National Free Speech News & Commentary

Commentary: In hit to academic freedom, Fourth Circuit holds public universities can punish faculty for ‘lack of collegiality’

July 07, 2023 1 min read

Alex Morey, Graham Piro and Talia Barnes
Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression

Note: This is another perspective on ‘Porter v. Board of Trustees of North Carolina State University.

Excerpt: The role of a faculty member at a college or university goes well beyond teaching and scholarship. As a function of “shared governance,” faculty play a critical role in leading an institution’s educational programming and initiatives. But yesterday’s ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit leaves faculty vulnerable to discipline for criticism of their institutions outside of class if it involves academic initiatives impacting the institution beyond the faculty member’s personal field of research.
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Commentary: The awkward truth about free speech

July 05, 2023 1 min read

By Kathleen Stock

Excerpt: Is it ever possible to take a neutral position on the importance of free speech? The task certainly seems quite difficult. As Vogue’s favourite philosopher, Amia Srinivasan, notes this month in the London Review of Books, many Right-wingers seem to assert the value of free speech, mainly or even only to make room for political views the Left would prefer smothered at birth. Occasionally, someone on the Right will complain about the suppression of a position or person they don’t agree with, but usually more to avoid complaints of inconsistency than anything else.
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Commentary: The Biden-Big Tech Collusion Case

July 05, 2023 1 min read

By The Editorial Board
Wall Street Journal

Excerpt: Big news on big tech and free speech. A federal judge ruled Tuesday that government officials can’t coerce social-media platforms to do what the Constitution forbids the government from doing.

Missouri and Louisiana, joined by scientists and conservatives whose posts were censored, sued to protect their First Amendment rights. The issue in Missouri v. Biden isn’t whether social-media platforms are government actors, but whether government officials can be held responsible for their censorship. Judge Terry Doughty ruled they can and his 155-page opinion describes disturbing coordination between the government and tech firms to suppress unpopular views, especially on Covid-19.
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Commentary: A Georgia teacher’s plight exposes the essence of anti-woke MAGA fury

July 05, 2023 1 min read

By Greg Sargent and Paul Waldman
The Washington Post

Excerpt: At first glance, the plight of Katherine Rinderle, a fifth-grade teacher in Georgia, might seem confusing. Rinderle faces likely termination by the Cobb County School District for reading aloud a children’s book that touches on gender identity. Yet she is charged in part with violating policy related to a state law banning “divisive concepts” about race, not gender.
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Federal Judge Limits Biden Officials’ Contacts With Social Media Sites

July 04, 2023 1 min read

By Steven Lee Myers and David McCabe
New York Times

Excerpt: A federal judge in Louisiana on Tuesday restricted the Biden administration from communicating with social media platforms about broad swaths of content online, a ruling that could curtail efforts to combat false and misleading narratives about the coronavirus pandemic and other issues.

The order, which could have significant First Amendment implications, is a major development in a fierce legal fight over the boundaries and limits of speech online. It was a victory for Republicans who have often accused social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube of disproportionately taking down right-leaning content, sometimes in collaboration with government. Democrats say the platforms have failed to adequately police misinformation and hateful speech, leading to dangerous outcomes, including violence.
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UChicago Course on Whiteness Sparks Debate Over Free Speech and Cyberbullying

July 03, 2023 1 min read

By Vimal Patel
New York Times

Excerpt: Rebecca Journey, a lecturer at the University of Chicago, thought little of calling her new undergraduate seminar “The Problem of Whiteness.” Though provocatively titled, the anthropology course covered familiar academic territory: how the racial category “white” has changed over time.
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