Thursday, January 31, 2008

Savagery in Court

The Electronic Frontier Foundation ("EFF") is participating in the defense of the Council on American-Islamic Relations ("CAIR") in a lawsuit filed by Michael Savage, host of the syndicated radio show, Savage Nation. Savage alleges copyright infringement and civil RICO violations arising out of CAIR's posting of sounds clips from Savage Nation on CAIR's website.

I caught this press release from CAIR, which was distributed by EFF, and includes a link to CAIR's motion for judgment on the pleadings.

This is a great read. Savage's comments are shocking (see pages 3-4 of the motion). His profoundly misguided lawsuit is only slightly less obscene. While I admittedly have not read Savages complaint, CAIR's motion paints a pretty clear picture of the happenings. In short, Savage spent about 4 1/2 minutes slamming Muslims (including taking some shots at CAIR), and CAIR posted excerpts on its website together with an article aptly entitled, "National Radio Host Goes On Anti-Muslim Tirade."

Unless CAIR grossly mischaracterizes the facts or there are serious omissions, Savage has seriously crossed the line. It's one thing to espouse hatred and intolerance, which is indefensible but nonetheless a necessary product of free speech in a free country, but it's quite another when that person tries to prevent someone else from exercising those very same rights. The wrongness is even further amplified when the first speaker is advocating for principles so contrary to those on which a free country is founded, namely, tolerance and inclusiveness, and the responder is merely setting the record straight.

I can't wait to see what happens with this one. I certainly wouldn't advocate for silencing Savage, as he is free to think and say what he wants. However, I hope the court tells Savage to do with this lawsuit what he told Muslims to do with their religion: "Shove it up your behind. I'm sick of you. . . . What sane nation that worships the U.S. Constitution, which is the greatest document of freedom ever written, would [tolerate a lawsuit, or radio host, for that matter] that tells them the exact opposite?"