Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Freedom of Speech

I see no problem with bias in the media. In fact, there should be bias in the media. The whole purpose of freedom of speech is to assure that there can be bias in the media. Bias in the media is the exercise of freedom of speech.

The problem with today’s media is the pretense that there is an unbiased media. If the media was, as it claims to be, unbiased, then freedom of speech would serve no useful purpose – would be a meaningless term.

When I was growing up, every town had two newspapers. Towns which were too small to support two publications had papers delivered from larger cities nearby. One paper was openly liberal, the other openly conservative, and virtually everyone read both of them. There existed, back then, a willingness to arrive at one’s own point of view after having been exposed to argument from both sides of an issue.

Today, while there are several networks on television, all of them speak in concert, and cities have but a single news publication of consequence. As a result, all of this media has to pretend to be unbiased, but none of it is, and the public is presented with a single viewpoint. Freedom of speech has become meaningless.

To the extent that freedom of speech is exercised today, we see it on “publications” with minor exposure, such as blogs and fringe publications. One such outlet claims to be among the very largest, with “more than 100,000” readers. The claim is dubious, but even if true it would be a minor portion of the 238 million voters in the nation. Even the cable news commentary sites cannot claim to attract as much as a tenth of 1% of the voting public.

And even so, today’s voters only view or read that which confirms their existing opinions, as can be seen by college students demanding that certain speakers be banned from their campuses. Most blog discussions will openly require than discussion adhere to rules that boil down to “dissent is not welcome here.”

Freedom of speech has not been banned by law. It has been rendered an empty shell by a population too intellectually lazy to even know what it is, much less keep it alive.

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