Press Freedom in the 21st Century

Ahead of a special Newseum Institute event with Spiked magazine’s Free Speech NOW!, Nick Gillespie of Reason argues for the importance of press freedom in an interview with the magazine.

Gillespie, who will speak at “Press Freedom in the 21st century” Nov. 5 at the Newseum (RSVP here), defends press freedom on the grounds that all speech should be free. “People have a right to free expression, and they have a right to free speech and free assembly. And that is what undergirds our press freedom. The press should have no rights that the average citizen does not have.”

Gillespie has no time for those who blame the media for brainwashing people. “Liberals will say Fox News, or ‘Faux News’ as they call it, is programming people and inflaming passions among Tea Party wingnuts who bring their guns to church and shoot people on the way home from church before they watch the football. On the flipside, right-wingers will say that places like CNN stand for the ‘Clinton News Network,’ or they used to in the 1990s. Or they’ll say that NPR is a state-funded bastion of liberal and left-wing ideology.

“So there is a common widespread transpartisan complaint,” Gillespie continues, “that the other side did not win whatever position they have fairly, but that they did it through mass brainwashing. And I guess, for me, the big takeaway is that the whole idea that the culture industry and the media brainwashes people is not only offensive – it’s also deeply, deeply wrong and dismissive of the way that people actually make decisions about their politics and their ideology and about their everyday life.”

 

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