To the Editor:

The recent editorial “Preserve listeners’ freedom to choose,” started out well enough labeling Limbaugh’s recent comments about a courageous young woman as, “overly personalized attacks.”However, it then went astray by painting Limbaugh, and his supporters, as the victims of left-wing attacks.

Let’s get back to the real issue: hate speech. Some forms of speech are not protected by the Constitution’s First Amendment. For example, defamation, defined as “the making of a statement of purported fact which reflects negatively on a person and which tends to adversely affect that person’s reputation,” is not protected speech. Under the law, defamation is called slander if publication is accomplished by oral communication.

Let’s look at this issue another way. Perhaps bullying isn’t a problem in Wallowa County schools. However, it is a very real problem in other areas. More and more attention is being paid to the effect bullying has on people. Limbaugh’s comments were certainly defamatory and slanderous. More importantly, they were also bullying. A community that tolerates such speech, let alone attempts to elevate the bully to the status of victim, helps to perpetuate speech that is hateful by providing it a platform.

Robert Procter


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