Gawker: First Amendment for Me, Not for Thee

Ah, the hypocrisy of the left. Rarely is it on such display as in questions of the First Amendment. The left delights in the right to say anything they like, however inflammatory and to publish what they like, no matter the consequences. All of this under the rights protected by the First Amendment. However, when the tables are turned, they are the first to cry foul. 

Yesterday, Gawker ran a story entitled “Here is a List of All the A**holes Who Own Guns in New York City,” by John Cook. The 446 page list was the result of an FOIA request, and listed the names of those who legally own guns within the city. The list provoked various reactions, as it was doubtless designed to do, from applause to vitriol. There are those who were glad such a list existed to expose gun owners, and there were those who were glad because this effectively (albeit inadvertently) supported the arguments of those against gun registry and in favor of gun rights. As expected, it set off a firestorm (if you’ll pardon the expression) of debate. It turns out that Cook can dish out some first Amendment protected speech, but he can’t take it. 

As is common these days, the main battleground was Twitter. Tweets were flying regarding the piece, if it was acceptable to publish, if it was dangerous (and for whom), and what the results could be. When people began tweeting Cook’s home address, he responded with “People are tweeting my address. I didn’t publish anyone’s address.” However, he had, in the original piece, argued that it was fine to publicize private addresses, saying “It’s clear that many of the Rockland County and Westchester County gun owners who are outraged at having their addresses plastered on the internet have had those addresses plastered on the internet for years without it causing a problem.” Then why complain when your address is tweeted? Surely it was also a matter of public record. 

Gawker felt comfortable publishing the information of others, but not of their own. They seem to love the freedom of the press, and of speech, but only if it allows for their anonymity. Anonymity and security of law abiding citizens who are also practicing their rights? Well that’s another story entirely.  


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