Free speech roundup

  • “I believe in the First Amendment” and FCC has no authority to revoke licenses over newscast content, says commission chairman Ajit Pai [Jacob Sullum/Reason, earlier]
  • She stoops to censor: British Crown and her Wiltshire police are not amused by your tweets [Andrew Stuttaford, BBC via Helen Pluckrose on Twitter; earlier here, here, here, here, here, here, etc.] Hate speech laws will in practice be used by the politically powerful against dissenters and radicals, part 761 [Guardian on case of woman questioned by detectives over banner denouncing conservative ruling party in Northern Ireland]
  • “Congress members threaten Twitter with regulation if it doesn’t suppress ‘racially divisive communications’ and ‘anti-American sentiments” [Eugene Volokh on bill introduced by Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) and Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.)]
  • On the old “shouting fire in a crowded theater” trope, read this whole thread and then you won’t have to catch up later [Popehat on Twitter] Neither “extremist” speech nor “fake news” can be defined and identified closely enough for regulation to work [Cato Daily Podcast with Flemming Rose and Caleb Brown]
  • Encyclopedia of Libertarianism article on freedom of speech is by Alan Charles Kors;
  • “Screen Actors Guild Tells Court There’s Nothing Unconstitutional About Curbing IMDB’s Publication Of Facts” [Tim Cushing, TechDirt; earlier here and here]


  • I find it interesting that in the dozens of condemnations of Trump for threatening broadcast licenses of those with whom he disagrees, not one has included a proposal to do away with the Public Interest clause that is used to carry out these threats.

    It’s almost as though they believe that the club should exist, but Trump should not be the one allowed to swing it.

    • That is surprising, Another Guy. No one I know of in free-market circles defends the public interest standard of review. When we condemn Trump for his wretched threats, we take for granted that the standard is a dangerous weapon that should not be entrusted to other vengeful presidents either.

      I hope you will carry this message to the other, different circles in which you have encountered condemnations of Trump over these remarks.