By: Charlotte Hays
Journalists have long relied on the First Amendment-guaranteed right of freedom of speech as the bulwark allowing them to practice their craft.
Now, however, it’s journalists themselves who are in the forefront of the current war on freedom of speech.
In a must-read article by John Tierney in City Journal, the former New York Times reporter chillingly describes how “journalists [are celebrating] the destruction of the freedoms on which their profession depends.”
Unlike previous generations of journalists, today’s mainstream journalists tend to identify freedom of speech as the root of society’s ills. This is a norms-shattering development. Tierney begins:
This heretofore unthinkable phenomenon of journalists’ repudiating freedom of speech was foreshadowed in an infamous 2019 Washington Post column by former top Time magazine editor Richard Stengel, who admitted that he had relied on the guarantee of freedom of speech in that job. He was also an Obama-State Department official.
Most recently, Stengel was appointed by President Biden to head the transition team for the U.S. Agency for Global Media, which includes Voice of America and is charged with protecting “unbiased news and information in countries where the press is restricted.”
Stengel’s column was headlined “Why America Needs a Hate Speech Law.”
Here is a snippet:
The First Amendment as a “design flaw” is a mindbogglingly radical position to take, especially for an influential former magazine editor. But Stengel’s column heralded the wholesale abandonment of the First Amendment by the very profession that had seen it as their foundational protection.
Tierney insists that these journalists are taking a short-sighted stand that could backfire if Democrats and Silicon Valley lose their ascendency in Washington, D.C.
Tierney argues that the end result could be bipartisan censorship.
In other words, we could all lose the right to freedom of speech.