“All Speech Is Not Equal”: Biden Taps Anti-Free Speech Figure For Transition Lead On Media Agency

For those of us who have been critical of the growing anti-free speech movement in the Democratic Party, the Biden transition team just took an ominous turn.  The New York Post reports that Biden tapped Richard Stengel to take the “team lead” position on the US Agency for Global Media, including Voice of America, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. As I previously addressed in a column, Stengel has been one of the most controversial figures calling for censorship and speech controls. For a president-elect who just called for everyone to “hear each other,” he picked a top aide who wants to silence many.  Since it would be difficult to select a more anti-free speech figure to address government media policy, one has to assume that Biden will continue the onslaught against this core freedom as president.  This is not the first Biden aide to indicate a crackdown on free speech in the new Administration and Biden himself has called for greater censorship on the Internet.

Last year, Stengel wrote a chilling Washington Post op-ed that denounced free speech as a threat to social and political harmony.  Like a number of liberal and Democratic figures, Stengel struggled to convince readers that what they need is less freedom:  “All speech is not equal. And where truth cannot drive out lies, we must add new guardrails. I’m all for protecting ‘thought that we hate,’ but not speech that incites hate.”

It is the European view that has destroyed free speech on that continent. We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, (here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). It is a trend that seems now to be find support in the media, which celebrated the speech of French President Emmanuel Macron before Congress where he called on the United States to follow the model of Europe on hate speech.

In January, Biden called for greater speech controls on the Internet and denounced Twitter for allowing others to speak freely. In insisted that tolerating such views in the name of free speech is same as “propagating falsehoods they know to be false.” Biden called for companies to bar Trump views on such things as mail-in voting as an invitation for fraud.  He is not alone. Congressional leaders like House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff have called for labeling and removal of material with some members directly threatening a legislative crackdown. This week, Speaker Nancy Pelosi denounced Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for resisting speech monitoring and censorship as a matter of free speech. Pelosi lashed out that those who want to preserve a free speech zone are “all about making money,” ignoring free speech advocates who have no financial interest in these companies. Pelosi said that opposing such monitoring means that social media companies simply want “to make money at the expense of the truth and the facts” and are trying to “hide under the freedom of speech.”

These efforts are drawing upon the work of academics who are pushing for greater censorship and speech controls. The Atlantic published an article by Harvard Law School professor Jack Goldsmith and University of Arizona law professor Andrew Keane Woods calling for Chinese style censorship of the internet.  They declared that “in the great debate of the past two decades about freedom versus control of the network, China was largely right and the United States was largely wrong” and “significant monitoring and speech control are inevitable components of a mature and flourishing internet, and governments must play a large role in these practices to ensure that the internet is compatible with society norms and values.”

Stengel however is one of the most unnerving and outspoken voices against free speech. He wrote how hard it was to explain our views of free speech to Arab countries which of course routinely jail or even execute people for exercising free speech. However, Stengel was raising the point to suggest that they had a valid confusion over our values:

“Even the most sophisticated Arab diplomats that I dealt with did not understand why the First Amendment allows someone to burn a Koran. Why, they asked me, would you ever want to protect that It’s a fair question. Yes, the First Amendment protects the ‘thought that we hate,’ but it should not protect hateful speech that can cause violence by one group against another. In an age when everyone has a megaphone, that seems like a design flaw.”

That design flaw is free speech itself. So in a nation filled with gifted people to lead the effort on government media policy and positions, Biden selected a person who rejects the very essence of free speech.  Stengel promises the “unity” of a nation silenced by government speech codes and censorship.   If no one has a megaphone, free speech is no longer a problem.

 

 

624 thoughts on ““All Speech Is Not Equal”: Biden Taps Anti-Free Speech Figure For Transition Lead On Media Agency”

  1. Does leftist speech encouraging and inciting intimidation and violence against conservatives and the police, as well as mass rioting, looting, and arson when a political or legal outcome doesn’t go the way of leftists, qualify for regulation?

    The lack of partisan self-awareness is shocking.

    1. I find it unbeleiveable that people I respected on the left have thoroughly whigged out and spewed absolute nonsense for the past 4 years.

      How do rational initelligent people become this deluded ?

  2. One caveat: all megaphones will NOT be gotten rid of. The fascist corporate left thoroughly intends to keep theirs, and have it gold-plated!

  3. Let’s try a thought experiment to test Mr. Turley’s claim. Ready? You’re a lying POS fascist enabler. Know what? I could dial that up a whole lot and not exaggerate. Sucker. Loser. Failure at life. Want more? Happy to dish it out. No, not all forms of verbal expression are equal, or even equivalent. You POS alt-fasci twit.

    1. Dan Brayton perfectly exemplifies how free speech works. Now, everyone knows that Dan Brayton is an idiot and a reprehensible person who should be ignored. No speech bans necessary.

    2. Not all expression is equal. But it is equally free to be expressed.

      Like most everything else the value of one expression over another is decided by each of us individually and then a weighted sum is determined by the greatest valuation machine ever conceived – the free market – in this instance the marketplace of ideas.

      If you think that some expression is beyond the pale – use your words – persuade the rest of us and we will devalue it.

      “If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.”

      ― John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

    3. Dan Brayton, You Dumbass! Actual free speech is needed for an actual Free Society with real diversity of thought! You and others like you want “unity” via No Dissent or Non Approved views expressed, this would Not be unity! It would be authoritarian and now approaching totalitarian China! Leave USA and move to China permanently Dumbass!

    4. Exactly right! Not all forms are verbal expression are equal. Yours shows who you are, Mr Turley’s shows who he is.

      1. And that is exactly what we want.

        We want people to speak, To tell us who they are.

        We want white supremecists(both of them) and left wing nuts to expose themselves so we know who they are.

  4. When I tried to link to Turley’s Twitter message below I got ” This Tweet is from an account you muted. “, but I never muted him or anyone else. I seldom use Twitter. Is he being shadow banned or whatever people call it?

      1. You mean lies such as those in this article, which details “progressive” efforts to eliminate freedom of speech. Unfortunately for you, those are not lies. I’ve read Stengel’s article myself. Stengel really does not like freedom of speech. He is quite open about it.

      2. Anonymous offends me.

        Therefore, let the bidding begin in $10 increments for the right to sentence him to between 10-40 years hard labor in a New American Gulag..

        If applied to the country as a whole,Mathis bidding will raise 10,000x the amount of legal pot.

        Let the bidding begin.

  5. For decades, conservatives were pushing for the control of speech, now it’s the liberals. A few decades ago, it was Jerry Falwell looking to suppress the media, now it’s the conservatives pushing for a free press and free speech. Both of these groups seem to be empty of principle and operate through pragmatism.

    1. Jerry Falwell’s battle was not aimed at suppressing the media. It was the same battle that conservatives are fighting today – that the conservative viewpoint be allowed to be presented. The press has been trying to silence the conservative voice for at least 7 decades.

      1. Falwell is not the best example- christian evangelicals were at the forefront of ending government censorship of radio.

        Red Lion vs FCC was a free speech loss of evangelicals to the FCC.

        In the past both conservatives and progressives were noteworthy for their censorship of others.

    2. No one is trying to suppress free speech, which would be impossible in this social media world anyway.

      The guy who wrote this piece twisted the words which were about hate speech, not free speech.

      Thank Odin we only have two more months of this nonsense.

        1. Oliver Clozoff you just said the REALEST thing on here. At this point in history you are so correct…now most people can’t stand democrats and the corruption and hypocrisy of liberal bigotry

      1. Anonymous is going to be on the board that decides on whether your speech is hate speech or not. We all know what a fair arbiter he/she will be.

        1. We should support Anonymous in her post as commissioner of the hate speech department. If an exact list of the words of hate speech could be provided we could all do a better job of helping her with her task. Her level of moral outrage is so much more informed than ours. We are anxiously awaiting her new manifesto

        2. There is no “anonymous”, there are numerous independent anonmi in some instances it is clear that they are distinct.
          In all instances it is impossible to ascertain any common identity or reputation.

          Anonymity is a right, but it comes at a cost – there is no identity to an anonymous post. There is no history, no reputation, no trust.

      2. Oliver Clozoff is correct. Hate speech is speech that Democrats hate. Anything that doesn’t conform to a “progressive” view is “hate speech” in their world. If you think so-called “hate speech” should be outlawed, then you really don’t believe in freedom of speech. There is no wiggle room here.

      3. Right supression of speech is not possible in the social media world.

        I have some swamp land for sale if you want

      4. Nobody is trying to suppress free speech ?. Surely you jest man. Seeing suckerburg and twit Dorsey muzzling any pinions that they disagree with and shilling for a senile candidate whom has picked people to be around him whom have the same groupthink about censorship of differing views ….is that not exactly opposite of your false & disingenuous claim ?.

    3. Your post is nothing but a damned Democrat lie, However, I do not want it taken down. I just want the chance to call it out as a lie.

    4. RIght, the well known conservative Tipper Gore pushing to ban dirty music lyrics in the 90s really makes your point.

    5. Amen.

      I am happy to say that I fought for the right of Nazi’s and the KKK to march through my city streets, and then protested their marches by candle light almost 5 decades ago.

      Today I will fight for the right of BLM to protest – while protesting against them too.

      But those who resort to violence – straight to jail.

      I did not know this 50 years ago – but I am not a republican or democrat, progressive or conservative.

      I am libertarian – the REAL liberals.

    6. You are either ignorant or mendacious. Falwell was trying to ban pornography, which is not speech. The Framers intended protection for political speech, not obscenities or pornography.

      1. Falwell was not specifically targeting pornography.

        He was in a fight with Larry Flynt over defamation. Flynt was specifically targeting him.

        Falwell lost the fight because he was a public figure.

        I am sure Falwell would have loved to get rid of pornography. But that was not happening, and that is not where the conflict was.

      1. Joe, our radio stations are not being censored, so this idea of having the “radio stations liberated” makes one question your abilities in a discussion on this blog. The statement sounds like a left-wing talking point for those that have little knowledge about freedom of speech.

        Sorry to be so negative when it comes to your postings. You ought to think a bit more and write a bit less.

        Have a good day.

        1. Kayla, radio stations are not being censored by the government and neither is social media. However, both have content controlled and censored by the companies that own them. UNtil the 1980s, when Republicans successfully eliminated it, there was a Fairness Doctrine for licensed users of public airwaves which meant there needed o be approximate equal time for political opinions.(Unlike the internet, the public airwaves are limited and have always been regulated by the government and require licenses.) Since then radio is completely dominated by right wing talk radio and programming is most typically regional to national by large companies. The usual right wing radio station is all right wing all the time, no liberals have shows and jerks like Limbaugh and Levin have few to zero guests, and none that are expert and opposing. How long do you think either would keep their schtick going against informed guests of the other side?

          If you really care about freedom of speech and alll voices being heard, radio and TV are more legitimate targets since they do in fact require a license and are a limited public asset.

          1. “Kayla, radio stations are not being censored by the government”

            That is correct.

            ” there needed o be approximate equal time for political opinions.”

            That is bogus. I’m not going to waste time and explain things point by point. Suffice it to say that anyone can have a political show on the radio. The Liberal shows failed. People didn’t listen to them and any of the shows could have bought the time that wouldn’t be paid for by advertisers.That is the free market. Moreover who is to determine which political opinions are aired and how much time each gets?

            Social media is supposed to be a platform. The law they work under was based on them being a platform not an edited platform.

            1. Kayla, trying to explain how free market capitalism works to Joe Friday and his clueless compadres , is like trying to teach a fish how to ride a bicycle.

              They are just trolls.

                1. JF – that is totally shocking if True. I have never met a business owner as clueless as you. You are a unicorn.

            2. Kayla, anyone can start an internet company but anyone cannot have a radio or TV license. They are a limited resource. But thanks for performing the acrobatics necessary to feigning principled outrage over the contents some companies choose to broadcast while caring not a wit what others do.

              1. Joe Friday, you can believe what you wish but most of the times you are wrong. Ask Air America what happened to them. If they had good ratings they would still be on the air.

                  1. Once again when dealing with Joe Friday we cannot be sure if the entry of anonymous is Joe in drag or another poster that is as unaware as Joe.

                    The lack of content in the post points to another poster as Joe frequently has content, but it generally isn’t correct. This other poster doesn’t seem to be able to post anything of value.

                    I should add that this other poster used the name “Allan’s old foe” that I believe was taken from another who I was conversing with. This demonstrates a lack of integrity on the part of anonymous. I don’t know who the “foe” is supposed to be but his comment demonstrated a more intelligent mind than the one posting above.

                    If I limit my responses to you in the future don’t be insulted. I frequently disregard garbage.

              2. Anyone can start a radio or TV station – and absent the FCC they would, and as Nobel winning economist Elenor Olstrom demonstrated – any problems would solve themselves.

                Over the decades the FCC has NEVER protected the little fish from the big fish. The purpose of the FCC like every other government agency is to protect the big fish – to provide government subsidized monopolies.

            3. The market place for ideas does not exist without an actual marketplace.

              No products – not even ideas are treated equally in the marketplace – because no two things are equal – especially ideas.

              The remedy for speech is speech – not equality of speech, but the oportunity to present an alternative that the marketplace of ideas will weigh and determine what ideas have merit.

          2. Hey Joey ChiCom.

            Did you think they weren’t going to turn on your beloved Democrats?

            Think again, numbnuts.

            “Black Activists In Portland “Want Nothing To Do” With The City’s Leftist Anarchists”

            https://www.zerohedge.com/political/black-activists-portland-want-nothing-do-citys-leftist-anarchists

            “I’m tired of liberal complacency,” one protester said, as the group started chanting “F*ck Joe Biden!” and marched toward the city’s Democratic headquarters.”

            This is going to be fun to watch.

            1. Rhodes, you are seriously confused if you think people to the left of the Bernie Bros are a demographic the Democrats care about or count on.

              By the way, there are no black people in Portland. There are a bunch in Atlanta, Philly, etc and they voted for Biden in the primaries and the general.

              1. “there are no black people in Portland” tell that to the 37k black people living in Portland. Comments like yours demonstrate the inherent racism at the core of leftist dogma.

              2. JF you are seriously deluded if you think that Biden would not have been obliterated in this election without voters to the left of Bernie Bros.

                You do not think that there are far more than 40,000 Biden voters in PA to the left of Bernie ?

          3. The fairness doctrine was an idiotic disaster.

            The entire concept that there is some requisite equality to ideas is nonsense.

            I would not the opponents of the idiotic fairness doctrine were conservatives.

            No one want that lunacy on social media either.

            Grow up – equality does not exist – and every single effort EVER to value equality over liberty has resulted in blood in the streets.

            The french revolution – marxism, communism, socialism are all the bloody messes brought to us by idiots who thought there was merit in forcing equality on us.

            There is a gigantic difference between censorship and equality of ideas.

            I have zero problems at all with Twitter or FB censoring posters – if they are otherwise treated exactly like every other publisher.
            But so long as government provides them the same immunity that government enjoys itself they are also bound to the same limits on censorship as apply to government.

      2. What do you mean by radio stations liberated ?

        If you mean end the FCC – yes.

        There was studies done decades ago that an actual free-for-all for bandwidth without rules would work itself out fine without government intervention.

  6. Women, African-Americans, LGBT-Americans, gun owners and other minority groups should remember that their individual freedoms were first won by “Judicial Branch” court cases – not political parties – and not the Democrats or Republicans. Political parties FOLLOW plaintiffs in Judicial Branch court cases. Neither political party leads on constitutional rights throughout American history.

    It doesn’t mean the “political branches” are bad but they have a different constitutional role. The point here is that our “individual constitutional rights” essentially survive in the same boat. When we weaken First Amendment rights, we also weaken the system that protects women, African-Americans, LGBT-Americans, gun owners and other minority groups. These rights are really protected by the courts. Political parties only follow on protecting our rights. The political branches, by and large, don’t protect unpopular groups or unpopular causes that don’t appeal to voters.

    1. “their individual freedoms were first won by “Judicial Branch” court cases”

      That is an historically absurd statement and flies in the face of the Declaration of Independence as well as the Constitution. Government – regardless of whether you are referring to the executive, legislative, or judicial branches – does not bestow or grant any freedoms, whatsoever. The freedoms that were once enjoyed by Americans were won with the blood of real patriots. Not by some black robed judicial priest who believes himself to be on the bench to enforce his personal beliefs. There has never been one court case that “won” any of America’s freedoms.

    2. The Constitution provides rights, freedoms, privileges and immunities to citizens without differentiation. Rights may not be taken from one citizen to favor another. The judicial branch, including the Supreme Court, engages in judicial “overreach,” usurps power it does not possess and illicitly “legislates from the bench” when it materializes phantom, invalid rights for “women, African-Americans, LGBT-Americans, gun owners and other minority groups.”

      The judicial branch has no power to regulate anything including private property. Congress has the power to regulate ONLY the value of money, commerce among nations, States and Indian tribes, and land and naval Forces. The Constitution provides courts for redress of grievances, resolution of which must be constitutional.

      The 5th Amendment right to private property is not qualified by the Constitution and is, therefore, absolute. Private property is absolutely not public. Congress has no power to “claim or exercise” dominion over private property, while it may “take” private property for public use with just compensation. Congress has no power to nullify the 5th Amendment to “claim or exercise” dominion over private property.

      Please cite the Constitution for validation of your specious positions.
      ______________________________________________________

      “…courts…must…declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void.”

      “…men…may do…what their powers do not authorize,…[and] what they forbid.”

      “[A] limited Constitution … can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing … To deny this would be to affirm … that men acting by virtue of powers may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.”

      – Alexander Hamilton
      _________________

      “[Private property is] that dominion which one man claims and exercises over the external things of the world, in exclusion of every other individual.”

      – James Madison

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