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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…
 
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…
 
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 …
 
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.…
 
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…
 
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…
 
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…
 
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…
 
“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…
 
This Saturday, Sept. 17, is Constitution Day. It was on this day in 1787 that delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed America’s Constitution. And while the First Amendment was not ratified until 1791, discussions over the role of free speech and expression in a democratic society were alive long before then. Pepperdine University professo…
 
What can Charles Darwin teach us about dissent? What do the professional basketball careers of Wilt Chamberlain and Rick Barry tell us about conventional wisdom?On today’s show, George Mason University Professor Todd Kashdan helps us understand the value of principled dissent: what it is, how to do it, and the pitfalls to avoid. He is the author of…
 
Last week, a would-be assassin attacked Salman Rushdie, author of “The Satanic Verses,” in an apparent attempt to carry out the infamous fatwa placed on Rushdie’s life. Fortunately, Rushdie survived the attack. Vice News Tonight correspondent and “The Fifth Column” podcast co-host Michael Moynihan joins the show to discuss what happened, what it me…
 
When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, eliminating the constitutional right to an abortion in the United States, many people expected states to pass laws restricting access to abortion services. Perhaps less expected was that some lawmakers now seek to pass laws restricting — and criminalizing — speech about abortion services. FIRE Legal Di…
 
Substack — the popular newsletter and publishing service — has made a name for itself by swimming against the current: As many technology companies devise new ways to censor or moderate content on their platforms, Substack made free speech one of its core values and, in doing so, has attracted bloggers and journalists from across the political spec…
 
Last month, the U.S. Department of Education proposed new Title IX regulations that, if implemented, would gut essential free speech and due process rights for college students facing sexual misconduct allegations on campus. Joining us to analyze the regulations and their impact are FIRE’s executive director and author of the book “Twisting Title I…
 
“Every advance gay people have made in this country has been the result of the exercise of free expression,” argues writer James Kirchick, author of the New York Times bestseller, “Secret City: The Hidden History of Gay Washington.” Transcript: https://www.thefire.org/so-to-speak-podcast-transcript-the-first-amendment-created-gay-america/ www.sotos…
 
Today, the Foundation for Individual Rights *in Education* becomes the Foundation for Individual Rights *and Expression*. America’s leading defender of free speech, due process, and academic freedom in higher education announced it is taking its free speech mission beyond college campuses with a $75 million expansion initiative. FIRE President & CE…
 
In this week’s episode of So to Speak, we focus on some of the notable cases of music censorship in America, the formation of the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC), and the lasting effects of the PMRC’s efforts on the music industry. Author Eric Nuzum joins us to discuss his 2001 book, “Parental Advisory: Music Censorship in America.” Nuzum illu…
 
Twitter is going to become 8chan. At least, that’s what a recent episode of the popular radio program “On the Media” suggests will happen if Elon Musk successfully buys Twitter. Musk promised to bring greater free speech protections to the social media platform. But where Musk sees an opportunity for more freedom, some see the potential for too muc…
 
Did you know Hugh Hefner holds the Guinness World Record for owning the largest personal scrapbook collection in the world?When he was not building the global Playboy empire, he spent his Saturdays compiling more than 3,000 scrapbooks, chronicling free speech and press issues during his lifetime. Stuart N. Brotman, professor at the University of Te…
 
Does Disney have free speech rights? And did Florida violate the First Amendment when it punished the company for its political activism? Elon Musk is buying Twitter. What should free speech advocates make of that? Recurring guest and famed First Amendment scholar Robert Corn-Revere is here to break it all down for us. He’s a partner at the law fir…
 
What is academic freedom? And who polices its boundaries? Our guests on today’s show argue that the popular conception of academic freedom has become too closely connected with the concept of free speech. Penn State Professor Michael Bérubé and Portland State Professor Jennifer Ruth are the authors of “It’s Not Free Speech: Race, Democracy, and the…
 
Konstantin Eggert, a native Muscovite, has reported on Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union. He started his reporting career in Moscow in 1990. From 1998-2009, he was senior correspondent, then editor-in-chief, of the BBC Russian Service Moscow bureau. Later he worked for ExxonMobil Russia and Russian media outlets, Kommersant and TV Rain. Now…
 
​​The Russian government has purged independent media, banned protests, and shut down social media access. So, do Russians know the truth about the war in Ukraine? Ksenia Turkova is a journalist from Russia who currently works for Voice of America. Before coming to the United States she worked for a number of Russian news outlets, including some th…
 
​​“No chief justice in our history has had as much influence on the law of freedom of expression as John Roberts,” according to Ronald K.L. Collins and David L. Hudson Jr. They are the authors of a new Brooklyn Law Review article, “The Roberts Court—Its First Amendment Free Expression Jurisprudence: 2005–2021.” On today’s episode of “So to Speak: T…
 
On today’s episode of “So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast,” we are joined by Robert Corn-Revere and David Hudson to discuss Sarah Palin v. New York Times, a defamation case that has captured national attention. Corn-Revere is a partner at Davis Wright Tremaine LLP and the author of the new book, “The Mind of the Censor and the Eye of the Beholder…
 
On today’s episode, we feature a live recording of “So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast” with Jacob Mchangama, author of “Free Speech: A History from Socrates to Social Media,” in conversation with FIRE’s Greg Lukianoff, Sarah McLaughlin, host Nico Perrino, and NYU professor Stephen D. Solomon. The panelists discuss how lessons from free speech mo…
 
On today’s episode of So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast, we are joined by FIRE’s Joe Cohn and the American Enterprise Institute’s Max Eden to debate and discuss legislative efforts to ban critical race theory, or so-called “divisive concepts,” from being taught in schools. Transcript Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s executive order on critical rac…
 
There are very few exceptions to the First Amendment. “Fighting words” is one of them. But since the Supreme Court first outlined this exception in 1942, it hasn’t shown much interest in revisiting the issue. On today’s episode of So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast, we’re joined by First Amendment scholar and FIRE Legal Fellow David L. Hudson Jr.…
 
Who was Eric Arthur Blair, better known by his pen name “George Orwell?” On today’s episode of So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast, we explore the life and work of an author who died at the age of 46 but whose writings — namely “Animal Farm” and “1984” — still help to shape our understanding of the freedoms of speech and conscience. Joining us for…
 
On today’s episode of So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast, we are joined by The Atlantic magazine Staff Writer Caitlin Flanagan and FIRE President and CEO Greg Lukianoff to discuss a wide range of topics, including Caitlin’s articles that touch on free speech, her growing up in Berkeley, Calif. the daughter of a professor, and newsroom orthodoxies…
 
Pano Kanelos believes higher education is broken. But he isn’t waiting for colleges and universities to fix themselves. He’s starting his own. On today’s episode of So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast, we are joined by Kanelos who is the inaugural president of the University of Austin, a new university devoted to free speech and open inquiry. Its …
 
Censors almost never think they are censors. They often see themselves as heroes, saving the world from the destructive effects of rock ‘n’ roll, movies, comic books, pornography, video games, the internet, etc. On today’s episode of So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast, author Robert Corn-Revere joins us to discuss how censors operate and why they…
 
A consensus has emerged from a growing pile of scholarly research: Trigger warnings don’t work. On today’s episode of So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast, we are joined by Carleton College associate professors Amna Khalid and Jeffrey Snyder to explore what the latest research says about the efficacy of trigger warnings. We also discuss one of the …
 
September 25 was First Amendment Day in America — the anniversary of the date in 1789 when Congress approved 12 amendments to our Constitution, including what we today call the Bill of Rights. On today’s episode of So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast, we discuss the origin story and history of America’s First Amendment and its five freedoms. To do…
 
Last month, On the Media, a popular radio program from New York City’s WNYC, aired an episode that questioned free speech values and challenged so-called “free speech absolutism.” On today’s episode of So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast, we are joined by Matt Taibbi, Nadine Strossen, and Amna Khalid, who provide direct responses to many of the fr…
 
Are America’s schools becoming too political? FIRE’s Director of High School Programs argues, “Yes.” Bonnie Kerrigan Snyder is an educator with over 20 years of experience, and she’s worried by what she sees. Amidst controversies surrounding so-called critical race theory, school walkouts, and standardized tests, Snyder increasingly hears reports o…
 
Hollywood’s Motion Picture Production Code, popularly referred to as the Hays Code, loomed over films in every stage of movie production from 1934 to 1968. Scripts were reviewed and altered. Actors and filmmakers were forced to redo entire scenes. Editors were asked to cut dialogue and scenes from films. Music was changed. Ultimately, directors had…
 
Morris Ernst may be the most influential free speech lawyer you’ve never heard of. He was the longtime general counsel for the ACLU, helped found the National Lawyers Guild, and just about single-handedly whittled away at obscenity laws in the United States — even litigating the famous “Ulysses” case, which overturned a 13-year ban on James’ Joyce’…
 
On today’s episode of So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast, we are joined by Stetson University Professor of Psychology Christopher J. Ferguson for a wide-ranging conversation about the psychology of censorship, the role of madness and eccentricity in shaping history, the effects of social media, the growing polarization and politicization of moder…
 
This week, the United States Supreme Court vindicated the First Amendment rights of a high school cheerleader who was punished for a salty Snapchat she sent outside of school. It was a resounding victory for free speech advocates and the first time the Supreme Court has considered a high school free speech case since its disappointing 2007 ruling i…
 
Socrates’ fateful hemlock. Henry VIII’s death decree for those who imagined his downfall. The 1836 “Gag Rule” banning slavery discussions in Congress. Britain’s early ban on films criticizing Hitler and Stalin. On today’s episode of So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast, we are joined by lawyer and writer Eric Berkowitz to discuss his fascinating ne…
 
What differentiates Albert Einstein from a madman? How do we turn disagreement into knowledge? How do we know what’s true in a world filled with disinformation, conspiracy theories, trolling, and social media pile-ons? On today’s episode of So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast, we are joined by Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Jonathan Rauch to …
 
Rebellion! Crime! Juvenile delinquency! On today’s episode of So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast, producer Chris Maltby explores the rise of comic books in the early 20th century and the moral panic, book burnings, and censorship that followed. Show notes: “The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic Book Scare And How It Changed America” by David Hajdu…
 
Are education schools secretly driving campus censorship? On today’s episode of So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast, we are joined by Lewis & Clark Associate Professor of English Lyell Asher to discuss his 2018 article for the Chronicle of Higher Education, “How Ed Schools Became a Menace.” Also joining the conversation is FIRE President & CEO Gre…
 
Ninth grader Brandi Levy was frustrated when she didn’t make her high school’s varsity cheerleading team so she posted an intemperate video about it on Snapchat to her 250 “friends.” Four years later, that video, which led to her suspension from the junior varsity cheer team, will take center stage at the United States Supreme Court. Mahanoy Area S…
 
Editor's note: A previously published version of this episode featured an incorrect audio file for a different FIRE podcast. The error has been fixed and the correct audio file uploaded. We apologize for the error. Retired University of Wisconsin Professor Donald Downs is a legendary champion of free speech and academic freedom. But before he becam…
 
On today’s episode of So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast, we discuss the newly formed Academic Freedom Alliance, which is a union of American college faculty members dedicated to protecting faculty expressive and academic freedom rights. Keith E. Whittington is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics in the Department of Politics at Pri…
 
There are very few exceptions to the First Amendment, and “incitement to imminent lawless action” is one of them. In the wake of former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial over his alleged incitement of the Jan. 6 violence at the U.S Capitol, this obscure legal doctrine has captured headlines. On today’s episode of So to Speak: The Free Spee…
 
On today’s episode of So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast, we explore a multi-year public records odyssey at the University of California, Los Angeles involving former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, a campus appearance, administrative stonewalling, and, finally, a successful lawsuit filed by FIRE. And, on the eve of Student Press Freedom Day, …
 
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