Friday, August 27, 2010

When Freedom Isn't Free of Plurals

I was recently whining about the increasing use of "freedoms" where we used to just say "freedom," as in "Freedom isn't free." I believe it started during the Bush Administration for some reason but I'm not sure. As in, "the terrorists want to take away our freedoms."

Then this appeared today, in a story about a Louisiana newspaper responding to a complaint about its coverage of one of Sen. David Vitter's aides:

According to Redman, The Advocate's counsel informed Vitter "we're exercising our First Amendment freedoms..."

Stop, stop, stop.

A. I don't think you really exercise a freedom.  You exercise a right.
B. While it is indeed true that multiple kinds of rights are protected by the First Amendment, there's only one in play here, and that has to do with the rights of the press.

Too often lately, newspapers have picked up the language of political hacks and their followers protesting in the streets, while discussing the Constitution.  Ordinarily, I'd say give the guy some slack and maybe he spoke a little carelessly. But he's a lawyer.

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