Episode 159 – Freedom of Speech and Alex Jones

Episode 159 – Freedom of Speech and Alex Jones

The Iron Fist provides 3 simple rules for Freedom of Speech conundrums.

2:21 Right Wing Tony – If you ignore tax, we agreed on a lot. Listener feedback was mixed.

8:52 Swedish Police confirmed to Fox News the man whose deportation Ms Ersson prevented had received a prison sentence in Sweden for assault.

11:30 Comparing tax rates

13:26 Who invests in Australia?

14:37 McDonalds and the quarter pounder story

16:46 Catholic interference in the by-election.

19:06 A Liberal Party branch meeting at Naji’s Charcoal Chicken and Kebabs

21:40 Unions seek to end religious bodies’ right to discriminate in hiring

I have a great idea to fix the drought. Give farmers drought relief, extend it to better-endowed areas with access to water – and continue it long after the rain returns.

24:13 Barnaby Joyce FFS

27:56 Here’s a quick primer on Freedom of Speech:
1. You have, with some limits, the right to say what you want without government intervention, suppression, or prosecution.
2. That is different to intervention or suppression by an employer. Arguably an employer can, with some limits, interfere with free speech rights if the free speech destroys the ability of the employee to do their job.
3. You do not have the right to expect private businesses to give you a platform to say what you want.

30:16 Kenan Malik on the Tasmanian Cricket case

34:20 Apple has removed Alex Jones and Infowars podcasts from its iTunes and Podcast apps

34:51 Alex Jones conspiracy theories

38:28 Glad I found it – testimonial

40:56 Trump – you need ID to buy groceries

45:56 The Australian subscription – The Fist relents

48:15 The Australian editorial – Companies should steer clear of issues that don’t concern them but they should be activists for tax cuts and industrial relations reform.


5 comments on “Episode 159 – Freedom of Speech and Alex Jones
  1. Squeaky Wheel says:

    Hi crew,

    Another good podcast. One point I would like to make about the Alex Jones affair, is that while they are private businesses, the bandwagon mentality of all banning him within hours, legitimises his claims that there is a sustained and coordinated effort to silence those with controversial beliefs. A US court has also previously ruled that Twitter constitutes a ‘designated public forum’ and that therefore Trump is not allowed to block Twitter followers he disagrees with (see https://www.cnbc.com/2018/05/23/trump-cant-block-twitter-followers-federal-judge-says.html).

    “Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald said in her ruling that Trump is violating the U.S. Constitution by preventing certain Americans from viewing his tweets on @realDonaldTrump.” If that is the case, and facebook et al are ‘public forums’ then surely these social media platforms are also violating the US constituoin by preventing all Americans from viewing Alex Jones’ content on their sites?

    Of course, the fact that they have their private T&C that users must sign up to and are contractually obligated to follow suggests that they are not public fora (as this article by the Washington Post explains https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/all-opinions-are-local/wp/2017/08/04/why-social-media-is-not-a-public-forum/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.0c05736d1f8f)

    So which is it? Either Trump, as an individal bound by FB’s T&Cs is able to block just like anyone else can, or Trump is unable to block users because he is an elected official on a ‘public forum’. And if it is a public forum, by what metrics are these companies able to censor or exclude contributors – only by US law, right, making their T&C effectively useless.

    So, while Jones is a total nut and I disagree vehemently with any calls to violence. In the US, his speech is protected by the First Amendment. Strangely, left of centre activists, even those that are extremely violent and openly admit on their pages that violence is part of their strategy (such as Antifa)have not been removed. I think it represents a dangerous precedent whereby social media platforms can curate public debate with little to no legal recourse or challenge from ‘dissenters’.

  2. Squeaky Wheel says:

    Also a worthwhile read. If fears of censorship push right, far right or simply conservative commentators to other platforms, such as MeWe for example, we end up with an even more polarisation between left and right and even greater echo chambers where bad ideas go unopposed by sensible commentators.

    “What happens if the Jones purge is followed by a more far-reaching ideological crackdown — targeting, for example, sites like Breitbart or The Federalist? The likely result will not be to silence the right, but to fracture the Internet. Disaffected conservatives will build and migrate to their own internet service providers, search engines, video hosting companies and social media platforms. Culture will become even more polarized, with fewer spaces where people from different political “tribes” interact and with more echo chambers that foster extremism. This is a future none of us should want. The tech companies are well within their rights to ban offensive content. But they should tread carefully.”


  3. Bronwyn says:

    Hi again guys, I decided to take on your suggested challenge and listen to the Right Wing Tony episode in full. I am delighted to tell you that I found ONE area of common ground with RWT, which was in relation to the sacking of Angela Williamson by Cricket Australia. However, as far as the rest of it was concerned, that’s an hour of my life I will never get back. In particular, I don’t think RWT actually understands what socialism is, or where it has come from. I’d suggest that he read some good books about 20th century history.

    That said, of course I would defend RWT’s right to express his opinions in such a forum. I wonder though whether he would do the same for me. I had the impression from the way he expresses himself that he wouldn’t take kindly to being questioned in a slightly less gentle manner than the one you employed. But obviously you know him better than I do, so I would have to defer to you on that one.

    In relation to your (slightly patronising) suggestion that I don’t expose myself sufficiently to contrary views, I am quite comfortable that I do this on a very regular basis in my daily life. In fact, one of the ways in which I do this is by listening to your podcast. My views are considerably more to the left than yours, so I find myself disagreeing with you almost as often as we agree. This doesn’t dissuade me from continuing to listen though, because it’s clear to me that you are interested in and encouraging of a genuine debate. My question to you is this: how often do you expose yourselves to people and opinions of a more left of centre persuasion? I’ve not heard you speaking with any identifiably left wing guests on your podcast. However, I haven’t been listening for very long, so I’m happy to be corrected if this is not the case.

    Best wishes and I look forward to your future episodes, even those with RWT in them!

    • Brett Jones says:

      Hi Bronwyn

      Good point on the lefties. They let me on the podcast for a brief chat to debate a point I had on the wording they used in regards to an Indigenous story. I was subsequently demolished on air by Trevor’s more polished ability to debate, not to mention I had clearly not prepared enough. I don’t hold that against him though, it was my bad for not being able to express myself properly.

      They have also had Cameron Reilly on the show and he certainly went toe to toe with all three at once. That was a fun listen.


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