Megyn Kelly vs. Fowler On Free Speech: "You Are Fundamentally Confused"; Fowler: "Freedom of Speech Comes With Limits"

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Fox News host Megyn Kelly is fired up about what Pamela Geller called "the language of the conquered" -- self-censorship imposed via fear by violent extremists. Radio host Richard Fowler finds himself agreeing with Bill O'Reilly that "it is stupid to insult the entire Muslim world" and their religious holy figures, lest they provoke violence, and Megyn Kelly can only respond: "Wow. Richard, I am concerned about the America you would have us live in. That is not the way it was set up."

"It is just like going into a theater and yelling out fire, or going into a black church and yelling out the n-word" says Fowler of the idea of hosting a draw-Mohammed contest. "Freedom of speech comes with limits. This is a clear limit."

"No," says Kelly. "You are fundamentally confused and wrong. And the U.S. Supreme Court has been very clear on this... I'm telling you this is protected speech."

"This is not about case law, this is about common sense," comes the reply. "It is a complete and utter loss of common sense. It doesn't make any sense, why would you paint a caricature of another person's god and say it is ok and laugh at it, and expect them not to respond?"

"You're putting the cart before the horse," he continues. "If they never had that event, the jihadis would have never shown up, it is the cart before the horse. It is that simple."

"Wow" says Megyn Kelly. "When people exercise their first amendment rights, and two jihadis show up to murder them, the relevant question at that time is not what were they saying... The more offensive the speech is Richard, the more protection it needs. That is how the first amendment works... I am concerned about the America you would have us live in. That is not the way it was set up."

Fowler says he wants "to live in an America where everybody accepts everybody and doesn't make fun of their respective gods."

Kelly fires back,with a question: "why don't you just explain that to the jihadists? Explain that to them, they need a little lesson in being respectful," before she gives Fowler the last word: "How we beat terrorism is with love, not hate."

Full transcript below:

RICHARD FOWLER: This is rare; I agree with Bill [O'Reilly] 100%, for once in my life I agree with Bill. Here is the distinction, let me parse the question a little bit if I can. There are people that want to kill us. ISIS Wants to kill us, al-Qaeda wants to kill us. But Muslims as a whole do not want to kill us, and I think that is part of the problem.

So when you go around depicting who they worship as some sort of caricature, some sort of cartoon, it is offense and it is wrong. You would feel the same way -- I feel the same way if someone depicted Jesus as a crazy cartoon.

MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: There is no debate about whether it is offensive. Everybody knows it is offensive.

RICHARD FOWLER: It is offensive, and I think [Pamela Geller] was really putting this on to create a tension, to create-- to sort fo promote her organization.

MEGYN KELLY: Even if you hate her message, she was promoting free speech. And as Rich Lowry put it in a column today, "criticism of Islam is at the vanguard of the fight for free speech since it is susceptible to attack and intimidation by jihadis that call for self censorship in the name of being politically correct."

RICHARD FOWLER: There is nothing wrong free speech, but as Donald Trump said, be smart, not stupid. Why would you invoke attacks on the people coming to your event by doing something so ridiculous!

MEGYN KELLY: Do you hear what you are saying? We in this country need to limit our constitutional rights, limit our free speech rights, lest we invite attack, or as O'Reilly put it, "spur" an attack against us. That is the way we need to look at this?

RICHARD FOWLER: Freedom of speech is an enumerated right which also come with freedom of religion, freedom of press, and freedom of association.

Muslims should be free to worship, just like Christians are free to worship.

MEGYN KELLY: And they are.

RICHARD FOWLER: Freedom of speech comes with limits. This is a clear limit.

MEGYN KELLY: No it isn't! You are totally wrong.

RICHARD FOWLER: It is just like going into a theater and yelling out fire, or going into a black church and yelling out the n-word.

MEGYN KELLY: No.

RICHARD FOWLER: Neither of those are things you would do, they are obviously offensive and will provoke a reaction.

MEGYN KELLY: You are fundamentally confused and wrong. And the U.S. Supreme Court has been very clear on this.

RICHARD FOWLER: I think you're completely wrong, Megyn, it just doesn't make any sense.

MEGYN KELLY: Why don't you go back and look at what Westboro Baptist Church -- you had your say and now I will respond.

The decision issued in 2011, 8-1, a nearly unanimous Supreme Court, liberals and conservatives joining together, saying that notwithstanding the fact that the Westboro Baptist Church, as hateful as they come, hurtful, and speech which did not contribute hardly at all to the public discourse. Negligible value. Nonetheless, free speech still supported allowing them to do it.

RICHARD FOWLER: Here's the thing Megyn, this is not about case law, this is about common sense.

MEGYN KELLY: You said that the limits of free speech end here. That this is akin to yelling a fire in a movie theater, which is not protected speech, and I'm telling you this is protected speech.

RICHARD FOWLER: It is a complete and utter loss of common sense. It doesn't make any sense, why would you paint a caricature of another person's god and say it is ok and laugh at it, and expect them not to respond?

MEGYN KELLY: Why do you show up at the funeral of dead soldiers and say God hates fags?

RICHARD FOWLER: I'm not condoning the Westboro Baptist Church. I hate them just as much as I hate this group.

MEGYN KELLY: The more offensive the speech is Richard, the more protection it needs. That is how the first amendment works.

RICHARD FOWLER: Exactly, it doesn't mean you should do it! The first amendment does give us the right to free speech, it doesn't mean you should go out and do it!

It doesn't mean you should go out there and do stupid things as they did.

MEGYN KELLY: When people exercise their first amendment rights, and two jihadis show up to murder them, the relevant question at that time is not what were they saying? The relevant question is what are we going to do about this group of people that wants to murder us because we believe in free speech and the first amendment.

RICHARD FOWLER: You're putting the cart before the horse. If they never had that event the jihadis would have never shown up, it is the cart before the horse. It is that simple.

MEGYN KELLY: Wow. Richard, I am concerned about the America you would have us live in. That is not the way it was set up.

RICHARD FOWLER: I want to live in an America where everybody accepts everybody and doesn't make fun of their respective gods.

MEGYN KELLY: Why don't you just explain that to the jihadists. Explain that to them, they need a little lesson in being respectful.

RICHARD FOWLER: How we beat terrorism is with love, not hate.

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