San Francisco Supervisor Sandoval proposed a resolution condemning Michael Savage. Savage a radio talk show personality has a talk format show that regularly presents political opinion on far ranging subjects. The resolution seeks to condemn and raise a public outcry against Savage because of his political opinions.
Savage commented on a group of 35 student protestors who are fasting in protest and to pressure congressmen to renew efforts to pass a bill providing financial aid to illegal undocumented immigrant students. The bill was defeated recently. At least two of the protestors, self described illegal undocumented immigrant students, Cesar Chavez and Nallei Sandoval are openly participating in the protest.
Savage suggested the protestors, “fast until they starve to death”. This statement has given rise to the call for his firing, and censor by the San Francisco Supervisors. In Part the resolution they are seeking to pass states, the county values the dignity of its residents regardless of immigration status, free from discrimination, to live in safety. The Resolution condemns Savage, and supports the students seeking to obtain public aid.
Broadcast radio shows fall into a type of speech protected by the first amendment. The attempt to censor Savage if it is contested in court will most certainly be found as protected speech. Savage’s words did not advocate violent acts, nor suggest anyone take part in any acts or actions to bring about death by starvation. The words are politically motivated satire that state how Savage felt about the protest. To suggest he has advocated any illegal activity is absurd.
To raise his words to the level of racist statements you would have to show he has defamed a protected minority group. A group of persons who fall into the classification as undocumented immigrants does not meet the test. His words can not be demonstrated to defame any protected minority such as Hispanics, blacks or other protected minority group. Since undocumented immigrants could be any person not a documented immigrant the class is not protected.
Prohibitions of politically motivated speech are not favored by Supreme Court decisions. Generally this form of speech is protected. In one case the Supreme Court of the United States ruled against a criminal ordinance. The city’s bias-motivated crime ordinance, interpreted as banning the use of fighting words known to offend on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, or gender, but not on such other possible bases as political affiliation, union membership, or homosexuality, was invalidated for its content discrimination. ”The First Amendment does not permit [the city] to impose special prohibitions on those speakers who express views on disfavored subjects.”
Once the rhetoric has died down the actions by the San Francisco Supervisors certainly be labeled as an attempt to stifle and muffle protected political speech. These actions by a government body should be condemned and protested for the frightening steps toward a totalitarian government control of public political activity.