Responding to “On the Media” on Free Speech: FIRE’s “So to Speak” Podcast

by Matt Taibbi Sep 16, 2021

Along with former ACLU president Nadine Strossen, Carleton professor Amna Khalid, and “Mighty Ira” producer/co-director Nico Perrino, a response to a recent WNYC segment on “free speech absolutism”

A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece on a remarkably one-sided On the Media segment about the evils of so-called “free speech absolutism.” Filled with advocates for speech restrictions, and lacking any voices defending traditional speech rights, the program’s goals seemed to range from reminding listeners that John Stuart Mill is not only old and dead but wrong, to redefining “harm” as the central issue in speech debates.

By way of response, the Foundation of Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, convened a panel for its “So To Speak” podcast that looked at On The Media’s arguments from the perspective of traditional speech advocacy.

It was a terrific group that included Nadine Strossen, who for 17 years was the president of the ACLU, Carleton College History professor and host of the “Banished” podcast Amna Khalid, and FIRE’s own Nico Perrino, who produced and co-directed the excellent documentary Mighty Irawhich I reviewed earlier this year.

Thanks to Nadine and Amna for a great discussion, and thanks especially to Nico for putting the segment together. I hope TK readers enjoy it.


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