Hardly a week — and sometimes barely an hour — goes by without someone complaining loudly and earnestly about rampant violations of free speech marring American civic life.

The latest high-profile example is Tucker Carlson. Confronted by decade-old transcripts of Carlson calling into a right-wing radio show to express misogynistic views, the primetime Fox News host has defended himself as a martyr for free speech. As far as Carlson is concerned, Media Matters, the liberal muckraking outfit that unearthed and publicized the transcripts, is trying to silence him. But they cannot be allowed to succeed. Nothing less than freedom itself is at stake.

The Carlson kerfluffle will be forgotten any minute, but we can know for certain that it will be repeated in another guise before long. If cable news, talk radio, and social media are to be believed, these are dark days for free speech in America — on college campuses above all, but increasingly throughout our public life. We all need to be on guard about the threat.

Except that “free speech” as a constitutional principle is hardly ever involved in what gets described as threats to freedom of speech. It’s crucially important that …read more

Source:: The Week – Politics


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