiting free speech to fight terrorism including restricting access to the internet. >> we'll need help from facebook, youtube and twitter. they cannot permit the recruitment orttacks or celebration of violence. they are going to have to help us take down these announcements and these appeals particularly as quick as they get. you will hear all the urn complaints, freedom of speech, et cetera.
john: freedom of speech et cetera, like it's an unimportant annoying thing. but this 17-year-old wrote, why should government decide which ideas are good or bad. activists today call for restriction of hate speech against same-sex couples. they forget this is the same government that used to run anti-gay psas. like this one. >> the symptoms are not visible like smallpox, a sickness of the minds. ralph was a homosexual. one never knows what the homosexual is about. he may appear normal. and it may be too late when you discover he's mentally ill. john: during the cold war the american right stifled political opposition.
today the left has emerged as speech totalitarians. silencing dissent and destroying careers over jokes. the oppressed of yesterday have become the oppressors of today. free speech is an indispensable element of our liberty no matter how wrong we think someone is he should be free to speak as he choose. colin, around home schooled student. i'm noticing a high percentage of kids who win this contest are home schooled. did your mother write this for you? >> no, i had to write this on my own. >> yes. john: do your friends think about free speech? >> i have some friends who are concerned about politics and free speech. but i have a lot of friends who
don't think about it. john: second prize goes to alex diamond. you get $1,000. she is as public school student. if you know a student who wants to enter the next essay contest. we'll soon post the topic at stosselintheclassroom.org. how did in my consumer reporting do under a trump presidency. >> we'll open up those libel (announcer vo) who says your desk phone always has to be at your desk? now, with one talk from verizon... hi, pete. i'm glad you called. (announcer vo) all your phones can work together on one number. you can move calls between phones, so conversations can go where you go. take your time. i'm not going anywhere. (announcer vo) and when you're not available, one talk helps find the right person who is.
john: how would you like to try to give a speech with students like her screaming at you saying your hate speech should get off campus. that happened at the university of massachusetts. but at many universities today students shout down speakers. even president obama spoke up in defense free speech. >> i heard of some colleges where they don't want to have a guest speaker who is too conservative. i don't agree that you when you become students at colleges have to be colded and protected from different points of view. john: it's refreshing when my president says something sensible. but rodney writes though obama said the right things, his administration's actions has don't wrong thing.
>> this education department has given i'dans to colleges and universities, sent them letters, confusing the issue. suggesting to university administrators if they don't investigate students and professor hospital say things that bother other people on campus, that they would be subject to losing funding. they say harassment is a broader spectrum of speech than you or i would think it is. it's not pervasive or severe. it would have to happen over and over again. there would have to be some malice involved. they are saying it's opened. anything that offends or bothers someone. you better make sure, you better ok io it. john: like the name trump chalked on a sidewalk?
>> students responded with trump 2016 and asked the administration to shield them from this act of literal violence. john: it was just the word trump. >> it's the most nakedly political thing you can say, the name of one of the major candidates and the year you want them elected. it's protected speech. john: sometimes student activists say i must be heard before anyone else is allowed to speech. at berkeley the drummer from the band metallica was trying to speak when students said our demands mist be heard first and rushed the stage. they stopped that event. what was that event about? >> they were trying to have an
event to discuss entrepreneurship and these students didn't want anyone to come to the college to speak until their token issue was met. john: you refer to micro-aggression. melting pot, that phrase is considers a micro-aggression. it presumes immigrants should melt in with the rest of america. complimenting a woman's shoes suggest looks matter more than intelligence. reason tv producer went to occidental college and tests some common phrases. >> i believe the most qualified person should get the job. >> if you are saying they are not a minority or a religion you don't believe in would be micro-aggression. >> saying god bless you after somebody sneezes you. >> if you say i hate you because your so and so, that should not be aloud.
john: i hate her for having that opinion. it should be aloud. when the university puts pressure on professors and students to only use certain kinds of words administrators, the secret police of campus administrators are looking for students to say the wrong thing like to say the history should be spelled with an x. because his story is offensive. john: the anti-free speech spreads 0 other. a preacher told the officer that we have a right to free speech in america. the cop said this. >> it doesn't matter. it's against the law. >> i don't want to argue with you.
it's against the law to offend somebody? john: you have a right not to be offensive. don't look for safe spaces here says the university of chicago. we want the open debate. you may be offended. but toughen up. i'm struck by the chair of american studies at brown university. he says no, that just per pet waits the dark, merciless world in which we live. students need a safe space. >> we live in a dark, merciless world, university campuses ares biggest outlier from it. there is never a more privileged group of people in human history. john: next, can you take a joke? >> it's the duty of a comedian to find out where the line is
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movie "can we take a joke in." we used to be able to take a joke and now it's different? >> it does seem in the last couple years we are losing our ability to take a joke. in the movie they talk about people coming to comedy shows and getting offended. and we have comedians saying if you are easily offended you probably shouldn't be coming to a comedy show. john: i'm confused. flipping the able channels, i see sex, racism, all kind of stuff. >> people turn on the defensive switch. they make a decision i'm going to be offend. it's like saying i'm a good person. i feel like i'm proactive by getting rid of this terrible speech. >> there is a lot of people out
there whose job it is to be offended by other people. >> when people are outrained by something, they are patting themselves on the back, like hey, i'm a good person, i'm outraged. >> i'm the most outrains of them all, therefore, i'm the most moral. when you see people are reaching to try to find something to be offended to, you realize there is something going on that's deeper. john: if we allow the person who is offended to control us, there is a competition for who can be most powerful for being the most easily offended. >> it's a race to the bottom. john: gregg is the author of "fire." here is another clip from his moe. >> we were accused of sexual
harassment for an april fools article. reporter: her offense was for running an article about a extrd about a vagina shaped building. >> you know what clip they used in a picture from "patch adams," a pg-13 movie. they got investigated for a year for title 9 charges. >> one star of the film is comedian chris lee. he produced a play to provoke people. it was purposefully racist and sexist. and the college professor paid students to attend his play and protest it. >> i it was designed to offend e everybody.
we had to call police halfway through the show. and they are offended by the topic. they said if the crowd got up and attacked they would not help. the police would sit there and watch me get assaulted. >> there is up hostility to racism. what happened? >> it's an amazing case. he's a sociologist. he want to put on a play where the stated goal of offending everybody in american society. it says do not come to this play if you are offended. there is a warning before the play goes on. nonetheless, the university of washington buys tickets for angry student and has a training session to stand up and say i'm offended. when you send an angry mob to a play it gets out of hand. john: the university pushed back. the president of the calendar
said this was a responsible exercise of freedom of speech. >> ultimately fire wrote a letter. there was a lot of national media and the university backed off. the next time chris lee tried to put on an offensive play called "the manginna monologues" they levitt completely alone. >> tell me about the clicking in your jaw. >> mainly when i eat, i hear click, click. john: what would happen with consumer reporting if donald trump is president. trump is president. >> we'll have people suing like what is success? trump is president. >> we'll have people suing like is it a professor who never stops being a student? is it a caregiver determined to take care of her own? or is it a lifetime of work
and the editor wrote a 2,000-word policy. she apologized for allowing a lon p non-latina writer to write about a latina. i was blind by my own whiteness. and she went on for 2,000 more word. so much apologizing over a movie about talking food. with all this politically correct shaming going on, it's good that the founders added this to our constitution. congress shall make no law abridging freedom of the speech or the press. america is different because we have the first amendment. protecting preach speech. even if people don't like your cartoon taco you can still put her in your movie. but it's not always clear what the first amendment means. i began my tv career with little understanding of it.
as a consumer reporter i took any camera into businesses and reported what happened. sometimes i then got sued. >> years ago i reported on a philadelphia dentist who i said was enriching himself at patients' and understand company's expense. >> tell me about the clicking in your jaw. >> mainly when i eat, i hear click, click. >> it wasn't a problem that needed treatment. despite other treatments that would take 4-6 months and cost $3,000. >> i accused them of getting rich by colluding with lawyer and running a scam. fortunately abc was willing to pay to fight the suit and we won. the first amendment said i can criticize him even if it's just
my opinion. crooks like him need to be exposed. rogel kept scamming patients and insurance companies for years it wasn't until 24 years after my expose' that a court put him in jail. fighting the crook's lawsuit cost abc a million bucks. our legal system is so expensive, that even when you win you lose. i didn't like it when donald trump promised this. >> we'll have people sue you like you never got sued before. trump says he will change libel laws to make it easier to sue the media. for years trumbulllyed by suing them. his threatening suit alone is enough to get people to shut up. so it's good that we have a first amendment that makes it harder to silence people. we don't want rich bullies to