Freedom of Speech Doesn't Mean Freedom from Consequences

Article excerpt

It's not polite to scream in public. I mean, you'll either scare folks or the people in white coats will come with the big net and take you away. That said, I am dying to go to a place filled with twentysomethings, climb on top of a table and cry out, "stop being so stupid!"

Not everyone born after 1985 is a dummy but a good number seem extremely naive when it comes to how our world works. At some point in their education they looked at the Cliffs Notes for the U.S. Constitution and gleaned a few highlights. Not enough to really know what's in our founding document, but enough to spout off and get themselves in trouble. Case in point is a TV reporter you never heard of named Shea Allen.

Allen worked as a reporter at WAAY television in Hunstville, Alabama. I say "worked" because her bosses fired her the other day. It wasn't anything she did on the air, it was a blog she wrote on the side.

For reasons beyond comprehension Allen thought it would be funny and edgy to take viewers behind the curtain and tell them things they didn't know about her and I'm sure didn't want to. Things like, "I've gone bra-less during a live broadcast" and "I'm frightened of old people and refuse to do stories involving them or the places they reside." My personal favorite is, "I've taken naps in the news car." A close second would be her post that said quite devilishly, "I've stolen mail and then put it back. Maybe." I mean what boss wouldn't want to see one of their employees bragging about sleeping on the job or breaking federal law?

What's more remarkable than this cerebral hemorrhage, which only can be described as of one part hubris and two parts stupidity, is her reaction after her bosses read it and canned her. She told the media, "I feel what I do in my personal space is protected by the First Amendment."

You are absolutely correct, Shea, but your bosses didn't file a lawsuit to have your website taken down. That would be a violation of your First Amendment rights. …