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Did overheated political rhetoric lead to the assassination attempt on former President Donald Trump? On today’s show we explore political violence: its history, its causes, and its relationship with free speech. Flemming Rose is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. He previously served as foreign affairs editor and culture editor at the Danish n…
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The Supreme Court term is over. We review its First Amendment cases. Joining the show are FIRE Chief Counsel Bob Corn-Revere, FIRE General Counsel Ronnie London, and Institute for Justice Deputy Litigation Director Robert McNamara. Become a FIRE Member today and gain access to live monthly webinars where you can ask questions of FIRE staff. The nex…
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There is a movement afoot to restrict young people’s access to social media and pornography. Critics of social media and online porn argue that they can be harmful to minors, and states across the country are taking up the cause, considering laws that would impose age-verification, curfews, parental opt-ins, and other restrictions. Meanwhile, criti…
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It is said that censorship is the strongest drive in human nature — with sex being a weak second. But what happens when these two primordial drives clash? Does censorship or sex win out? Nadine Strossen is a professor emerita at New York Law School, a former president of the ACLU, and a senior fellow at FIRE. She is also the author of “Defending Po…
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Did 26 words from an American law passed in 1996 create the internet? Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act says that interactive websites and applications cannot be held legally liable for the content posted on their sites by their users. Without the law, it’s likely Facebook, Amazon, Reddit, Yelp, and X wouldn’t exist — at least not in th…
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The First Amendment forbids government censorship. Private institutions, on the other hand, are generally free to restrict speech. How should we think about private censorship and its role within a liberal society? On today’s episode, we’re joined by J.P. Messina, an assistant professor in the philosophy department at Purdue University and the auth…
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On May 1, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Antisemitism Awareness Act by a vote of 320 to 91. Proponents of the law say it is necessary to address anti-Semitic discrimination on college campuses. Opponents argue it threatens free speech. Who’s right? Kenneth Stern was the lead drafter of the definition of anti-Semitism used in the act. …
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Host Nico Perrino joins his FIRE colleagues Will Creeley and Alex Morey to answer questions about the recent campus unrest and its First Amendment implications. Timestamps 0:00 Introduction 0:41 What is FIRE?/campus unrest 5:44 What are the basic First Amendment principles for campus protest? 11:30 Student encampments 18:09 Exceptions to the First …
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In America, hate speech is generally protected by the First Amendment. But should it be? Today’s guest is out with a new book, “Hate Speech is Not Free: The Case Against First Amendment Protection.” W. Wat Hopkins is emeritus professor of communication at Virginia Tech, where he taught communication law and cyberspace law. Transcript of Interview: …
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In late 2013, some of us at FIRE started noticing a change on college campuses. Students, who were previously the strongest constituency for free speech on campus, were turning against free speech. They began appealing to administrators more frequently for protection from different speakers and using the language of trauma and safety to justify cen…
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“I have never seen a Supreme Court term that is as consequential as this one is going to be,” said FIRE Chief Counsel Bob Corn-Revere, previewing this term’s First Amendment cases. On today’s show, we analyze the oral arguments in four of those cases: NRA v. Vullo, Murthy v. Missouri (formerly Missouri v. Biden), Moody v. NetChoice, LLC, and NetCho…
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There is a recurring debate in the free speech community regarding whether money is speech. Bitcoin-focused entrepreneur, writer, and philosopher Robert Breedlove joins us today to help resolve the debate. Describing money as “the language of human action,” Robert makes the case that money, like the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, is information and should…
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On today’s episode, we discuss Alexei Navalny’s death, Vladimir Putin, censorship in Russia, and Samizdat Online, an anti-censorship platform that grants users living under authoritarian regimes access to news and other censored content. Yevgeny “Genia” Simkin is the co-founder of Samizdat Online and Stanislav “Stas” Kucher is its chief content off…
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On today’s free speech news roundup, we discuss the recent NetChoice oral argument, Taylor Swift, doxxing, October 7 fallout on campus, and Satan in Iowa. Joining us on the show are Alex Morey, FIRE director of Campus Rights Advocacy; Aaron Terr, director of Public Advocacy; and Ronnie London, our general counsel. Timestamps 0:00 Introduction 0:44 …
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J Hopkins is an American playwright, novelist, and political satirist. He moved to Germany in 2004. He publishes a self-titled blog on Substack and is the editor of Consent Factory Publishing. CJ’s most recent book, “The Rise of the New Normal Reich,” draws a parallel between Nazi Germany and the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In August 2022, i…
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Michael Malice is a self-described “anarchist without adjectives” and is the author of several books, including most recently “The White Pill: A Tale of Good and Evil.” He is also the host of the podcast, “YOUR WELCOME,” and the subject of the biographical comic book, “Ego & Hubris: The Michael Malice Story.” Michael joins us today to explain why h…
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Jeff Kosseff is an associate professor of cybersecurity law in the United States Naval Academy’s Cyber Science Department. He is the author of four books including his most recent, “Liar in a Crowded Theater: Freedom of Speech in a World of Misinformation.” He has also written books about anonymous speech and Section 230 of the Communications Decen…
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Bill Courtney is an American football coach, entrepreneur, author, and the subject of the academy award winning 2011 documentary “Undefeated,” which tells the story of Courtney leading a high school football team in an economically depressed area of Memphis, Tenn. to the playoffs. Courtney is the host of the An Army of Normal Folks podcast, in whic…
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We’re joined today by Elizabeth Nolan Brown, Robert Corn-Revere, and Ronnie London to discuss the history and verdict of the Backpage trial. Backpage.com was an online classified advertising service founded in 2004. As a chief competitor to Craigslist, Backpage allowed users to post ads to categories such as personals, automotive, rentals, jobs and…
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Nico and FIRE President & CEO Greg Lukianoff appeared on an X Space to discuss the fallout from the recent congressional hearing on anti-Semitism involving Harvard President Claudine Gay, MIT President Sally Kornbluth, and former Penn President Liz Magill, who resigned last week following backlash over her testimony. Timestamps 0:00- Introduction 1…
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We’re joined by First Amendment attorney Marc Randazza and British journalist Brendan O’Neill to discuss the state of free speech in the United States and Europe. Randazza is a First Amendment attorney and the managing partner at Randazza Legal Group. He has represented controversial figures throughout his career, including Alex Jones, Mike Cernovi…
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The FIRE team gets together to discuss the October 7 attacks in Israel and the resulting censorship on college campuses in the United States. FIRE President and CEO Greg Lukianoff, Director of Campus Rights Advocacy Alex Morey, and General Counsel Ronnie London join host Nico Perrino for the conversation. ** We will conduct a listener survey starti…
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The Supreme Court handed down some big First Amendment victories last term. What lies ahead for the Court in the upcoming term? FIRE Chief Counsel Robert Corn-Revere and FIRE General Counsel Ronnie London join the show to discuss important First Amendment cases that will be heard during the Court’s 2023-24 session. Timestamps: 0:00 - Introduction 1…
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President, CEO, and general counsel of the Alliance Defending Freedom, Kristen Waggoner, joins us for a discussion on freedom of speech and religious liberty. ADF has played various roles in 74 U.S. Supreme Court victories and since 2011, has won cases before the Court 15 times. According to its website, “ADF is the world's largest legal organizati…
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Writer and academic Yascha Mounk argues that a new set of ideas about race, gender, and sexual orientation have overtaken society, giving rise to a rigid focus on identity in our national debate. In his new book, “The Identity Trap: A Story of Ideas and Power in Our Time,” Yascha seeks to take these ideas seriously, understand their origin, dissect…
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FIRE President and CEO Greg Lukianoff and FIRE General Counsel Ronnie London join the show to preview Greg’s new co-authored book on cancel culture and to discuss recent free speech cases and headlines: Transcript: https://www.thefire.org/research-learn/so-speak-podcast-transcript-dont-tread-me-misgendering-cancel-culture-and-three “The Canceling o…
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Harvey Silverglate is a criminal defense and civil liberties attorney. He is also the co-founder of FIRE. On today’s show, Harvey defends the work of criminal defense attorneys, explaining why even guilty people must have the right to a robust legal defense. He also shares stories from his life, from growing up in Brooklyn to defending Vietnam War …
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High school debate is considered an ideal extracurricular activity for aspiring lawyers, politicians, or anyone seeking to learn the tools of effective communication and persuasion. But a slew of recent reports argue that high school debate is being captured by political ideology, rendering certain arguments off-limits, some debate topics undebatab…
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We review the Supreme Court’s free speech cases during the 2022-23 term and speculate on what’s in store for the next term. FIRE Vice President of Litigation Darpana Sheth guest hosts and is joined by FIRE Chief Counsel Robert Corn-Revere and FIRE General Counsel Ronnie London. This episode was recorded before a virtual live audience on July 20. Wa…
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In the last episode of the “So to Speak” podcast, we traced the dramatic story of free speech in the United States from colonial America to the abolitionists' campaign to abolish slavery. In this week’s episode, we pick up where we left off and explore the complicated history and legacy of civil liberties during the American Civil War. Professor an…
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Last Constitution Day, we traced the origins of free speech in the United States from colonial America to the ratification of the Bill of Rights in 1791. In this episode, we jump forward to the antebellum period, where abolitionists such as Frederick Douglass, John Quincy Adams, William Lloyd Garrison, and Angelina Grimké clashed with pro-slavery a…
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Nico knows very little about punk rock. On today’s show, Reason magazine’s Nick Gillespie and FIRE Vice President of Communications Matt Harwood do their best to explain to Nico why he and other free speech advocates should care about punk rock. Transcript: https://www.thefire.org/research-learn/so-speak-podcast-transcript-why-should-we-care-about-…
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Winning in the court of public opinion is hard. On today’s show, Ewing School founder Bob Ewing shares communications strategies that anyone — including free speech advocates — can use to win in the marketplace of ideas. Prior to founding the Ewing School, Bob was director of communications for the Institute for Justice and pioneered a communicatio…
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On April 18, Fox News agreed to pay Dominion Voting Systems $787.5 million to settle a defamation lawsuit stemming from allegations of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election. The historic settlement came just before the trial was set to begin in a case many saw as having significant First Amendment implications. In this exclusive conversatio…
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Rocking their tuxedos in preparation for the 2023 FIRE gala in New York City, Host Nico Perrino speaks with rapper and free speech advocate Killer Mike about his journey toward learning the value of free expression. They also discuss the importance of free speech in American history, the value of engaging and arguing with those who disagree with us…
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Does music censorship still happen in America? Is “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll” dead? Is transgression in art and culture celebrated anymore (or was it ever)? From Beyonce and Taylor Swift to Ozzy Osbourne and Robin Thicke, SPIN magazine founder Bob Guccione Jr. and Reason magazine Editor at Large Nick Gillespie join a lively discussion of our cu…
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What’s going on in Florida? Host Nico Perrino and his FIRE colleagues break down the latest efforts to censor speech in the Sunshine State. Show notes: Transcript “VICTORY: After FIRE lawsuit, court halts enforcement of key provisions of the Stop WOKE Act limiting how Florida professors can teach about race, sex” “Thought the ‘Stop WOKE Act’ was ba…
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UPDATE: Just as this podcast was to be published, Stanford Law School Dean Jenny Martinez sent a 10-page memorandum to the law school community outlining a path forward for the school, including updating school policies to prevent future speaker disruptions and mandatory student free speech training. She also announced that Associate Dean Tirien St…
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Ilya Shapiro joins the show to discuss the fireworks in the Fox/Dominion defamation lawsuit, his recent speaking appearance at the University of Denver, and his “cancel culture nightmare” at Georgetown University. Shapiro is a senior fellow and director of constitutional studies at the Manhattan Institute. He previously (and briefly) served as exec…
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The seminal 1964 Supreme Court decision in New York Times v. Sullivan limited the ability of public officials to silence their critics by successfully suing them for defamation. Sullivan made “American public officials more accountable, the American media more watchful, and the American people better informed,” said William Rehnquist, the late Chie…
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FIRE’s Will Creeley and Aaron Terr join the show to discuss Phoenix, Arizona’s unconstitutional “clean zone” for Super Bowl LVII, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s effort to get public school students to volunteer for her re-election campaign, recent polling on how much people really know about the First Amendment (sadly, not much), and Indiegogo, Kic…
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What does the rise of artificial intelligence mean for the future of free speech and the First Amendment? Who is liable for what AI produces? Can you own a copyright for works produced by AI? Does AI itself violate intellectual property rights when it uses others’ information to generate content? What about that Morgan Freeman “deep fake”? And is C…
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A faculty member at Hamline University lost her job. Twelve staffers at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo were murdered. And Salman Rushdie was repeatedly stabbed. All of them offended certain people’s religious sensitivities. On today’s show, we are joined by Amna Khalid and Michael Moynihan to discuss the risks and costs of teaching, ta…
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Do Ann Coulter’s words equal “violence”? Does Emerson College care more about not offending the Chinese Communist Party than protecting student free speech rights? And are faculty political litmus tests back in vogue? FIRE’s Alex Morey and Zach Greenberg join the show to discuss the latest in campus censorship. Please support this show by donating …
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Hot on the heels of oral argument in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, FIRE’s Ronnie London and David Hudson join the show to discuss the case, as well as other high profile free speech cases at the Supreme Court this year. Show notes: Transcript Watch the video of the podcast conversation 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis Shurtleff v. City of Boston Kennedy v.…
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FIRE’s new Director of Public Advocacy Aaron Terr and the Cato Institute’s Will Duffield join the show to discuss a slew of recent free speech news. California gets it right on rap lyrics but wrong on coronavirus misinformation. One Texas school district repeatedly ventures into book banning. LeBron James spreads “hate speech” misinformation. Is go…
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FIRE’s Will Creeley and Aaron Terr join the show to discuss a slew of recent free speech news: What do we make of Elon Musk buying Twitter? Is PayPal fining its users $2,500 for promoting “misinformation”? Is New York trying to destroy Twitch? And do public employees in Charlottesville, Va., need to shut their mouths to keep their jobs? Also, how’s…
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Do books need a special editor who reads for offensive content? And who gets to decide what’s offensive anyway? This week we are joined by authors Kat Rosenfield and Vesper Stamper to discuss censorial trends in book publishing, including the rise of so-called “sensitivity readers” and the sometimes successful campaigns to get books canceled before…
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Does the First Amendment to the United States Constitution protect a private social media company’s right to moderate content on its platform?A new ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit says it does not, and that a Texas law preventing viewpoint discrimination on social media platforms is constitutional.The issue is likely bou…
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“Should academic journals appoint themselves social justice gatekeepers?”That is the question journalist and author Jonathan Rauch asks in responding to new ethics guidance from the academic journal Nature Human Behaviour. The journal introduces the guidance by ominously noting that “although academic freedom is fundamental, it is not unbounded.” I…
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