Free Speech Is Killing Us

Free Speech Is Killing Us, by Andrew Marantz at the New York Times.

Not after the social-media-fueled campaigns of Narendra Modi and Rodrigo Duterte and Donald Trump; not after the murder of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, Va.; not after the massacres in a synagogue in Pittsburgh, two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, and a Walmart in a majority-Hispanic part of El Paso. The Christchurch gunman, like so many of his ilk, had spent years on social media trying to advance the cause of white power. But these posts, he eventually decided, were not enough; now it was “time to make a real life effort post.” He murdered 51 people. …

Misleading and biased reporting has rendered the leftist echo chamber clueless about reality. For example, most modern terrorism is in the name of Islam, and most other political shootings in the West are by leftists. But not in New York Times world:

After one of the 8chan-inspired massacres — I can’t even remember which one, if I’m being honest — I struck up a conversation with a stranger at a coffee shop. We talked about how bewildering it was to be alive at a time when viral ideas can slide so precipitously into terror. Then I wondered what steps should be taken. Immediately, our conversation ran aground. “No steps,” he said. “What exactly do you have in mind? Thought police?” …

Speech should be protected, all things being equal. But what about speech that’s designed to drive a woman out of her workplace or to bully a teenager into suicide or to drive a democracy toward totalitarianism? …

Suggests more big government propaganda:

I am not calling for repealing the First Amendment, or even for banning speech I find offensive on private platforms. What I’m arguing against is paralysis. We can protect unpopular speech from government interference while also admitting that unchecked speech can expose us to real risks. And we can take steps to mitigate those risks.

The Constitution prevents the government from using sticks, but it says nothing about carrots.

Congress could fund, for example, a national campaign to promote news literacy, or it could invest heavily in library programming. It could build a robust public media in the mold of the BBC. It could rethink Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act — the rule that essentially allows Facebook and YouTube to get away with (glorification of) murder. If Congress wanted to get really ambitious, it could fund a rival to compete with Facebook or Google, the way the Postal Service competes with FedEx and U.P.S. …

[John A. Powell, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley] is a free-speech advocate but not a free-speech absolutist. Shortly before his tenure as legal director, he said, “when women complained about sexual harassment in the workplace, the A.C.L.U.’s response would be, ‘Sorry, nothing we can do. Harassment is speech.’ That looks ridiculous to us now, as it should.”

The New York Times Declares War on Free Speech, by Allum Bokhari.

The New York Times, America’s leading “liberal” paper, has published an article openly declaring war on freedom of speech.

It, and much of the left, has been at war with free speech for a while — but its new article, bluntly titled “Free Speech is Killing Us,” is its most unequivocal statement yet.

The author of the piece, Andrew Marantz, solemnly declares he has “spent the past few years embedding as a reporter with the trolls and bigots and propagandists … I no longer have any doubt that the brutality that germinates on the internet can leap into the world of flesh and blood.” …

Because of this allegedly paradigm-changing revelation, Marantz believes First Amendment values should be discarded.

It’s not just violence. Marantz whines that the internet was once seen as “surely only a force for progress” but that “No one believes that anymore. Not after the social-media-fueled campaigns of Narendra Modi and Rodrigo Duterte and Donald Trump; not after the murder of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, VA; not after the massacres in a synagogue in Pittsburgh, two mosques in Christchuch New Zealand, and a Walmart in a majority-Hispanic part of El Paso.”

It’s hard to feign shock at a New York Times writer equating the election of populist leaders with white supremacist massacres. That’s just what the mainstream media does these days — and every time they do it, Americans contempt for the media sinks a little lower. Just 35 percent of Democrats and 12 percent of Republicans say information from national news organizations is “very trustworthy.”