Two pieces related only because they both involve mistaken ideas about mass communication.

Buffalo mayor rightly upset, but wrong to suggest banning speech (May 18):

Responding to a horrific evil, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown proposed countermeasures that would make matters much worse. He proposed an outright ban on broad swaths of speech. On top of murder, he would add repression.

Regrettably, CNN host Anderson Cooper did not challenge Mayor Brown’s suggestion. But everybody in public life should challenge it.

Brown is understandably upset. The racially motivated May 14 slaughter in Buffalo was heinous. And it is true that the killer had latched on to the noxious “great replacement theory” promulgated by some elements of the Trumpian Right — most notably, critics say, by angry TV host Tucker Carlson….

[Alas, Brown went on somewhat of a rant, saying:] “I think one way accountability looks is to ban that kind of hate speech, that kind of misinformation on public airwaves, in social media, on the internet. It should not be allowed….”

Obviously, such a ban would run afoul of First Amendment speech protections as they have historically been understood. Speech that is hateful but does not facially incite violence is absolutely protected by the Constitution…. [The rest of the column is at this link.]

Here’s an example of massively bad journalism (May 11):

A recent “news” feature story produced by a small consortium of local newspapers shows how extravagantly both the dominant media culture has fallen in general and how low journalistic standards have become.

The underlying issue, as it suddenly is so often these days, is gender-bending ideology….

Now, as if on orders from on high but against the wishes of most people, daily newspaper reporters are casting trans-related issues not in neutral language but in the preferred lingo and from the preferred perspective of the trans activists.

What results isn’t reporting — it’s a sneaky mix of bias and outright advocacy. It’s a discredit to the trade of journalism. At issue is a huge feature that dominated the front page of the May 6 Mobile Press-Register after running in different formats April 27 in the Seattle Times and the Dallas Morning News….

[The full column is at this link.]


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