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Thursday
Feb222018

What it Means to Honor Freedom of Speech and of the Press.

I read the most remarkable and thoughtful discussion of freedom of speech and the press today that I need to pass it on. I will say little, except that, as a defense of the New York Times—and a statement of what the role of such a newspaper should be—it is elegant. It is not an attack on partisan media. There are publications whose legitimate role is to beat the drum for one or another faction on the political scene. This is a time-honored role for partisan media, and nothing for them to be ashamed of, as they have a part in getting out a partisan message. However, the New York Times and other true news organizations who don't identify themselves as partisan should not play such a role. Their job is to present the issues, the news, and, when it is discernible, the truth. Bret Stephens, the author, rightly points out that those who criticize news organization (or a college speaker, for that matter), for not upholding their biases, do not understand the role of the mainstream news media, nor do they often understand the role of universities in providing a variety of scholarly analyses of current and historical issues, rather than being mouthpieces for only one point of view.

The best quotation from Stephen’s speech, and one I will remember and use whenever I can, is "The answer to a politics of right-wing illiberalism is not a politics of left-wing illiberalism. It is a politics of liberalism, period." In this context, liberalism means an open attitude toward the expression of ideas and points of view.

That’s enough of my commentary. I encourage you to read the whole article/speech It can be found at “Free Speech and the Necessity of Discomfort.”

Reader Comments (1)

Bret Stephens has written a largely fair-handed article although he clearly plants his personal views firmly on the left.

At this point, right-wing event speakers are clearly the the more liberal in allowing and encouraging progressive critics to engage in question and answer following their prepared speech. Left-wing speakers have become much less open to engaging in dialogue or debate and regularly have people removed from the venue for expressing opposing viewpoints.

From Stephens' article: "The president embraces ugly forms of white-identity politics." Absolutely one-hundred percent fake news. There is not one iota of proof that President Trump embraces this sentiment. Regardless of the carefully measured tone of the article, the author clearly knows who his subscriber base is and decided to toss them at least one tasty bone.

February 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMaek Wheeler

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