Nicholas Goldberg: We rarely prosecute bigots and racists who spew hate speech. And rightly so – so why would we start now?
Last week, a Trump supporter in Philadelphia tweeted his support for the President and suggested that he would be ‘allowed to have his way’:
My life is an open book and will never, ever leave out the truth. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 14, 2016
‘An open book.’
Well, it’s not an open book when some of your own team have written ‘a letter calling on the federal prosecutor appointed to investigate leaks to the public to investigate them’.
We’ll get to the details in a moment, but let’s say for the sake of argument that that actually happened. How does it compare to the current controversy with Facebook. A federal prosecutor has called on Facebook executives to appear before him. So are they investigating Facebook for encouraging, or encouraging, these leaks?
Well, they’re not. It’s not their job to investigate, it’s their job to prosecute. The reason why we need a federal prosecutor is because Trump has called for violence at his political rallies and encouraged violence against his political opponents. Yes, he’s a loud voice to be sure, but the government has a responsibility to investigate whether he is inciting violence. Instead, he gets a warning letter. A week later, he tweets.
The problem, I think, is that we don’t often see prosecutions for hate speech. That’s because the federal government doesn’t do hate speech prosecutions. We have the FBI as the lead agency to do those, but we’re more interested in violent crime in this country. And so, when a person is found guilty of inciting violence, it doesn’t come up because, again, we don’t want to spend the time and energy on it.
But the fact is, that if he’s inciting violence, we need to know so that we can bring that person to justice or have a plan in place to protect our fellow Americans from that person.
And that’s what we don’t have. We’ve got no plan in place for that. And the reason why I say that is the fact that, as I was explaining last