The Corner

Re: Homer and Free Speech

K-Lo, I know the Simpsons survey is fun, but let me also say: it’s dumb. It’s apples and oranges. Apples and apples would be to compare how many people know Homer and Marge versus can name their own Senators, or name a Supreme Court justice. You’d get the same result: more know the Simpsons.

This is also a bit loaded: why don’t they try asking people whether they can name the freedoms in the First Amendment versus if they can name the characters of a newer sitcom than the Gunsmoke of sitcoms (now in Season 17).

The headline is a little misleading: setting up the conceit that you can name two Simpsons, but not two First Amendment rights. It’s right there in the story that 69 percent of people named “freedom of speech.” The First Amendment is probably the best-known amendment. If you really want to show constitutional ignorance, ask how many know what the Tenth Amendment is.

The First Amendment is a glorious thing, but keep in mind that free-speech-education programs are doing these look-at-me surveys to justify themselves.

Tim GrahamTim Graham is Director of Media Analysis at the Media Research Center, where he began in 1989, and has served there with the exception of 2001 and 2002, when served ...


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