April 16th, 2010
07:45 AM ET
11 years ago

Experts: Angry rhetoric protected, but can be disturbing

ALT TEXT Experts say that as anger heightens, fringe messages are crossing into the mainstream. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images)

(CNN) - Letting disgruntled citizens vent is important to national security, experts say, but some messages emanating from angry Americans in recent weeks have pressed the boundaries of free speech.

Politicians have reported slurs as well as threatening letters and phone calls. Congressmen have reported vandalism to their offices. One said he was spit on. Another said his brother's gas line was cut after a Tea Party member posted his address online.

Tea Party leaders denounce the threats and deny involvement, pointing to fringe elements - not Tea Party members, per se, but groups with degrees of overlapping ideologies.

But the angry rhetoric is not isolated to fringe groups. Both mainstream liberal and conservative camps have joined the chorus, and while some of the language sounds threatening, most of it is protected.

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Filed under: Tea Party movement
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. ran

    The "clear and present danger" doctrine cited in the 1st amendment does not give anyone the right to say whatever they want.

    We are a nation of laws and now that we have a President ( unlike Bush) who believes that; then action should be taken on those who violate the above doctrine.

    April 16, 2010 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  2. Wayne

    Problems with the Tea Party
    1: It's an uncomfortable coincidence that are all the sudden a group of white people are angry with what the government is doing with tax money as soon as we have a non-white president.
    2: Their tactics of bullying and attempting to form militias are too close to the Brown shirts of Germany and the Bolsheviks of Russia.
    3: They have FOX to publish whatever they want as if they are a majority of the US population.

    We need a third party in America, but it can't be based on racism and begun by a bunch of bullies, and supported by a rich entertainment corporation that publishes outrageous lies.

    April 16, 2010 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
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