The Left Vs. Free Speech

Brent Bozell
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Posted: Jul 06, 2016 12:01 AM
The Left Vs. Free Speech
It's a paradox. The liberal media champion themselves as the most open-minded people on planet Earth who are devoted to the freedom of speech. How can intelligent people be so wrong? In reality, liberal elites have a nasty tendency to dismiss "conservative thought" as an oxymoron. They don't read conservative books or magazines, and they wouldn't lower themselves to watching conservatives on television. They have disdain for conservative talk radio. They're virtually illiterate on conservatives and conservatism.

What happens in the event that the inclusive and tolerant elites identify some spark of conservative brain activity? They respond with journalistic censorship.

This gets more interesting when a conservative book charges the left with seeking to crush conservative freedom of speech, seeing it as the quickest route to political victory. Oh, the irony!

Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberley Strassel has written a book called "The Intimidation Game: How the Left Is Silencing Free Speech." The New York Times is not under obligation to review it, nor is any conservative surprised that it won't. But it has no right to misrepresent its circulation. This is precisely what the Times is doing: playing games with sales figures to suppress Strassel's book from its best-seller list.

In its first week in print Strassel's book ranked sixth on the Nielsen BookScan list of best-sellers. Somehow the Times couldn't find a space anywhere in its top 15, despite including on its list books that sold less than Strassel's did on the Nielsen list.

Best-sellers beget more sales, and The New York Times is trying to thwart that possibility. Conservative authors, from Ted Cruz to David Limbaugh, have seen these games before. But this book is about suppressing free speech, so the shamelessness is even deeper.

Strassel's book paints a broad picture of liberal intimidation at the highest levels. It tells the real story that the pro-Obama press refuses to report regarding the efforts of the IRS to harass tea party groups, deconstructing Barack Obama's fiction that this campaign was limited to a few low-level agents in Cincinnati, Ohio. It reveals how Democratic senators have misused their positions to hassle universities that offended them by employing the "wrong" kind of climate scientists.

Here's another story the left-wing "news" media have refused to report: how liberal Wisconsin prosecutors used secret subpoenas and predawn raids in an attempt to criminalize some 30 conservative groups that had dared to supported Gov. Scott Walker's attempt to reform state government. Strassel also tells a sad story about how average Americans have had their cars keyed and their businesses flash-mobbed for having the temerity to support conservative ballot initiatives.

The title "An Inconvenient Truth" was taken. But that's what Strassel does. She tells inconvenient truths that liberals want to hide -- first by refusing to report the stories and then by censoring those who do.

There have been numerous books written over the years about this left-wing censorship, including last year's "The Silencing: How the Left Is Killing Free Speech" by Kirsten Powers and "End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun)" by Mary Katharine Ham and Guy Benson. (Like Strassel's book, neither was reviewed by The New York Times.) These tomes are a call to action. Conservatives ought not to be silent about this censorship. They need to respond to the left's effort to crush free speech with more speech designed to expose their raging and cowardly agenda.

Liberal open-mindedness? There's your oxymoron.